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Business supports voluntary approach

24 July 2006

Business supports voluntary approach to workplace flexibility

New research shows New Zealand employers are genuinely trying to provide their staff with flexibility at work, says Business NZ’s Phil O’Reilly.

Business NZ is co-sponsor of a summit on workplace flexibility being held at Parliament today.

Mr O’Reilly says the Labour Department study Work-Life Balance in New Zealand indicates that employers commonly allow for flexibility with starting or finishing times, allow personal sick leave to be used to care for others, and commonly facilitate flexible break provisions and study leave.

“The report shows the majority of employers do not see barriers impeding their ability to improve flexibility, indicating an openness of mind on the part of employers.

“It also demonstrates that employers are viewing work-life balance as an increasingly important business issue, given the tight labour market. Smart businesses will seek to continually improve their engagement with employees with regard to this issue.

“The report confirms that legislation is not needed to enforce flexibility in the workplace.

“While many findings of the report are positive, there are still challenges - for example in connection with night workers, shift workers and those working longer hours.

“We need to find the best approach, including asking how skills, tools and other help can be provided to meet these particular needs.

“Business NZ supports the voluntary, business-by-business approach undertaken by Government and will continue to promote a culture of flexibility among member firms and others.”

ENDS

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