Gov't gives Flexi-time the Go-ahead​

 Published: Sunday Gleaner| November 18, 2007

Devon Evans, Sunday Gleaner Writer

Ocho, St. Ann:

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has given the assurance that the Government will be going ahead with plans to establish flexi-time in Jamaica. He also said that in addition to establishing flex-time, the Government has decided to move further ahead towards the establishment of labour-market reform in an effort to bring local practices into the 21st century. Golding said that he has already held talks with leaders of the country's trade unions and representatives of the employers' groups, and had informed them that the work, which had started in 1994 by a committee headed by Professor George Eaton to look at labour-market reform, would be revisited. We are going to bring all the parties together and to say 'Now look. There are some things that we were accustomed to before that have no place in today's endeavours, not if we hope to be in the race'," the Prime Minister explained.

Establishment Golding was responding to a request from Colin Barnett, president of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica (HRMAJ), for Government to fast-track legislation for the establishment of flexi-time in the country. Speaking at the opening of the 27th annual conference of HRMAJ at Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios on Friday, Barnett said the association believed that the introduction of flexi-time would allow very important and strategic improvements across the country, such as lessening the traffic congestion, boosting productivity, and increasing efficiencies. "For example," he added, "we believe that in a modern global society, for the tax offices to be open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays and closed on Saturdays is something that needs to be reviewed. We have to respond to the needs of the public." Barnett also called for the early establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act to ensure the safety and protection of workers and the way businesses operate in certain environments. No easy task. The Prime Minister, who was guest speaker at the conference, made it clear, however, that these expected changes would not be an easy task. He aid the job of human resource management would be critical in harmonising the workforce towards the achievement of greater productivity and overall success in the country. He encouraged members of the HRMAJ to play their roles well so that the country could progress. The conference, which ends today, is being held under the theme, 'Human Resource Management: Building Bridges, Crossing Borders'. 

The HRMAJ president said the theme of the conference aptly summed up the association's approach to the development of employees by engaging all the functional areas of business, which, he said, would help to boost productivity and competitiveness.