Work-Life Balance Attitudes and Practices

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Work–life balance attitudes and practices in British workplaces, 2007 About the survey Attitudes to work–life balance Flexible working practices Awareness of legislative changes Working hours Disseminating information on flexible working Commentary References

This report is available in electronic format only. Wyattville Road, Loughlinstown, Dublin 18, Ireland. - Tel: (+353 1) 204 31 00 - Fax: 282 42 09 / 282 64 56 e-mail: - website:

The Third Work–Life Balance Employer Survey for 2007 provides an up-to-date picture of work– life balance practices and attitudes in British workplaces with five or more employees. As the third survey in the series, it offers the opportunity of assessing change over time in relation to work–life balance issues and the impact of new legislation in this area. The research covers a wide range of issues including working hours, provision and take-up of flexible working arrangements, awareness of legislative changes, leave provisions, support for working parents and employers’ attitudes to work–life balance measures.

About the survey
The Third Work–Life Balance (WLB3) Employer Survey (987Kb PDF) was conducted by BMRB Social Research (BMRB) on behalf of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to coincide with the introduction of the provisions outlined in the Work and Families Act 2006 (131Kb PDF) on 1 April 2007. The survey was conducted among a random sample of 1,462 British workplaces – representing a 39% response rate – with five or more employees. Workplaces were randomly selected from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR). Larger workplaces were over-sampled; hence weights were applied to produce nationally representative estimates. All figures presented in this report are weighted. Interviews, lasting an average of 40 minutes, were conducted by telephone with a manager at each workplace who has day-to-day responsibilities for human resources and employment relations issues. The fieldwork was carried out between March and August 2007 with the aim of completing as much research as possible before the introduction of the new legislation. The employer survey had three broad aims. It was designed to monitor changes since the previous WLB surveys of 2000 (WLB1) and 2002/3 (WLB2), to provide a baseline for future evaluation of the Work and Families Act 2006 and to examine any other issues relating to work-life balance. Subjects covered in the survey included working hours and patterns, provision of flexible working practices, maternity and paternity leave, as well as attitudes towards work–life balance. A companion survey of employees (3.29Mb PDF), also the third survey in the series, was also conducted between February and March 2006. This survey included a sample of 2,081 adults of working age employed in organisations with five or more staff.

Attitudes to work–life balance
Employers were presented with 10 statements relating to work–life balance and were asked how much they agreed or disagreed with each. The level of agreement was scored on a five-point scale. The employers’ responses are summarised in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Employers’ attitudes towards work–life balance and level of agreement with 10 statements, WLB3 (%) Agree People work best when they can balance their work and other aspects of their lives * Employers should make a special effort to accommodate the particular difficulties parents of 92 Neither agree nor disagree 3 Disagree 4




© European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, 2007


young and disabled children face in balancing work and family life * People who work flexibly are just as likely to be promoted as those who do not * Employees should not expect to be able to change their working pattern if it would disrupt the business * It is not easy trying to accommodate employees with different patterns of working *...
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