Paternity leave on the increase

The
CIPD says takeup of paternity
leave has increased from 9 per cent to 44 per cent during the last three years.

Getting
a Kick out of Work –
a survey of 1,000 people management professionals
looking at the range of non-financial benefits offered by organisations – finds
that flexible working is being adopted by many UK companies. But many employees
have been slow to make the most of the changes.

Duncan Brown, CIPD assistant
director general, said: "Legislation, together with
evidence of the beneficial effect on motivation and productivity, mean that more and more
organisations are putting in place policies which support flexible working. But our data indicates a policy gap in
terms of the management and take up of these arrangements.

"Our
survey shows that government
legislation on paternity leave has made an impact, though it should also be
pointed out that the proportion of fathers taking up this benefit is still
relatively low."

Brown
said that while almost half of all organisations allow their employees to work
from home, only a minority of workers take up this offer (14 per cent).

"This
shows that flexible working needs to be encouraged and embraced at all levels
if it is to be successful. 
Organisations need to foster a culture focused on objectives and outputs
rather than presenteeism, where being at the desk is more important than actual
contribution," he said.

The
survey shows almost one in four organisations reporting that senior management
is not supportive of their flexible working policies, which may explain why
such practices are not widely adopted.  

Other
findings:


From 1999, the number
of organisations offering paternity leave jumped from 66 per cent to 81 per
cent, while parental leave provision increased from 57 per cent to 78 per cent.


The number of organisations that offer staff the option of career breaks has
halved from 40 per cent in 1999, while 17 per cent offer sabbaticals (24 per
cent in 1999).


The public sector is leading the way in flexible working arrangements by
offering a wider variety of options and generally experiencing higher take up of flexitime. • Only 26 per cent of
private sector organisations surveyed offered flexitime, compared to almost four-fifths
(79 per cent) of public sector organisations.


Childcare remains an area where few employers offer options with less than one in 10 surveyed having a workplace nursery or offering childcare
subsidies and 2 per cent offering the provision of after-school care.

Brown
said: "In today’s tight labour market, employers are realising they have
to be responsive and innovative in trying to meet employee expectations. Flexible benefits that help with their
worklife balance is
part of this innovation."

By Quentin Reade

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