If public grievances are anything to go by, the 21-day annual leave implemented by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) is impacting public service delivery. People are raising concerns about delays and difficulties in accessing essential services as many civil servants take annual leave at once. In response, the RCSC says individual agencies are tasked with efficient management of annual leave to prevent and minimise disruptions, and to ensure uninterrupted public service delivery.
The National Assembly in its summer session, last year, increased civil servants’ annual leave to 21 days instead of 12 days as initially decided by the RCSC.
The RCSC introduced the annual leave to promote periodic rejuvenation and work-life balance for civil servants.
Many people BBS talked to, who did not want to be revealed said having a long leave duration has affected public service delivery, particularly during the winter months.
“Unlike summer, many people take leave during the winter months as they decide to travel. Additionally, the 21-day annual leave scheme may be contributing to this trend. Sometimes, when we go seek services, they ask us to come the following day and I feel it is affecting service delivery,” said one of the service users.
“As a student, when we are sick and need to visit the hospital, we are granted half-day leave. However, we often encounter issues such as doctors not being available and we get late,” said another service user.
As for the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, the medical superintendent said that despite various department heads managing the hospital staff’s annual leave, employees resigning has made it harder for efficient service delivery.
Meanwhile, the RCSC said that agencies should ensure that employees going on leave are managed in such a way that service interruptions are avoided.
“We are delegating this authority to the agencies thinking that they plan and manage it with minimal disruption to service delivery. As you all know the agencies are entrusted with the responsibility of providing unhindered public service delivery. Since it is their responsibility we expect them to plan and manage the 21 days of annual leave in an efficient manner,” said Tshering Yangden, RCSC’s Commissioner.
As respective agencies continue to navigate these challenges, the focus remains on finding solutions that support both employee welfare and public service quality.
Edited by Sonam Pem & Sherub Dorji