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Pasfield Curran E-Bulletin
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Issue 3
The Latest News & Views from Pasfield Curran
Calling In Flexibility
First Choice, the leading international travel company recently engaged Pasfield Curran in the call centre of their Specialist Holiday Division.  The call centre was experiencing very high staff turnover of around 50%, leading to high operating costs and disruption to productivity and customer service. 

It was felt that the introduction of flexible working would not only increase staff retention but provide major benefits to their seasonal business. An annualised hours working scheme was developed to meet the business requirement for a  very high numbers of calls early in the year with the volume  tapering off as the year progressed. 

After giving the new ways of working some time to bed in, First Choice Specialist Division’s Financial Director, Rory Verner said, “After several months of running the scheme and having tweaked it to better suit the needs of people and business, our productivity and customer service has improved. Our staff retention has also started to increase. All in all it’s working very well. In October 94.6% of calls offered were answered in time, this is the highest level achieved in the history of the Specialist Division."

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Full Steam Ahead
The story of flexibility at Jersey Harbours continues. Readers will remember that a 6 week flexible cycle was introduced for Port Operations Agents in January of this year.  This provided the opportunity to convert from seasonal to permanent staff. The Port Operations Agents are now through their first summer under these new ways of working. 

Jersey Harbours feel that they have maintained the high levels of customer service in an effective and efficient way, providing a win win for the business, the operators and Harbours staff.  Previously time off in this peak season had just about been unimaginable. Now under a system more focused on having people at work only when there is work to do, the employees have enjoyed the opportunity for greater leisure time.  Also planned t raining initiatives have been delivered in a way not previously possible. This training has raised the professionalism of the section and the safety of the Port and its users

Captain Richard Daley (Assistant Harbourmaster/Port Operations) said “We are now working with a nearly full complement of permanent staff who are getting the feel of being able to take time off throughout the year. The system has coped well, we have people in the terminal when they are needed - much more resource focused than previously” 

As the business continues to change and greater efficiencies are delivered it is believed that the working system can be further tailored to meet the needs of customers, business and staff.

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Important Information on Maternity and Paternity Leave & Pay
The Government have previously stated their goal to extend maternity provisions from 39 weeks to 52 weeks and to extend paternity leave and pay by the end of this Parliament. This additional paternity entitlement would give employed fathers a right to take up to an additional 26 weeks off work with pay to care for their child in its first year, if the mother has returned to work and had not used her full entitlement to paid maternity leave.

It remains the Government’s goal to introduce these changes by the end of this Parliament. To give employers some clarity and further time to make their preparations the Government has decided that these changes will not be implemented in April 2009
HMRC has, up to now, been planning on the basis of implementation for babies due on or after April 2009 which is now adjusted to babies due on or after April 2010. They have said this should not be taken to imply any timing decisions have been taken. It is simply a pragmatic approach.

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In the news...

What day of the week is it?
A study by the Centre for Economic Performance has found that productivity in the workplace varied according to the day of the week. Tuesday accounted for the largest share of the work done (18.8%) and Friday the lowest (16.8%). The authors of the report argue that employers could benefit by reorganising working time.

Calling from home
Business - process outsourcing company Teletech UK is aiming to recruit 500 home – based staff across the UK to support its major clients. The company hopes the scheme will be attractive to staff who are unable to travel or have child care commitments.

Working mothers
The majority of mothers have great difficulty in finding flexible work that fully uses their skills and experience according to a survey by They found that 83% of respondents said it was hard to find flexible work that utilised their skills. More than half of the respondents felt that employers were not sympathetic to working mothers.

Flexibility to Manage cash
AXA, the financial services firm, has introduced a pilot scheme to give 400 staff one hour a month off to manage their money. The firm has even given online tools to help with budget planning, calculating savings and managing debt.  AXA will shortly be rolling the programme out to all 12,000 of its staff.

and finally...

Commute to Work Highest Ever
There are new demands for flexible working as a survey shows the number of commuters spending an hour or more travelling to work has increased dramatically.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "We work some of the longest hours in Europe, and on top of this have to endure the second longest daily commute in Europe - on average 54 minutes per day. This adds up to a very stressful working week for millions of workers across the UK, and employers could ease this strain for their workers by introducing flexible working."

This edition of the Pasfield Curran E-Bulletin was first published in November 2007.

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