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News & EventsNEWS - 29 Jan 08 - Charity says childcare costs soar
Childcare costs are rising above the rate of inflation, with parents paying more than £8,000 a year, a charity report suggests. The Daycare Trust says costs nationally rose 5% last year. Inflation is 2.1%.
The average cost of a full-time nursery place for a child under the age of two in England was £159 per week. The most expensive care was in London and the South East, where typical costs ranged between £161 and £202 a week, and some parents were paying £750. The cheapest childcare was in the West Midlands, the Daycare Trust said.
NEWS - 18 Jan 08 - Pushy parents fuel sales of internet essays
SCORES of students at universities in Wales are paying for internet essays to help achieve degree success. The Wales-wide tally for help sought on one website reached 270 in 2007 and pushy parents have been blamed for the increase. Students at Swansea University brought the most essay formats from UKEssays.com last year, followed by Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff. No students from the nation’s newer universities purchased work from the company, a spokesman said.
Academics said the practice was unacceptable and students should do their own research. Buying work also gave an unfair advantage to those able to afford it, they said. UKEssay, the biggest company selling work to students, said fees range from £34 for the bare bones needed for a first degree essay to £40,000 for the outline of a PhD thesis delivered in five days.
NEWS - 19 Dec 07 - mother@work Christmas survey results reveal working mums under pressure to achieve work-life balance over Christmas
Our survey of 500 working mums reveals flexible working would make biggest difference to juggling family and work.
The mother@work Christmas survey, published today, highlights that 78% of working mums are feeling the strain of trying to balance their work and home lives in the run up to Christmas. The research, commissioned by Citrix Online, a division of Citrix Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS), also reveals that 79% of working mums believe flexible working options would help them successfully juggle family and career over the festive period. Over half (55%) of respondents have had to use up annual leave to look after their children over the school holidays.
When asked what would make the biggest difference to helping them maintain their work-life balance, 40% of working mums stated the ability to work from home, with a further 39% wanting more flexible working hours. Cheaper or more readily available childcare was sought by 14%, with 7% stating a more understanding employer would be of most help.
On an encouraging note, the survey suggests that employers are being sympathetic to the needs of working mums, with three out of four requests to work part time and work more flexible hours being granted. In addition, almost half of employers (48%) have accommodated requests from working mums to work from home.
Denise Tyler, editor of Mother@Work, a monthly webzine dedicated to working mothers, said: “Flexible working options can go a long way to helping mums cope with the stress of balancing work and home life. Parents with children under six have a legal right to request flexible work and it is extremely encouraging to see that so many requests for part time, flexi hours and home working are being accommodated by employers.”
“Achieving a balance between work and home life is becoming increasingly important for parents. By accommodating their requests for flexible working, employers can reap the benefits of a happy, motivated workforce, which will in turn positively effect productivity and loyalty,” said Bernardo de Albergaria, Vice President, Citrix Online. “Many of our customers are already offering Citrix® GoToMyPC® to their employees, to enable them to remotely access their PC from any location and keep in touch with the office over the Christmas period,” he added.
NEWS - 18 Dec 07 - UK managers fear rising cost of maternity and paternity leave more than credit crunch
A poll of 513 UK managers showed that while 39% think the loans crisis will damage their companies in 2008, 42% fear the effect of greater maternity and paternity leave. Maternity leave was extended to 52 weeks, with statutory pay for 39 weeks, for babies born on or after 1 April 2007. Fathers were allowed two weeks' paid paternity leave. Overall, the Chartered Management Institute found that managers believe 2008 will be tougher than 2007. Only 40% are confident about the year ahead, compared with 50% a year ago.
The rising cost of energy is the most-blamed factor, while half of all managers think their firms will be held back by a lack of management skills. However, only one in three plans to undertake training in the New Year. Jo Causon, director of marketing and corporate affairs for the Chartered Management Institute, says: "In the current climate, it is natural for employers to feel some degree of uncertainty. "However, the decline in organisations developing their managers is a great concern. If employers fail to invest in the skills needed for long-term success, the UK will find it difficult to compete on a global scale in the future."
LAW CHANGES PROMPT RISE IN TRIBUNAL CLAIMS
Employment tribunals are soaring as new figures show workers are prepared to tackle their bosses over possible abuses of the law. Tribunal claims have jumped according to figures from the Tribunals Service, which found that between April 2006 and March 2007 there were 132,577 cases - a rise of 15 per on the previous year.
The figures reflect recent legal changes in areas such as the minimum wage, holiday entitlement and age discrimination. The biggest increases came with equal pay claims, which rose by a massive 154.9 per cent to 44,013. And sex discrimination cases virtually doubled, from 14,250 claims in 2006 to 28,153 over the last year.
Opinion - 18 Dec 07 - The burden of obesity falls on parents' shoulders
I am, as they say, conflicted about obesity. You can say it's not your fault, but it is entirely your responsibility to do something about it. It is not a medical condition. You just have to lose weight. On the other hand, you often need help. And, at the moment, there is a generation of kids that the government and the professionals have abandoned. They probably got that fat because their families are ignorant or feckless about their weight, but that is precisely why they need the help. And there is nothing much out there - except if you count people such as Thandi Rudin. The kids that Rudin works with through her WELLactive programme have a body mass index (BMI) of as much as 50; some weigh 152kg (24st).
So how "fat" are these kids? BMI is the basic index of fatness, your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared. Below 18.5, you're underweight; over 26, overweight; and 31 upwards, you're obese. Mine is 27 - and, drat, Christmas is coming.
Talking to a couple of parents of obese kids was a curious experience. They are in denial; their kids have just got fat. "I have other kids and they eat the same," says one, "but they didn't put on weight. But cheese, crisps, biscuits are just not good for some children." Her daughter weighs 127kg (20st). As Rudin says rather tactfully: "The majority of them are not in a supportive enough environment to make any change happen."
NEWS - 14 Dec 07 - Working mums have more fun
Here’s something for parents to remember when they're struggling out of the house to take the kids to nursery, in what feels like the middle of the night, before heading to the office.
Mums who go back to work after childbirth are significantly happier than those who choose to stay at home, according to a new survey from the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
It seems that working mothers feel most content with their lots when they are working part-time rather than full-time, but they are happier across the board than those mums who forego paid employment to look after their children.
More at: www.managementtoday.co.uk
NEWS - 14 Dec 07 - Lone parents to seek work earlier
Peter Hain has confirmed plans that would require all lone parents on benefit to look for a job once their children reach age seven, from 2010. In a written statement the work and pensions secretary outlined changes which he says will reform benefits and bring the UK closer to full employment.
Currently single parents do not have to seek work to get benefits until their youngest child is 16. A charity criticised what it called the government's "strong arm tactics".
More at: news.bbc.co.uk
NEWS - 30 Nov 07 - So what do working women want? Flexibility.
A new survey finds that women are happiest when they can divide their time between the office and the home. More and more women are returning to work. This year, for the first time, 60pc of women in Ireland are in the workplace. A recent poll here found that what women want most is financial security. But does working actually make women happy?
A new UK survey found that the women who were happiest of all were those in part-time jobs. They were more content than women in full-time jobs, and than those who stayed at home.
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