National government through an executive order is adopting a Compressed Work Schedule during this COVID-19 pandemic. Compressed work week basically allows an employee under the Bureau of Public Service System to choose to have an extra day off or half a day off a week by working a mandatory 40 hours into the 4-day week instead of 5-day week.
Compressed work week schedule, according to information from Bureau of Public Service Systems is voluntary, and employees that choose to apply to the compressed work week need to complete a consent form from BPSS.
The application of the compressed work week will also depend on each Ministry and its requirements. Certain ministries such as Health, Education and Justice may have greater needs and require greater coordination.
One government employee interviewed said, she was not sure if its really worth it. “It is new and maybe created with good intentions especially when we had more restrictions due to COVID but now, I don’t see much use. I don’t know if I want to stay in the office for 10 hours.”
Another said he could not wait to be able to take an extra day off to be home and do other things beside work.
Presidential Directive stated, “There is no better time than during this pandemic for families to spend quality time with loved ones and to engage in other productive activities, including those that will foster the character building of our children, imparting social and cultural skills to the next generation and most importantly, working together to ensure food security and other improvements within households.”
“The need for self-care is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is significantly increasing stress and anxiety for all in Palau,” explains the Presidential Directive No. 20-41 signed by President Remengesau Jr. on July 1, 2020.
Furthermore it said, “Permitting the temporary adoption of a compressed work week to engage in other activities aimed at bettering the employee’s physical and/or mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, to spend quality time with family, and to develop the Palauan community may benefit Palau as a whole.”
The compressed work week applies only to those under the Bureau of Public Service System and does not apply to agencies outside of the Bureau of Public Service System such as semi-autonomous agencies and State governments. It does not apply to private sector as well.