Legislation and regulation
December 8, 2016
We’re entering the office party season now so it’s time for the usual flurry of Christmas related research. We kick off the season with this from XpertHR which claims that the majority of companies it has polled will host company-wide parties (50.8 percent) or departmental Christmas lunches (47.2 percent), but there will be fewer Christmas gifts, bonuses awarded or additional time off for employees this year. Employers plan to spend an average of £93.33 and a median of £50 per employee on their Christmas celebrations – a figure which hasn’t changed significantly since the last time XpertHR conducted this survey in 2012/13, when the median spend was £42.82. However, fewer than one in five organisations (17.9 percent) will be offering employee gifts this year compared to 21.1 percent in 2012/2013 and just 18 employers will award Christmas bonuses, with no increases planned compared with last year.
December 7, 2016
On 24 June 2016 Britain voted for Brexit. The shock (and narrow) victory caused country-wide concern among the 48 percent of the voting public that favoured remain – apprehension seemingly justified by the immediate weakening of the pound, Cameron’s resignation and the start of ongoing political in-fighting. Speculation over job losses and potential hiring freezes added to a general sense of uncertainty, leaving some UK workers fearing their job security. Since then however, recruitment experts have somewhat softened their predictions for the UK job market as recent reports of month-on-month vacancy growth and record high employment rates have served to inspire confidence. Five months on, how has job applicant sentiment changed in the UK since the EU referendum vote? And what does this mean for businesses hiring in post-Brexit vote Britain? As part of our ongoing tracking of candidate confidence levels in the job market and their career prospects we analysed the responses of almost 28,000 job applicants across the UK and Republic of Ireland – from all ages, experiences and sector disciplines – to gauge how perspectives might have changed pre- and post-Brexit.
December 6, 2016
Record number of major companies and law firms are advancing vital policies and practices to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workers around the world. This is according to the 2017 Corporate Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the US’ largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. This year, a record-breaking 517 businesses earned the CEI’s top score of 100, up from 407 last year. That’s a single-year increase of more than 25 percent — the largest jump in the 15-year history of the United State’s premiere benchmarking tool for LGBT workplace equality. Leadership demonstrated by these businesses, reflect more than a decade of work inside these companies to expand LGBT, and particularly transgender, workplace equality. The Corporate Equality Index (CEI), launched in 2002 to assess LGBT-inclusive policies and practices at Fortune 500 companies, also highlights how corporate leaders are increasingly stepping up to play a leading role in opposing anti-equality legislation. Through their actions, taken as LGBTQ workers and customers have been facing a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills in state legislatures across the US, business leaders are building on their longstanding commitment to expanding workplace equality for LGBTQ people.
December 5, 2016
In this week’s Newsletter; Mark Eltringham dissects the current obsession with engagement and motivation; and from the Winter 2016 issue of Work&Place which is now available to view online; discusses the future of work and place in the 21st century. We discover why creativity in the workplace is a prime engagement tool; that 85 percent of employers believe workplace automation will create more jobs than it will replace; however, in the now, technology issues cause the most lost time for SMEs. One in three lawyers would not feel comfortable even beginning the conversation about flexible working with their employer; a fifth of employees are distressed by political discussions in the workplace and employers urged to develop strategies to help retain older workers. Download our new Briefing, produced in partnership with Boss Design on the link between culture and workplace strategy and design; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
November 29, 2016
Flexible working may be gaining ground across the professions but it remains so rare in the legal industry that more than one in three (35 percent) lawyers say they would not feel comfortable even beginning the conversation about flexible working with their employer. The reason for this, suggests new research from My Family Care and recruiters Hydrogen, is down to a rigid culture which encourages working anti-social hours; as almost a third (29 percent) of the 140 of lawyers asked, saying that the majority of their colleagues think that people who work flexibly are simply “having an easy life.” Yet despite this, over two thirds (67 percent) would rather choose flexible working over a 5 percent salary increase. The research also found a large gender divide when it comes to flexible working. While significantly more female lawyers work part time (34 percent of women compared with 10 percent of men), female lawyers say they work considerably more than their contracted hours: 35 percent compared to just 28 percent of males.
November 24, 2016
Changes in business rates announced in yesterday’s Autumn Statement are likely to hit hardest the areas in the Capital such as Shoreditch and Fitzrovia where innovative tech companies are located, commented Jon Neale, head of UK Research, JLL. “The impact will no doubt undermine government plans to boost tech investment under its ‘Industrial Strategy’ announced earlier this week,” he said. “Meanwhile, office costs are high in London and post Brexit we need to minimise the risk that companies, will see cheaper continental cities such as Berlin as better bet place to set up shop.” He did add however that the promised “£1.3bn to improve roads and ease congestion is welcome and is likely to unlock development sites and promote economic development in many parts of the country. If the UK is to really address the challenges and opportunities of Brexit, investment in infrastructure needs to be more ambitious as well as more focused on an increasingly digital, hi-tech future. Green and smart city technology, new tram and underground networks and truly high-speed broadband would help provide precisely the platform UK business needs.”
