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Flexible Working Hours Vital To New Zealand Health

7 November 2006

Flexible Working Hours Vital To New Zealand Health

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is giving its full support to calls for more flexible working hours spearheaded by Sue Kedgley’s private members’ bill. NZNO is a member of the Coalition for Quality Flexible Work, launched yesterday at Parliament.

NZNO considers inflexibility in working hours to be one of the key barriers to participation in the female dominated nursing and caregiving workforce.

“Women are the pre-dominant carers in family homes as well as the health system. More flexibility would assist working mothers so they can achieve a real work-life balance,” says Organising Services Manager, Cee Payne-Harker. “We need better solutions than we have now. Women shouldn’t have to decide between work and family. New Zealand would be far better off if it was easier for parents to earn a living whilst providing a secure, supportive environment for growing children.”

High-stress working conditions are amongst the key reasons for high staff turnover in the health sector particularly in Aged Care. The health benefits associated with flexibility at work would assist in retaining high quality health professionals whose skills and experience are vital to the New Zealand public.

Ms Payne-Harker says that unions can work with employers to help establish family-friendly, flexible employment conditions for all employees.

NZNO welcomes the release of a discussion document by Labour Minister Ruth Dyson that considers the options for central Government in steering New Zealand workplaces towards flexible employment initiatives. NZNO sees legislation akin to that in place in the United Kingdom as the best mechanism to create good quality, flexible jobs.


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