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Page last updated at 22:18 GMT, Sunday, 29 January 2006

Get a life

Reporter Shelley Jofre with her daughter
Panorama reporter and mum Shelley Jofre finds out why people in the UK work such long hours

Panorama examines Britain's long-hours culture and asks children what they think of their parents' working lives.

More than a fifth of us say that "work/life balance" is the most important consideration when making career choices*. Panorama asks why British workers continue to clock up some of the longest hours in Europe.

Many believed that new technology would liberate us from the office but has it instead just blurred the line between work and home, leaving little time for employees to switch off.

While the government's policies on flexible-working have so far succeeded in giving more than a million people family-friendly hours, the vast majority have been women. Unless dads also make use of these policies, Panorama asks whether there is a danger that mums will be forced into lower-skilled, lower-status jobs.

These are just some of the questions reporter Shelley Jofre explores in "Get A Life", as she herself juggles full-time work with raising a two-year-old. Shelley follows four hard-working families from Livingston, West Lothian, who find that their jobs and family commitments often pull them in different directions.

More children than ever now live in households with both parents working yet they are rarely asked for their views on the subject. In a nationwide ICM opinion poll, Panorama asks teenagers what they think of their parents' working lives - with some remarkable results.

* British Social Attitudes Survey (Dec 2005)

Panorama: Get A Life was on BBC One on Sunday 29 January 2006.



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29 Jan 06 |  Panorama


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