British employers lag behind in flexible working

18-07-2006

British employers are lagging behind their European counterparts when it comes to offering flexible working.

A new survey coordinated by the Cranfield School of Management in the UK found that only 48 per cent of British employers offer their workers flexitime, compared to 90 per cent in Germany, 94 per cent in Sweden and 92 per cent in Finland.

When it comes to tele-working the UK is similarly near the bottom of the class, with only 20 per cent of employers offering the chance to work away from the office, compared to 44 per cent in Germany and Sweden and 40 per cent in Norway.

Although British employers are offering flexible working practices such as part-time working, job-sharing and home-working, the UK is still trailing behind the competition in terms of offering its employees overall flexibility, the report concludes.

"Whilst there may be more restrictive labour laws in some European countries, than in the UK, the development of flexible working time and flexibility of contract is almost universal," said Professor Shaun Tyson, director of Cranfield School of Management's Human Resource Research Centre.

Employers in many countries see flexible working practices as part of a social contract to provide working conditions that are family friendly, explained Professor Tyson, as well as offering energy savings for businesses.

Women's policy officer for the TUC, Rebecca Gill, yesterday called for greater flexibility to be offered to women in the workplace to enable them to fulfil their family responsibilities and their potential at work.



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