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The BBC's Stephen Evans
"Many more people will have to work odd hours"
 real 56k

Jenny Watson, Equal Opportunities Commission
"Flexible working is good for everybody"
 real 56k

Friday, 28 July, 2000, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Family friendly firms 'cause staff tension'
Parents collecting their children from school
Some staff resent parents leaving work early
Policies designed to enable parents to be flexible at work are causing tension among childless staff, according to a report.

The journal, Management Today, surveyed 2,000 managers, many of whom said that "family friendly" policies were causing tension in the workforce.

Some childless staff - particularly women - felt they often had to do extra work if parents left early to go to school meetings, or to look after sick children.

The government has been promoting flexible working for parents such as rights to time off for family duties.
Tony Blair with baby son Leo
Prime Minister Tony Blair did not take full parental leave

Ministers argue that helping employees get a better balance between family and work helps the whole economy.

But respondents to the survey said their staff without children wanted the benefits of flexible working too.

One manager told the survey: "I do not have children and sometimes resent the emphasis put on people who do being the only ones who want more time at home.

"I have commitments and a life too, and I would like family-friendly policies to be home-friendly policies instead."

A woman manager in her 40s said: "People who don't have children resent the things they miss out on, such as maternity/paternity leave, and sick leave taken as a result of problems with children."

'Unfair burden'

Employees with children often leave early to attend school meetings and are off sick more often after picking up illnesses from their children, managers complained.

Another manager said: "People who choose not to have families do so for good reasons and it is unfair to burden them with additional work so others can have additional benefits."

A TUC spokesman said: "This is a fairly surprising finding in view of how few people take advantage of unpaid parental leave.

"We believe the real challenge to managers is to reduce stress and overwork for all employees."

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23 May 00 | UK Politics
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