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Still more work to do on work-life balance

27 October 2004

Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Still more work to do on work-life balance

An International Labour Organisation (ILO) report out this week showing New Zealanders work the longest hours, and the OECD report on Babies and Bosses out yesterday, together show we still have some work to do on bringing work-life balance to New Zealanders, Progressive Deputy Leader Matt Robson said.

"We are working much longer hours than our European counterparts on average, according to the ILO. Where possible, we should be encouraging companies to take on more staff and raise productivity levels, rather than working people into the ground. Time outside of work not only revives us, but gives us time to help our children grow and develop. That is why the Progressives fought for and won four weeks leave for New Zealanders.

"Work life balance contributes to society and the economy and it is something of a cultural shift we need to take on board in New Zealand. We are hard workers, but we need balance in our lives, we need put more time into our families, contribute to community work, play sports, and take on further education and training. This is the best way to provide safer, healthier, stronger communities. It is also one of the ways we can lift productivity levels.

"We also need to work harder to help mothers get back into the workforce when they are ready to. In a decade's time it will be a very serious issue as we will need their skills and talents to keep the economy going as the competition for skills around the world heats up. The Working for Families package has made great strides towards providing support for parents to get back to work. This now needs to be matched by more companies and workplaces taking on board work-life balance policies," Matt Robson said.

The ILO report states that "twenty per cent or more of the workforce in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan work at least 50 hours a week, compared with fewer than 10 per cent in most European countries."

The ILO book, 'Decent Working Time Deficit' can be accessed here:
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inf/pr/2004/47.htm

ENDS

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