Flexible work: Seychelles starts national discussions on work arrangement

Discussions have started on a proposed flexible work arrangement in Seychelles between the Ministry of Employment and all relevant partners ahead of a study to be undertaken on the subject.

The employment minister, Patricia Francourt, outlined during a meeting recently that with the topic of flexible working being of interest nationally “we need all your input so that we can have a very good overview of the topics that we need to talk about, points to be considered before we go in this direction.”

Francourt said that the ministry knows that there is a demand in Seychelles for flexible working hours but it is not something that can be done overnight.

“It needs to be well prepared and it should take into consideration all the needs of every employer that is thinking of going down that route. We know that flexible working arrangements will bring a lot of benefits, especially for parents as well as for other professionals,” she explained.

Present at the meeting were representatives from different ministries and institutions in the public sector.

Flexible work arrangements are alternate arrangements or schedules from the traditional working day and week. Among the flexible work arrangements discussed were staggering hours, teleworking, compressed working weeks, time-saving accounts, hours averaging schemes, fix-time arrangements and work-sharing.

The chief policy analyst from the employment department, Susan Morel, said that local partners were briefed on the different types of flexible arrangements. Organisations can hence have an idea of which concept best suits them, learn of the challenges, and get recommendations on the matter.

“The model adopted will depend on the nature of the job and the business. At the Department of Employment, we need to ensure that in any approach that an organisation decides to take, workers’ protection should also exist. We need to take these things into account,” said Morel.

Moving forward with the flexible work arrangements concept, the International Labor Organisation (ILO) will be assisting Seychelles in conducting a study to learn which form of flexible work arrangements will be best for implementation in the island nation.

The study is expected to start by mid-year with the assistance of an international expert.

The move by the government to adopt flexible working hours was announced during the presentation of the 2021 budget to the National Assembly in February 2020 by the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, Naadir Hassan. Though Hassan agreed that this move will lead to a better work-life balance, he said the government recognises that this move is not without challenges.

Flexible hours came into the spotlight amid the COVID-19 pandemic where workplaces had to make alternative arrangements as there was a restriction on movement.

On May 12, 2021, the Cabinet of Ministers initiated discussions on proposals to implement flexible working arrangements across Government.

Source: Seychelles News Agency