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Flexi working hours key to family happiness

Flexi working hours key to family happiness - Greens

New National Party leader John Key should demonstrate his strong commitment to families by matching his British counterpart's support for flexible working hours legislation, Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says.

"John Key says the security, happiness and welfare of families is his top priority, and has pledged to do what he can to support families in any government he leads.

"One practical way to demonstrate this commitment is by supporting my Flexible Working Hours bill."

British Conservative Party leader David Cameron is a strong supporter of the UK flexible working hours legislation which gives employees with young families the right to request flexible working hours.

"Mr Cameron has rightly identified inflexible working hours as a major barrier to women participating in the workplace, and says it is depriving the economy of skills and talent the labour market needs. He believes flexible working is good for women, good for employers and good for society and has called for legislation that allows UK employees to seek to work flexibly to be extended to all employees with families.

"A similar commitment would be most welcome from John Key and the National Party.

"Politicians will have the opportunity to support flexible working hours early next year when my private member's bill returns to Parliament," she says. "Many parents have no option but to seek paid work. Others chose to enter the workforce and our economy benefits from their skills ands experience. We need to encourage workplace arrangements that enable parents to manage paid work and their family and community responsibilities."

A coalition of 32 business and professional, community and union organisations had recently formed to back flexible working hours legislation as the best approach for both employees and employers.

"The Coalition For Quality Flexible Work includes Parents Centre, Playcentre and Grey Power - representing families at every stage of life."

Currently the coalition is focussed on encouraging wide participation in a Department of Labour public consultation to establish the best way to improve access to flexible working hours. The consultation ends on December 15.

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