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DTI commits £5m to addressing the work-life dilemma

The Department of Trade and Industry is spending £5m to address what it calls the work-life balance problem.

The cash will help companies to implement policies that deal with long hours, rigid shift patterns and absenteeism, which the DTI says hit productivity.

The Work-Life Balance Challenge Fund provides free consultancy support worth up to £55,000, allowing organisations to implement imaginative policies and practices in their workplace to boost performance.

The launch comes as Britannic Group announces the resignation of group chief executive Danny O&#39Neil (see above) after just seven weeks in the job. O&#39Neil, aged 41, resigned from his £300,000 a year job to spend more time with his family, saying he wanted a change in the balance of his work and personal life.

The fund will allocate cash to businesses that can benefit from the consultants&#39 assistance and show a real commitment to improving the work-life balance. Employment relations minister Alan Johnson says: “We want more organisations to aim for the top of the league when it comes to helping staff balance their work and home life.”

Clifton Associates of Bristol principal associate June Williams says: “I would rather that my taxes were spent on something else. Pressure can have an impact on how people work and employers should address that but initiatives like this are not the role of the Government.”

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