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Home > News > April 2007 > 12 April 2007

e-Learning course focuses on Work and Families Act

Online training provider, learndirect business, has launched a free 30-minute course that aims to give managers a head start with the Work and Families Act which came into force last week.

learndirect business says the course covers changes brought in by the Act, including longer maternity and adoption leave, potentially longer paternity and carer leave, and up to 10 optional KIT (Keeping In Touch) working days to keep new mothers connected with the workplace.

Michelle Lofthouse, director of business development at learndirect business, said: "While the Work and Families Act might be viewed as another burden, when weighed against the potential cost of loss of staff and productivity, it also offers advantages.

"Although women make up nearly 50% of the workforce, old fashioned employers are costing the economy up to £23 billion by failing to recognise that well-trained, experienced and educated women can still make a major contribution to the workforce even if they don't want to work five full days a week. This statistic really demonstrates the need for businesses to adapt to the needs of the changing workforce.

"At the same time businesses are reporting more difficulties recruiting skilled employees than they did a few years ago. This growing skills gap is now triggering a sea change in employers' attitudes to work life balance. Companies are recognising that offering employees opportunities to work flexibly can have enormous benefits for productivity and staff retention. Businesses strive to be an employer of choice and the legislation encourages different ways of thinking about how to do this."

Claire Morley Jones, founder and MD of HR consultancy HR180, said: "Businesses that allow employees to combine work and family life and create an environment where they can excel in both have a great opportunity to differentiate themselves from their less enlightened competitors. I urge business managers to consider the upside of the legislation, rather than focusing too much on the challenges."

Michelle Lofthouse added: "Getting to grips with more new legislation can be a minefield for SMEs, yet the need for business owners to be informed and prepared for important new laws affecting their businesses has never been greater. Just understanding them can be a headache, so the best starting point is to simplify legislation so that busy managers can comply quickly and with minimum disruption to their business."

The Work and Families eCourse can be accessed by registering at

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