ILO says flexible timings better for work-life balance.

ISLAMABAD -- A new report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has suggested that reduced working hours and more flexible working time arrangements, such as those used during the Covid-19 crisis, can benefit economies, enterprises and workers.

It would also lay the ground for a better and more healthy work-life balance, says the report, 'Working Time and Work-Life Balance Around the World', released on Friday.

Working-time laws and regulations on maximum daily hours of work and statutory rest periods are achievements that contribute to the long-term health and well-being of a society and must not be put at risk, the report recommends.

It says countries should make use of the experiences they developed with working-time reduction and flexibility during the Covid-19 crisis. Inclusive short-time work schemes with the highest possible allowances not only maintain employment but also sustain purchasing power and create the possibility of cushioning the effects of economic crisis.

The report analyses different working-time arrangements and their effects on work-life balance, including shift work, on-call work, compressed hours and hours-averaging schemes. It cautions that the benefits of some of these flexible arrangements, such as better family life, may be accompanied by costs including greater gender imbalances and health risks.

The report, which is the first to focus on work-life balance, found that a substantial portion of the global workforce is working either long or short hours when compared to a standard eight-hour day/40-hour working week.

More than one-third of all workers are regularly...

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