Legislation and regulation
September 23, 2016
Over a third (36 percent) of managers are unaware of anything their organisation does to attract, retain and engage older employees despite two-thirds (66 percent) believing the average age of retirement will increase in the next five to ten years. This is according to a new white paper from AXA PPP healthcare – Supporting fuller working lives – How organisations can embrace older employees and those with caring responsibilities. It warns that with the proportion of people aged 50 to 64 and aged 65+ in employment on the up (from 55 percent to 70 percent and from 5 percent to 10 percent, respectively, since 1984) and an estimate by Carers UK that nearly two-thirds of people are likely to end up caring for someone at some point in their lives. Yet the research claims that many businesses are not sufficiently adjusted to the changing nature of the workforce and not tuned in enough to helping workers who are often sandwiched between caring for older relatives and their offspring.
September 22, 2016
It seems the news earlier this year that a woman from an FM company based at PwC had been sent home for not wearing heels is sadly not an isolated incident, as employers regularly tell women to put on more makeup, wear high heels and short skirts. The research by solicitors Slater and Gordon claims large numbers of women feel their employer has unfairly criticised their appearance in the workplace, with nearly one in five (19 percent) saying they felt more attention was paid to their appearance by their bosses than to their male peers. Shockingly, nearly one in 10 women (seven percent) have been told by bosses they preferred them to wear high heels whilst in the office or with clients, because it made them “more appealing”. Many women revealed they had been told to dress more provocatively and to be “sexier” – with almost 90 percent (86 percent) of those pressured to dress “sexier” and feeling their career might suffer if they didn’t comply.
September 20, 2016
Bosses are divided on whether staff morale will suffer following Brexit, with 48 percent of respondents to a recent survey believing it will and 51 percent expecting no change, despite 74 percent of organisations believing employees are at least ‘somewhat concerned’ by the impact of the vote. Though the majority of companies (82 percent) believe it is their duty to keep employees informed of the potential impact of Brexit on their organisations, few (11 percent) have started communicating openly. The report by Mercer, Planning for Brexit – Talent Implications, also suggests the while the true impact of potential changes to immigration policy remains unknown so far, talent availability is being seen as a top long-term challenge. Over half (58 percent) of companies think their workforce plans will change in the longer term and the majority (66 percent) anticipate a stronger focus on developing and promoting talent from within to compensate for a possible lack of access to wider talent pools.
September 15, 2016
Over two thirds of employees (68.3 percent) say that they feel guilty for taking sick days despite the fact that they’re vastly less productive when they do show up ill, a new survey suggests. Yet more than two thirds (67.5 percent) still go into work when they are unwell, and over half (54.6 percent) report that their employer does not send them home when they’ve felt ill at work. According to the research from CV-Library, the average employee (66.4 percent) only takes between one to two sick days a year; and of those that do take time off, over a third (34.2 percent) of employees say their managers put pressure on them to return to work early and a further 44.7 percent said their employer questions their sickness when they are ill. Worse still, it seems that over half (52.9 percent) of managers still contact their employees whilst they are off sick, adding extra pressure and not giving staff time, and space, to relax and recover.
September 14, 2016
A new alliance between leading businesses and the Equality and Human Rights Commission is being launched today to combat the level of pregnancy and maternity discrimination that affects around 390,000 pregnant women and new mothers each year. A coalition of businesses in the initiative ‘Working Forward – supporting pregnancy and maternity rights’, aims to inspire other organisations to follow their example by working to eradicate discrimination from their businesses and show employers how to attract, develop and retain women at work. The launch follows the EHRC’s recent landmark research, carried out in conjunction with the former Department from Business, Innovation and Skills which highlighted that while the majority of employers say they are firm supporters of female staff during and after pregnancy and find it easy to comply with the law, three in four (77 percent) mothers say they have had a negative or possibly discriminatory experience at work.
September 8, 2016
The transition from team member to manager can be a challenge. Well trained front line managers are crucial for business performance but need the right tools to help them do their jobs says workplace experts Acas, which is calling on small businesses and larger companies to use its new guidance to ensure that staff are equipped to manage and care for their teams. The new guide highlights leadership, people management and strong organisational skills as three key areas for team leaders. It advises the managers should know how to build trust and respect with their teams, listen to their concerns and ideas. They should also learn how to manage tricky situations with people; for whether it’s staff members having family problems, two colleagues accusing each other of bullying, or jealousy in a team over nominations for training and bonuses. A good manager should also be effective at planning team work, rotas, budgets, and balancing their own time.
