Staggered work hours decreed to ease traffic woes

The government has authorized staggered shifts for public employees and offered the possibility of a four-day work week to reduce traffic congestion in the Central Valley.

President  Luis Guillermo Solís signed a decree to that effect Tuesday. The proposal does not apply to public schools, medical services or to emergency personnel.

The decree established starting times in public jobs of 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Bosses also are empowered to substitute a10-hour day in place of a current eight-hour day to create a four-day week if the employee agrees, said Casa Presidencial.

Various labor organizations are expected to challenge the decree.

The new schedules are not supposed to affect service to the public or work, said the announcement. Other branches of government were invited to participate in the program.

The government said the new hours should affect 30 percent of an executive branch’s agency’s work force in the metro area.

The rules are in effect until Nov. 30 to give the  Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes time to figure out a better solution.

The government also has urged employees to telecommute, again as a way of reducing traffic.

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