UK tops European league of part-time friendly nations

UK employers are the most part-time friendly of 21 European Union states, according to a survey of 21,000 firms.

Of British firms with 10 or more workers, 56% allowed flexible working, the study for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions showed.

Researchers questioned employers and workers on a range of work-life balance issues.

The foundation’s director, Jorma Karppinen, said: “This positive approach to flexitime arrangements is good news for job creation in Europe, since it makes work more attractive, especially for women and older workers.”

But the report’s authors warned that it was “alarming” that a significant minority of both managers and employee representatives considered it to be disadvantageous to work part-time.

Nearly 20% of UK personnel managers questioned for the survey reported “slightly” or “significantly worse” career prospects for part-time workers than for full-time staff.

The negative effects of flexible working included a rise in costs, reported by 5% of firms, and communication problems, which affected 10%.

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