Tue, 02 Aug 1994

Silalahi optimistic about five-day working week

JAKARTA (JP): State Minister of Administrative Reforms T.B. Silalahi expressed optimism yesterday that the five day working week, which is being implemented by a number of agencies as a trial this month, will be a success.

Silalahi said seven government institutions, including the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Home Affairs will launch the trial operation.

He said that the scheme, which allows civil servants to have Saturday and Sunday off, aims at improving productivity as well as eliminating the "I don't like Mondays syndrome".

The minister said that the two day weekend would renew employees' spirit on their return to work on the Monday.

The seven government agencies will report regularly to him about how the trial is proceeding to see if the scheme is effective or not.

The government has allowed all its agencies to conduct a trial run before it implements the scheme nationwide in August next year.

Earlier, Silalahi said the offices that had previously introduced the program had reported a rise in productivity.

They are the Jakarta municipal administration, the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology and state owned oil company Pertamina.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, for example, launched a trial of the five day working scheme while promising incentives for those who wanted to work on holidays.

"The scheme is aimed at improving efficiency, effectiveness and discipline among employees," Suryatna Subrata, the Ministry's secretary general, announced recently.

The government introduced the long weekend scheme with the aim of tightening the budget by saving on electricity and telephone bills.

The idea of giving civil servants Saturdays and Sundays off came from President Soeharto who recently suggested that the long weekends would enable them to have more time with their families.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is phasing in the introduction of the five-day working week, beginning with only one week this month, and then two weeks each month between September and January and three weeks each month starting February.

Beginning in May, the employees will enjoy every Saturday off. (par/yns)