The House passed legislation tweaking public servants’ working hours, proposed by the Transport Ministry to alleviate traffic congestion in urban centres during rush hour.
According to the changes, civil servants can now report to work from 7 am-8.30 am and sign off between 2.30 pm – 4 pm.
MPs also raised the issue of a possible extension of public servants’ working hours to serve the public in the afternoon better and the need to strengthen public transport.
Civil servants will be given, where possible, the opportunity to clock in within one hour from the time they will state as their preferred arrival time.
Furthermore, the deduction of an employee’s outstanding working time from their remuneration or annual leave will be made at the end of the calendar year instead of fortnightly, as is currently the case.
The proposed extension of working hours in the public service aims to contribute to the reduction of traffic observed during the hours that civil servants drive to work or return home at the end of their working day.
With the tweaking of hours, the traffic caused by civil servants is expected to ease.
Chair of the House Finance Committee, DIKO MP Christiana Erotokritou, emphasised the government provided reassurances that flexible working hours will not compromise the quality of services offered to the public.
Green MP and leader Charalambos Theopemptou said this arrangement would slightly lighten traffic on the roads but wants to see the government encourage public transport, walking and cycling.
Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Cyprus, Dr Loukas Dimitriou, said the state should promote “micro-mobility”, encouraging people to walk more and use bicycles.
He advocates improving public transport rather than building more roads to solve the traffic problem.
“The more roads we build, the more we encourage people to buy cars,” said Dimitriou.
He called for “bolder action” to decongest traffic, such as encouraging working from home.