This month’s lettersNot all gain from strict hours controlJanice Gibson (Letters, January) suggests that annualised hours address the”family-unfriendly” stress-inducing long-hours culture in the UK. ButI would like to sound a note of caution. For some employees, including some at high risk of stress, annualised hoursare a perfect solution. People who set their own workloads and work at theirown pace (usually super-fast) would benefit enormously from a system thatguaranteed them good wages for a healthy annual workload. Sadly, many people – including most of those referred to in Janice’s letter– do not have jobs like that. The flexibility that annualised hours bring toemployers is not always as flexible for their employees. They can mean a return to seasonal employment – punishing schedules overpublic holidays such as Christmas and Easter when they would prefer to be withtheir families – or in some cases when they have to provide their own childcarebecause the schools are closed – followed by enforced idleness just when thekids are back at school. If employees who already have little control over the content of their jobhave their hours determined by managers and the vagaries of the productioncycle, the result could be more stress, not less. The main problem of working time in Britain is not the way it is organised,nor is it the directive which contains lots of opportunities for flexibility.The problem is that people have to work too long, and unacceptably longannualised hours would be no solution at all. The answer is simple. Let your employees go home more often, and cut thehours they need to work to make a living. Owen TudorSenior policy officer, TUC LettersOn 1 Feb 2000 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.