The flexible working hours announced by the government on Tuesday will help ease usually-seen traffic congestion during Ramadhan.
Long queues of vehicles are always seen on main arterial roads, especially Muscat Expressway towards Maabela and on Sultan Qaboos Street on the Rusayl in the afternoon after 2 pm when public sector offices generally close during Ramadhan.
With the new flexible working hours and the option for remote working, the movement of employees will be spread out and it will reduce not only traffic congestion, but also reduce accidents.
“It used to be a nightmare to reach home in the afternoon during Ramadhan as it would take me up to two hours to cover the distance from my office in Al Khuwair to my house in Al Khoud. With flexible working hours traffic blocks during Ramadhan will be a matter of the past,” said Maryam al Balushi, a public sector employee. The official working hours for employees during Ramadhan have been announced and will be flexible. The head of the departments will determine the timings.
The official working hours are 9 am to 2 pm. The head of the departments may determine the appropriate working hours based on the available options including 7 am to 12 pm, 8 am to 1 pm, 9 am to 2 pm, and 10 am to 3 pm.
The head of the departments may also allow remote (online) working, but the number of employees whose attendance at a given point of time must be not less than 60 per cent of the total employees of that department.
Working hours for Muslim employees in private sector establishments must be six hours per day, not exceeding 30 hours per day per week.
To further control traffic congestion, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) has prohibited truck movement on a number of roads in various governorates on Thursdays and Saturdays to avoid congestion.
ROP said that truck movement is not permitted on Thursday and Saturday on the main roads of the Muscat Governorate, Al Dakhiliyah Road (Muscat-Bidbid Bridge) and Al Batinah Highway (Muscat-Shinas) between 12 pm and 4 pm (Thursday) and 4 pm and 10 pm on Saturdays.