September 6, 2016
Blink and you’ll miss some news item on Brexit, so here’s just some of the stuff we’ve picked up on the last few days. It’s hard to imagine that any of these stories might be woven into some sort of coherent narrative, especially when the Prime Minister has yet to announce any details or timescales for the UK’s mooted withdrawal from the EU, if not the Single Market. Some of the ifs and buts are laid out in this excellent blog, but the reality is that nobody really knows what will happen and, as the writer suggests, the UK may not have the expertise to deliver a coherent withdrawal anyway. In the meantime, there appears to be some sense that business is returning to normal. The key CIPS/Markit survey of business confidence has bounced back both quickly and strongly and there are other signs that not all is doom and gloom. That said, there are clear signs that overseas partners are spooked amid the uncertainty even though the still low Sterling exchange rate continues to make the UK attractive.
August 24, 2016
Personal injury lawyers may have helped fuel the UK’s overzealous health and safety culture, but the truth is that their services are often called for to challenge negligent employers. Now a new piece of research by Hayward Baker claims that many employees are not only stuck in unsafe workplaces but with unsanitary working conditions, which is putting their health at risk. The research into over a thousand workers on the conditions of Britain’s offices, shops, factories, warehouses and building sites found that 69 percent believe their workplace to be a health hazard. The study revealed 35 percent of working Brits have picked up an illness from their place of work – with 18 percent claiming to have been struck down with food poisoning or caught a stomach bug because of dirty conditions. A further 39 percent have suffered an injury at work – with two in ten (20 percent) having been to hospital due to a work-related illness or injury.
August 11, 2016
A series of reports published in the past few days highlight the challenges faced by Britain’s disabled workers. The studies claim separately that disabled workers are keen to work but are less likely to be in employment and may be hiding disabilities from employers, are paid less when they are in work and that many employers do not feel they are well equipped to deal with the needs of disabled staff. The first study from Reed in Partnership and Disability Rights UK found that one in ten employers do not feel able to support a disabled employee. Meanwhile research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that employees who experience mental ill-health earn up to 42 per cent less than colleagues. A third report from Citizen’s Advice found that 40 percent of disabled people would like to work but can’t find a job. And finally a report from RIDI claims that many people applying for jobs may be hiding their disability from employers.
August 10, 2016
New research questions how much demand exists in the UK for fathers to take shared parental leave. The first available figures reveals a low take-up of new rights to paid leave, as just 3,000 new parents took advantage of the system in the first three months of 2016 – one year on from its introduction. By contrast, approximately 52,000 fathers and 155,000 mothers took paternity and maternity leave in an equivalent time period in 2013/14. The figures were published as a result of a freedom of information request from law firm EMW who suggest that this shows that the new rules are being significantly under-utilised and policymakers need to give more consideration to what benefits future changes to employment law will actually deliver versus the impact on small businesses which have to implement them. The new Shared Parental Leave system allows parents to share paid time off between them, in place of (and at the same rate as) Statutory Maternity Pay.
August 1, 2016
Around one in five employees in the UK are feeling pessimistic about the security of their current job because of the Brexit vote to leave the EU, a new survey by the CIPD claims. Answering a range of questions, including how they felt about the future as a result of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, around 44 percent of the 1,000 working adults who took part felt pessimistic about the future, with this being particularly high amongst public sector workers (61 percent), voluntary sector workers (58 percent) and people aged 25-34 (63 percent). 22 percent said they felt their job was less secure now. The CIPD’s survey also highlighted incidents of harassment and bullying in the workplace relating to the Brexit decision, with more than one in ten employees saying that they have experienced, witnessed or heard of incidents of harassment or bullying of a political nature and just under one in ten (7 percent) referenced incidents of a racist nature (7 percent).
July 29, 2016
Employers that focus only on keeping a generation of younger workers happy are ignoring the fact that an increasing proportion of the UK working population is getting older. The latest Government figures reveal that there are now more people aged 50 to 74 in work than ever before. According to Labour Force Survey statistics there are now 9.4 million people in work aged 50 to 74, with 3.7 million more in this age bracket than there were 20 years ago. The figures also show the unemployment rate for people aged over 50 has dropped to 3.3 percent, the lowest level since 2009, and there are over 1.1 million people working beyond age 65. Legislation to end the retirement age and allow more flexible contracts, have, argues the Government contributed to a more positive attitude towards older workers. However, according to the Centre for Ageing Better, many over 50s are still being forced out of work or offered fewer working hours than they’d requested.