November 14, 2016
The implications of Brexit are raising concerns over a reduction in employers’ intentions to invest in their staff and its effects on access to migrant labour. As a result, according to the latest quarterly CIPD/Adecco Group Labour Market Outlook, while employment growth looks set to continue in the UK, there are signs that this is beginning to slow and that real wages are likely to fall during 2017 for many employees. The data shows that the net employment balance, while remaining in positive territory at +22, based on the difference between the share of employers expanding their workforce and the share of employers reducing their workforce, has shown a slight negative decline from the previous quarter’s figure of +27. Although 42 percent of employers believe that future restrictions on EU labour could damage their UK operations, just 15 percent have started to prepare for this eventuality; which is probably why the vast majority are against a ‘hard Brexit’.
November 9, 2016
The decision by the UK electorate to leave the European Union has created widespread uncertainty in almost all areas of law, with employment law particularly affected. A large amount of present UK employment law has its base in EU law, which means a withdrawal from the EU could result in UK employment rights no longer being guaranteed by the EU. This leaves both employees and employers in a state of flux and uncertainty, and the approach that has thus far been taken by the government appears to have been driven, to a very large degree, by a desire to create a sense of continuity. Both the Prime Minister Theresa May and Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, have repeatedly sought to offer reassurances that the rights of workers will remain largely unchanged post-Brexit. Given the political situation, however, it is entirely possible that this may end up being simple rhetoric rather than a deliverable result.
November 9, 2016
Ethnic minority representation in the Boardrooms across the FTSE 100 and 250 is disproportionately low and does not reflect the ethnic diversity of either the UK or the stakeholders they seek to engage and represent; a new industry-led review has revealed. Given the fact that the UK will be the most diverse country in Western Europe by 2051, with over 30 percent of the population expected to be comprised of people from ethnic minority or migrant backgrounds, each FTSE 100 Board should have at least one director of colour by 2021, and each FTSE 250 Board by 2024. These are the main recommendations of the Parker Review report, Beyond One by ‘21 which found that out of 1,087 director positions in the FTSE 100, only 8 percent of positions are held by directors of colour, of which 1.5 percent are UK citizens, despite the fact that 14 percent of the total UK population is from a non-white ethnic group (up from 2 percent in 1971).
October 27, 2016
8Women across the globe earn on average just over half of what men earn despite, on average, working longer hours when taking paid and unpaid work into account. The world is facing an acute misuse of talent by not acting faster to tackle this gender inequality, which could put economic growth at risk and deprive economies of the opportunity to develop, warns the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016, which is published today. The latest edition of the annual benchmarking exercise that measures progress towards parity between men and women in four areas: Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, Economic Opportunity and Political Empowerment finds that progress towards parity in the key economic pillar has slowed dramatically with the gap – which stands at 59 percent – now larger than at any point since 2008. Aside from salary, another persistent challenge is stagnant labour force participation, with the global average for women standing at 54 percent, compared to 81 percent for men. The UK is ranked 20th overall in the global index and of those countries in Western Europe, the UK falls in the bottom half of the table. In respect of economic participation and opportunity, the UK is ranked 53.
October 26, 2016
A gap is emerging between UK businesses regarding the impact of Brexit, with large businesses significantly more optimistic about the future than their small business counterparts, joint research by NGA Human Resources (NGA HR) and its SMB division, Moorepay suggests. Six in ten (59 percent) respondents working for large businesses expect Brexit to have a positive impact on their business, but only 35 percent of SMBs share this view. In fact, a quarter of (25 percent) SMB employees in the UK actually believe their situation will worsen after the UK has left the European Union. Looking ahead, the majority (79 percent) of larger UK businesses are ready to address the challenges and exploit the opportunities resulting from Brexit, whereas just over half of small businesses (56 percent) feel the same. Asked about their wish list for a post-Brexit economy, all UK businesses agree that access to the single market is the biggest advantage of the EU membership and one that both large businesses (64 percent) and SMBs (54 percent) would like to retain. Additionally, opening up trade to new countries and markets is seen as the main advantage of Brexit for both large (70 percent) and smaller businesses (54 percent), followed by freedom from EU laws and regulations (both 48 percent).
October 4, 2016
Recent research by the Commons Women and Equalities Committee suggests that around 54,000 expectant and new mothers have no choice but to leave work due to pregnancy discrimination or concerns over the safety of their children; and shockingly, this figure has doubled in the last decade alone. Other research carried out by the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills shows that despite 77 percent of working mothers reporting potentially discriminatory or negative experiences, only 28 percent raised the issue with their employer, and less than 1 percent pursued a claim through the tribunal system. As a mother of two young children, this is a topic very close to my heart. I have worked in HR for over 18 years now, and advised on all manner of employee relations issues and know from personal experience that being pregnant and suffering discrimination or redundancy is not at all unusual.