… in brief

This week’s news in brief

Family flexible firms

Larger companies are more family friendly and offer more support and better
flexibility to parents, according to a survey of 1,200 mothers. The research,
conducted by the National Childbirth Trust, reveals that 86 per cent of mothers
working at firms with more than 500 staff feel their employer is family friendly
– offering part-time work, flexible hours and good maternity packages.  www.nct-online.org

Forced lock-in

Retail giant Wal-Mart has been accused of forcing staff in its US stores to
work extra hours for no pay, and in some cases locked staff inside stores until
work was completed. Reports in The Times allege the retailer forced staff to
work unpaid after they had finished their agreed shifts and had hours deleted
from timesheets to keep them under 40 hours per week.  www.walmart.com

GP timewasters

Employers demanding sick notes from staff missing work through illness have
been accused of wasting GPs’ time, according to a new Government report. The
Cabinet Office’s Regulatory Unit, responsible for easing the bureaucratic
burden doctors face, said employers that ask staff for sick notes within seven
days of falling ill are wasting 2.4 million GP appointments.  www.cabinet-office.gov.uk

Immigrant approval

More than 300 immigrants have been approved for work in the UK under the Government’s
new fast track Highly Skilled Migrants Programme. The scheme allows talented
immigrants to look for work without the sponsorship of an employer.  www.homeoffice.gov.uk

Insecure Brits

Only employees in South Korea suffer more job insecurity than employees in
the UK, according to research. A new survey covering 24 countries by the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reveals that 41 per cent
of staff in the UK don’t think they have job security, while 46 per cent of Korean
workers are unsure of their jobs.  www.oecd.org

Online business plan

The DTI has launched a new website, Corporate Venturing, which will allow
large and small firms to identify potential business partners and benefit from
each other’s resources. The launch is backed by a £1.5m Government investment
and hopes to enable small firms to gain management experience from larger
employers, greater access to research and development, and bigger employers to
benefit from an equity stake of intellectual property.  www.dti.gov.uk

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