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Feedback sought on flexibility at work

6 November 2006

Feedback sought on flexibility at work

Feedback is being sought on how workplaces can benefit from flexible work arrangements that meet the needs of both individuals and businesses, Department of Labour Chief Executive James Buwalda said.

“A public consultation opens today to get New Zealanders’ feedback on how they envisage workplace flexibility working for them – for example job sharing, varying starting and finishing times, and working from home.

“Workplace flexibility contributes to a wide range of social benefits, such as people having the opportunity for greater involvement in voluntary work, communities, and families.

“Wider-reaching positive spin offs of flexible arrangements include reducing travel times and congestion on roads and public transport.

“Flexible work is becoming increasingly important in response to New Zealand’s labour market environment. We are experiencing ongoing low unemployment, and skills and labour shortages – and the Department’s latest labour market forecast shows this is likely to continue.

“To make the most of this environment’s opportunities and challenges, businesses need to work to find new ways to attract and retain staff, and make workplaces more productive. One way to achieve this is through working with employees to develop flexible working arrangements.

“For employees, the benefits of workplace flexibility are clear - flexible work provides choices for people balancing paid work with other responsibilities and lifestyles choices.

“A number of countries have legislated for employee rights to request flexible working arrangements, while others have relied on education and promotion to increase availability and take up of flexible work arrangements.

“The Department wants to find out the best approaches for New Zealand - it’s important that we get a full range of views to help shape the best possible solutions for employees, employers and workplaces,” he said.

The consultation is taking place from 6 November to 15 December 2006, supported by the discussion paper Quality flexible work: increasing availability and take up in New Zealand which is available at www.dol.govt.nz

The discussion paper is also available by writing to PO Box 3705, Wellington or phoning 0800 20 90 20.

ENDS

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