ISLAMABAD - The new office timing announced by the PTI government has put working class in the public sector, especially women, in an awkward situation as they will not be able to reach home in the daylight.

Both the new attendance and closing time (9am to 5pm) are unrealistic and it will negatively impact the routine and work of the government employees, an official of the Pak Secretariat told The Nation.

On August 24, the cabinet, without taking the input of the ministries and divisions concerned, has fixed office timing 9am to 5pm instead of 8am to 4pm. The government changed the office timing without taking the stakeholders on board, which will make hard for the government officials, particularly women, to continue their jobs.

Earlier, the attendance timing was 8am and majority of employees reached their offices by 9am; they will come to office by 10am, the official said.

Change of time will decrease the efficiency of the public-sector employees instead of increasing it, the official claimed. For example, the official said, earlier the government employees were offering Zuhr prayers in offices, but after a few weeks they will have to say three prayers, Zuhr, Asr and Maghrib, during their duty times. Besides, the officials will not have any time for their families.

After a few weeks, the sunset time will be around 5pm, which means there will be complete dark by the office closing time and the employees who live in the suburbs of Rawalpindi or Islamabad will reach home in the dark of night, said the official.

“I am working in the lower grade and cannot afford to hire taxi and if I go home by public transport, it will be too late for me to reach home and give time to my family and kids,” Nafeesa, an employee of Pak-Secretariat, told the scribe.

Similarly, another woman said: “I live near Peshawar Road; it takes me more than half an hour to reach there. If I leave the office exactly at 5pm, I will reach home by 5:30pm.”

The negative social aspect of the late office closing timing cannot be ignored as it will affect the kids, husband-wife relationship, she said. “Me and my husband both are doing jobs and can’t afford a babysitter, so our kids will remain unattended by that time. And it will affect their study and behaviour,” she added. It is worth mentioning here that a summary was moved to the second cabinet meeting held on August 24, 2018, to review the working days of the week.

The six-day working week was reduced to five in 2011 on the request of Ministry of Water and Power on the plea that the electricity consumption could be reduced across Pakistan by reducing working days from six to five. The government didn’t consult the stakeholders for their recommendation/viewpoint, the source said. The decision was made without doing any research on the merits and demerits as the summary was generated in a hurry. The cabinet has not changed the weekly schedule; however, it has change the office timing.

The employees have urged the government to restore the office timing to the old schedule or introduce the daylight saving time in the country as was done previously.