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Flexible Working Hours Bill clears first hurdle

Kedgley's Flexible Working Hours Bill clears first hurdle

7 April 2005
Kedgley's Flexible Working Hours Bill clears first hurdle

Sue Kedgley's private member's Flexible Working Hours Bill passed its first reading this afternoon with Government support and will now go to Select Committee.

"I am delighted that my Bill has been supported in the House and I appreciate the support Labour and the Progressives have given this initiative and their commitment to family friendly policies," Ms Kedgley said.

"The tension of trying to juggle paid work and family responsibilities is taking a huge toll on families today. This Bill seeks to reduce the stress by allowing employees to seek more flexible hours that better suit the needs of their families.

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working Hours) Amendment Bill would give employees with children under five the right to request reduced, part-time or flexible hours. Employers would have a legal duty to consider any such requests seriously, and must be able to demonstrate good reasons for a refusal.

"The Bill is based on UK legislation, passed by the Blair Government, which had been extremely successful in changing the work culture and employers' attitudes towards allowing their workers more flexible working arrangements.

"The British legislation has worked very well. Nine out of 10 requests have been accepted, making life easier and more bearable for thousands of British parents."

The pressure of trying to work full-time and care for young children at the same time was putting a huge strain on parents and young children, Ms Kedgley said.

"It is in everyone's interests that we help parents with young children to live more balanced lives. It will not only make life better and more enriching for parents and children, but will also benefit employers. Overseas studies show that family-friendly strategies in the workplace reduce staff turnover and recruitment costs. They also reduce absentee rates, and improve morale, employee loyalty and workplace productivity."

ENDS

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