• The European Commission has announced that it is to spend 94.8m euros
(£59.3m) on another 753 employment training projects across the EU and in
Eastern Europe under the Leonardo da Vinci programme. The money will help fund
the acquisition of new skills, linking educational and vocational training
establishments, fighting social exclusion, promoting investment in human
resources and broadening IT expertise in adults. A total of 67.8m euros
(£42.4m) will be spent on pilot projects and the remaining 27m euros (£16.9m)
on placement and exchange programmes.
Staff welfare high on agenda at US companies
• The best US companies make staff welfare a high priority, it has emerged.
The top 100 firms identified by Fortune magazine take more steps to engage
employees in the business and make quality of life for staff a priority. The
finding comes in a study by the independent consultancy Hewitt Associates,
which analysed the people practices of the firms.
Calls for working week to rise to 40 hours
• German heads of industry are appealing to reverse the trend towards
shorter working hours and reinstate the 40-hour week. Hans Peter Stihl,
president of the German Association of Chambers of Commerce, called for an
increase in the working week to 40 hours to create more flexible working
arrangements and improve competitiveness. His call was backed by Hermann
Franzen, president of the employers’ association for the retail trade. The
average working week is 37.5 hours in western Germany and 39.2 hours in the
east of the country.
By Philip Whiteley