By GYNNIE KERO
EMPLOYEES in the public and private sectors must be allowed time off work to cast their votes, especially in major centres where one-day voting is scheduled, an official says.
Personnel Department Secretary John Kali has directed heads of departments to give time to their staff to “exercise their constitutional rights”.
“I am also pleading with (employers in) the private sector to give their employees time off for that purpose,” Kali said.
Kali stressed that every citizen should be able to exercise his or her right to vote during the general election. “It will require that permission is granted for public employees to leave work early or start work late to enable them to cast their votes,” he said.
Polling begins on Saturday June 24 and ends on Saturday July 8. It is expected that the writs will be returned on July 24.
Employees living in the two biggest cities – Port Moresby and Lae – have only one day to vote: June 27 and June 29 in Lae.
The polling days have not been declared public holidays, although National Capital District election manager Terence Hetinu last month had called for one to allow as many people as possible to vote. Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc chief executive officer David Conn said it was up to each member to work out the most effective way to give time off to employees.
He told The National that members should allow their employees to go and vote.
“Of course, but it is up to individual members how they work with their staff on it.”
Conn said the chamber would give the afternoon off to its staff on June 27. Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Alan McLay also reminded companies to give their employees sufficient time off to go and cast their votes.
“The employers (chamber members) know that it is important for their employees to vote,” he said.
“Most companies have worked hard to establish good employer-employee relationships. And giving sufficient time off to vote is just one form of enhancing this.”
By GYNNIE KERO