Time-out perk for new fathers

EMPLOYMENT
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The Independent Online
Male workers are increasingly being given time off following the birth of their child, with some firms offering two weeks paternity leave, according to a new report on employee benefits.

The average length of paternity leave is five days, according to a survey of 141 firms by the Reward Group, which researches pay and benefits. Two out of five firms surveyed offered time off to male workers, while a number of others were considering introducing the benefit.

One in 10 firms said they operated "family-friendly" policies, ranging from flexible working hours and job-sharing to school term-time working and career breaks.

Only 4 per cent of firms had workplace nurseries or creche facilities, which can cost workers up to pounds 500 a place. Most of those polled gave company cars to senior managers, with the Ford Mondeo the most popular model.

Top secretaries have become technological experts, often training other staff to use computers and help the boss understand the new executive laptop, a report by the recruitment firm Reed Employment Services showed.

Senior PAs are working hard to keep up with the pace of technology, learning or upgrading at least three skills a year, a survey found. A poll of more than 200 senior secretaries showed that an increasing amount of their time was spent on advanced computer work. It also found that they often manage entire databases and other IT (information technology) projects and are involved in buying new computer systems.

Chief executive James Reed said: "Modern secretaries are at the cutting edge of technological change and work hard to update their own skills to keep on top of the fast pace of IT development."

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