Longer shop opening hours has created more than 800 new jobs, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou said yesterday.
Some 810 people were recruited by businesses following the implementation of the new tourist shop opening hours, Emilianidou told parliament.
She said it has not yet been decided whether the decree on shop hours that expires on October 13 will be renewed.
According to the Minister, during checks conducted by Labour Ministry staff, 12 violations of working hours resulted in prosecutions.
And the Association of Small and Medium-sized enterprises (PASIME) agreed that flexible working hours benefits both businesses and the Cyprus economy.
“We must all adapt to the country’s current financial situation in order to help put an end to the economic crisis as soon as possible,” said the association.
It said the decree helped increase revenue for cash-strapped businesses and the state.
The decree issued by the Labour Ministry permits all shops to stay open for longer for two more weeks with an option to renew it.
Shops are allowed to stay open from 5am until 10pm from Monday to Saturday (including Wednesday) and from 9am until 9pm on Sundays.
“It demands that all businesses work harder as more flexible working hours can help increase turnover and curb unemployment.”
According to the Association, “every new measure has its negatives, however when the negatives are less than the positives then they should not pose an obstacle”.
The Minister said that unemployment has recently increased by 1.5% noting that the government’s aim is to subsidise employment and not unemployment.
But small shopkeepers association boss Stephanos Koursaris said the decree served big business interests only by making the entire island a tourist area, adding 40 to 50 hours per week for each employee.