Human Resource Management

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Work-life Balance

Based on Human Resource Management (4th Edition) by Alan Price - published by Cengage

The 'Work-life Balance 2000' baseline study was conducted jointly by the Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick and IFF Research was commissioned by the UK Department of Education and Employment (DfEE) to give baseline information for the department's work-life balance campaign (, November 20 2000). It is representative of national provision of work-life balance arrangements in places of work which have five or more employees. The study consists of two surveys:

  • a survey of employers responsible for 2,500 workplaces in Great Britain;
  • a further survey of around 7500 employees.

The study concludes that there is a widespread demand from employees for the right to balance work and home life. It also reveals that businesses prefer to offer stress counselling for the personal consequences of long working hours (49 per cent) rather than provide assistance for childcare (9 per cent).

1 in 9 of full-time employees (including men with children) work more than 60 hours every week. Two-thirds of male employees believe that part-time working would damage their career prospects. At the same there is a clear demand for greater flexibility - especially from fathers. In general, men seem to have a greater enthusiasm for working from home than do women. Virtually all the respondents to both surveys - employees and employers alike - agreed with the concept of work-life balance. But 1 in 8 of employees still worked Saturdays and Sundays and around 20 per cent of employees worked for 24-hour/7-day-week businesses.

Other conclusions of the study were:

  • 80 per cent of workplaces had employees who worked more than their standard hours with 39 per cent doing so without extra pay;
  • just 20 per cent of employers were fully aware of increased maternity leave rights and 24 per cent fully aware of new paternal leave rights;
  • 25 per cent of entitled female employees took less than 18 weeks maternity leave;
  • 55 per cent of employers consider it acceptable to allow staff to move from full-time to part-time work in some cases;
  • 24 per cent of employees now work flexitime with 12 per cent working only during school terms
  • 56 per cent of women preferred flexible working - for example, part-time or home-based - after a pregnancy to having a longer maternity leave period.



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