Change of working hours in Ramadan suggested

Updated 12 July 2014

Change of working hours in Ramadan suggested

Public and private sector workers have called on the government to review working hours for Muslims in Ramadan to improve productivity, including looking at evening shifts.
They told Arab News that the review should take into account changes to routines and sleeping hours during the month of fasting.
They said there are poor services at many government offices during Ramadan, particularly during the first week when staff members are either absent or not doing their work.
Ali Hazaa, who works for a private company, said he finds it difficult to get used to the different work schedule in Ramadan and is unable to get to bed early. He said lack of sleep results in lethargy at work.
“It would be better for Ramadan to be a holiday for all employees so they can have enough time to fulfill religious obligations, or to have an evening shift so they can coordinate their work and prevent delays,” he said.
Saleh Al-Hamadi, a worker, said: “I think it would be better for working hours to change to the evening during Ramadan so that staff are not lazy and can do their work properly.”
Other workers, however, say that Ramadan does not affect their productivity. “I support the need for employees to work during Ramadan,” said Hassan Alqani. “But I think the work period should be reduced to two weeks during the month to allow individuals enough time to attend to their social and religious obligations, particularly during the last 10 days of Ramadan.”
He said workers are tired and absent from work mainly because they have to adjust to new routines, especially at the beginning of the month.
For Ahmed Eid, working in Ramadan is special because of the balance required for worship and working. “Undoubtedly, the productivity of employees declines during Ramadan for a number of health and biological reasons, but I think this is exacerbated by the later working hours in Ramadan, which starts at 10:00 a.m.,” he said. “Making working hours from 7:00 a.m. to 12 noon in my opinion would be much better in terms of regulating employees' time and productivity levels.”
Khaled Al-Zahrani said he prefers working during Ramadan and does not find it difficult. “I prefer working during the day in Ramadan because it is easier. There are fewer people at government departments during this time.”
Ahmed Asiri said something must be done to improve productivity at government departments. “We have a hard time at government departments in Ramadan because there are fewer employees.
This results in paperwork and procedures taking longer,” he said.

FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Updated 14 min 23 sec ago

FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi has been the president of the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) since his appointment to the post in May 2016.

On Monday GASTAT announced this year’s Hajj statistics, revealing detailed information on the number of pilgrims (which amounted to 2,371,675) performing Hajj this year, their genders, nationalities and whether they arrived through air, land or seaports.

The president conveyed his gratitude to all government and security entities that helped the authority to collect data, and praised the 450 GASTAT researchers who worked to compile the information and deliver it to the public.

He said that the collected data would help facilitate better experiences and easier pilgrimages for future programs, and better services for pilgrims — from social to health, and transportation to security and food.

Altekhaifi received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from King Saud University in 1992, a master’s degree in statistics from Colorado State University in 1996, and his applied statistics and research methodology Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado in 2001.

He worked as a manager of a financial program at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh from 1993 to 2005. For two years after that, he was a project director at the EIS department in Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants.

In 2007, Altekhaifi was appointed a manager of the research department at the Capital Market Authority, before becoming assistant deputy minister for development in November 2011. 

In June 2015, he was the director general of the Central Department of Statistics and Information. He served as the acting president of GASTAT in February 2016, before being appointed president on May 2016.