Part-time work is big in the UK

PUBLISHED: 16:35 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 06 May 2010

THE UK is leading the way with part-time working initiatives, a new survey of 21,000 firms across 21 European Union states suggests. Figures show that 56 per cent of British firms with 10 or more workers allow flexible working. Researchers found that flex

THE UK is leading the way with part-time working initiatives, a new survey of 21,000 firms across 21 European Union states suggests.

Figures show that 56 per cent of British firms with 10 or more workers allow flexible working.

Researchers found that flexible working arrangements promote a higher degree of job satisfaction in two-thirds of the European firms surveyed.

At the same time, lower levels of absenteeism were reported in just over a quarter of them.

Employers and workers were quizzed by the German firm Infratest Sozialforschung on a range of life-work balance issues.

Jorma Karppinen, director of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for which the research was carried out, said it was pleasing to find that flexible working is so widely practised in Europe.

"This positive approach to flexi-time arrangements is good news for job creation in Europe, since it makes work more attractive, especially for women and more mature workers," he said.

But the report's authors said it was "alarming" that a significant minority of both managers and employee representatives considered it disadvantageous to work part-time.

Nearly 20 per cent of the UK personnel managers questioned reported slightly or significantly worse career prospects for part-time workers than full-time workers, compared with an average of one in three in the rest of Europe.

Negative effects included a rise in costs, reported by five per cent of firms, and communication problems, which affected 10 per cent.

Data from the survey will be presented to officials from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Work and Pensions.

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