New programme could encourage more flexi-working

A new system which acts like a clocking in and clocking out programme for flexi-time workers has been launched.

The web-based Flex Planner is being launched with a range of private and public organisations, including universities and local authorities. It can be used by any computer-based employees, including home-based workers. The aim is to encourage more organisations to adopt flexi-time arrangements for staff. Read more.

Tory MP says extended flexible working could be open to abuse

A Conservative MP criticised Labour’s plans to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of older children, saying it would be open to abuse.

Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South, said some parents would abuse the right and questioned whether, for instance, parents needed to take time off work to support children doing exams. According to The Mirror, he said: “[Flexible working for parents of children up to age 16] sounds good, but it could well include rights for parents to take time off to look after sick children or to help them during exams. “I’m all for parents properly looking after children in case of real sickness. But as an employer, I can tell you this will be abused.

“As for time off to support children doing exams, surely there are other ways support can be given without parents neglecting their jobs.” Read more

‘Motherhood could help brain function’

Motherhood may improve memory and learning and make women less anxious, according to research.

A study of mammals conducted by Professor Craig Kinsley of the University of Richmond in the US shows that there are positive changes in the brain associated with childbirth. It found female rats were less fearful when confronted by stressful situations than other female rats. They were also less likely in general to have high levels of stress hormones for at least 24 months after becoming mothers. They also performed better on memory and learning tests. Rats which spent time in the presence of young pups also performed better, suggesting the link with youngsters may keep the brain active. Read more.

Most Australian mothers are just treading water

Less than a fifth of Australian women are successful at work and home and find parenthood a positive experience, according to research.

The research by Ibolya Losoncz from the Australian Government Department of Families and Community Services found that women divided into six main groups with the largest group “treading water”, that is just about coping while experiencing tension due to having to juggle work and family life.

Losoncz plans to do further research to link her findings to child health. Read more.

Work ‘may help pregnant women’

Working may be good for pregnant women, says a US expert. Dr Tamara Kuittinen told the New York Daily News that having something to do can stop women from becoming too stressed about the pregnancy. Read more.

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