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University employees to benefit from work-life balance initiative

Posted on 12 June 2002

The University of York is examining the work-life balance for employees as part of the Department of Trade and Industry's Work-Life Balance Challenge.

This is an initiative which helps companies promote innovative working practices to help workers enjoy a better balance between work and home life, and also improve business performance. The funds that the University has won will enable it to get the support of experienced consultants.The University has nearly 3,000 staff working in jobs as varied as chefs, electricians, librarians, secretaries, lecturers, and gardeners.

This initiative is part of a wider human resources strategy at the University aimed at rewarding and developing staff. This includes training and development opportunities for all categories of staff, including managerial staff; support for staff on short-term contracts, and training for staff in complying with disability access regulations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Special Educational Needs Disability Act 2001.

The University already has a number of schemes in place to help employees in this way, including flexi-time, job-sharing and term-time working for some. In the next twelve months it is hoped that with support from consultants there will be increased participation in these schemes, as well as the piloting of further flexible working initiatives.

It is hoped that the work-life balance initiative will benefit employees in improving staff morale and allowing flexible working arrangements, and will benefit the institution in improving staff retention and reducing absenteeism.

Personnel Manager, Julie Meadowcroft, who is leading the project said, "We are looking forward to working with the consultants and addressing key work-life issues affecting the University and its employees. We are looking at a culture change which will increase diversity and equality of opportunity for staff".

Notes to editors:

  • The University currently employs around 2,700 members of staff:
    • Academic Staff 542
    • Administrative, Library and Computing 206
    • Manual Staff 574
    • Other Related Staff 198
    • Research Staff 485
    • Secretarial, Clerical and Related Staff 527
    • Technical Staff 195
  • The Challenge Fund provides free consultancy advice for private, public and voluntary employers who want to introduce innovative working practices which benefit their business and improve their employees' work-life balance. 166 companies have already received support through the fund. All projects measure financial savings, reductions in staff absenteeism, staff retention levels and the take-up of work-life balance options by staff.
  • This round of the Challenge Fund produced 419 applications in total. 223 entries were successful bringing the total number of companies to benefit from the Challenge Fund to 399. The latest round of winners will officially start their projects in September this year.
  • The Government's plans for a Work-Life Balance Challenge Fund were announced in the discussion document Changing Patterns in a Changing World in March 2000.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153