While Minister of International Business Donville Inniss pushes for a 24-hour system of work in Barbados to make the island more competitive, the president of the National Organisation of Women (NOW) is convinced that it will not work.
Late last month, the minister said he wanted to see such a system implemented to help create jobs and stimulate more economic activity.
However, NOW head Marilyn Rice-Bowen told Barbados TODAY the move needed to be carefully thought out, especially as it relates to women.
She said that, if implemented, the move would have a definite impact on families, particularly mothers who have to work at night and leave their children unsupervised because they have no alternative.
“From where I sit, currently with the extended working hours of the women in this country, they don’t have certain things put in place like day nursery hours, especially for women who work at night,” she said.
“If you want to move towards a 24-hour day of working there are so many social [measures] you have to put in place and so many things you have to attend to before you look at that. I also don’t know if we have the population to support a 24-hour day service. It might work excellent in Jamaica and Trinidad where their population is bigger, but I don’t know. Maybe locally they are doing studies that we have not been privy to.”
Rice-Bowen renewed NOW’s call for an extension of day care hours to match the hours many parents and guardians work.
She suggested that, for example, it was inconsiderate to close a day care centre at 5 pm while most supermarkets closed at 9 pm.
“Even now there are women who leave for work at 6:30 in the morning and their children have to fend for themselves. This is why we came up with the Breakfast Club, because we find that children were leaving home for school without breakfast,” Rice-Bowen said.