DTI accused of mixed messages on work-life balance

The
DTI’s consultation on possible changes to the UK’s
Working Time Regulations is characterised by an inconsistent and contradictory
approach, according to The Work Foundation.

The
body said that while the Government claims to promote work-life balance they
also assert that working time has no impact on health and that long hours are
essential in a flexible labour market.

David
Coats, associate director of policy at The Work Foundation, said: "The
Government needs to get its act together on working time."

"Aiding
and abetting long hours on the one hand and promoting work-life balance on the
other displays confused thinking. The real challenge is to get rid of
inefficient overtime systems, boost earnings in core hours and improve UK
productivity," he said.

"A
workplace culture that says ‘You won’t get promoted unless you work long hours’
disadvantages women and cannot be squared with the Government’s desire to
achieve greater gender equality," Coats added.

The
Work Foundation’s Work and Well Being Survey 2004 showed that 37 per cent of
employees would work fewer hours for less money. Work and Well Being also shows
that the most frequently given reasons for working long hours are a desire for
promotion, job insecurity and volume of work.

By Quentin Reade

 

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