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Research shows need for flexible working arrangmts

24 July 2006

Research shows need for flexible working arrangements

Department of Labour research showing that 40 percent of employees want or need more flexible working arrangements demonstrates the urgent need for legislation to facilitate this in New Zealand, Green MP Sue Kedgley says.

Ms Kedgley's Flexible Working (Employment Relations) Bill has passed its first reading in Parliament and is currently being considered by a select committee. It will come before the house again next year following further research and consultation on flexible working arrangements by the Department of Labour. It is based on successful legislation already in place in the United Kingdom.

"I welcome this research and the ongoing work the Department of Labour is doing to investigate flexible working arrangements," Ms Kedgley says.

"It is great to see that some ground-breaking businesses are already embracing flexible working arrangements for their staff. These businesses have clearly recognised the huge benefits of flexibility in terms of retention and recruitment, reduced turnover and increased motivation and productivity amongst staff.

"However, this research demonstrates that a lot of workplaces are still not switched on to flexible working arrangements. It's in all of our interests - for our economy and quality of life - that flexible working arrangements are as widely available as possible in New Zealand, not just to the staff of innovative organisations.

"According to this research, a concerning culture of long working hours has developed in New Zealand workplaces. These long hours can be unpaid - 39 percent of employees say that once or twice a week they work extra hours in their own time to get the job done. This dangerous trend is taking a serious toll on employees and their families.

"Flexible working arrangements are crucial in modern workplaces, and a key tool in helping to recruit and retain staff. They also have benefits across the whole of our economy and society, by improving our quality of life as well as the productivity of businesses.

"Because of these societal benefits, the Government needs to take the lead in bringing about this culture change in our workplaces. I look forward to working with the Government and the Department of Labour on this issue to achieve a positive result," Ms Kedgley says.


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