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Legislating for flexible work hours an oxymoron

Media statement Thursday, February 16th, 2006

Legislating for flexible work hours an oxymoron

The Green’s Flexible Working Hours Bill before the Select Committee is well meaning but would need over-the-top, bureaucratic management to make it work, says David Lowe, Employment Services Manager for the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

“The Bill is legislation for legislation’s sake,” Mr Lowe said.

“There has been no research done on the need for such a law.

“The vast majority of employers already operate flexible working hours wherever they can, especially in today’s tight labour market.

“Employers in the main support flexible working hours, but every situation is different and requires a solution tailor-made for individual workers and their employers.

“But this law would give employers only a Yes/No option.

“It would force them to spend a lot of time in finding ways around it.

“A similar law in the UK has not worked - a few early birds get the all the benefits in each workplace after which their employer has to say ‘No’ to everyone else.

“Far better progress can be made when employees work with their employers to come up with more flexible ways of working that suit them both.

“Legislating employers into strait jackets like this can’t work.”


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