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BP cuts back on flexible working

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BP is to axe its 'nine-day fortnight' for thousands of staff, after reviewing its business practices.

Some parts of the company, including its Sunbury branch, had adopted a flexible-working policy over the past 10 years whereby staff who had completed all the tasks assigned to them, could take one Friday off every two weeks.

A spokesman from BP said: "Only some parts of the organisation had this system in place. It was never in employees' terms and conditions and was never a formal employee benefit."

Nonetheless the then Department of Trade and Industry named BP as one of 50 model employers in 2003 partly because of its flexible working arrangements.

The BP spokesman said: "This change will not be detrimental to our work-life balance schemes. It is just one part of a wide range of initiatives we offer. We are still attracting new recruits in the parts of the business that didn't offer a nine-day fortnight so we must be offering something good."

The news has prompted Julie Quinn, employment partner at law firm Nabarro, to suggest that the credit crunch could have an impact on flexible working.

"Notions of family-friendly policies might not have the same prominence [as bonuses]. Obviously [family-friendly policies] are still high on the Government's agenda but I suspect the reality is that we see a sharper focus on hard, core benefits - salary and job security - and not the luxurious items like atypical working," she said.