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A large number of firms are turning to shorter hours in an attempt to avoid layoffs. According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics 927,000 individuals are working less than 30 hours a week, a rise of 38 per cent on last year. The figures include new employees who have been hired on a part-time basis and existing staff who have been offered reduced hours.
Corin Taylor, Head of Policy at the Institute of Directors (IOD) said that â€œthis recession has been marked by employers being very flexible. They are very keen to hold on to good people, even if that means freezing or cutting pay. That has to be a good thing but does suggest that we are in a far more severe employment downturn than the headline jobless figures suggest.â€VbCrLf
Benjamin Williamson of the Centre for Economics and Business Research said â€œemployers have learned from previous recessions not to get rid of people with adequate skills because otherwise they will be left short when the recovery comes.â€VbCrLf
However, reduced working hours have had a serious impact on peopleâ€™s personal budgets. Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said that â€œthese people wonâ€™t be showing up in the spiralling unemployment figures but the economic slowdown and their subsequent move into part-time work will have forced many of these families to rein in their spending dramatically.â€VbCrLf