Ten employment law changes to look out for in the rest of 2019

Ten employment law changes to look out for in the rest of 2019

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A row of legal booksThis year is set to be a busy year for HR and employment law. From post-Brexit immigration rule changes and gender pay gap reporting, to age discrimination at work, employers are faced with amended employment laws and new deadlines for their organisation to meet. These are ten important areas of the law that HR professionals and business owners need to be aware of. More →

RICS’ new commercial property service charge rules come into effect today

RICS’ new commercial property service charge rules come into effect today

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RICS' new commercial property service charge rules come into effect todayNew service charge rules which aim to ensure there are no hidden costs and clarity around disputes, come in to force today (1 April 2019) and are mandatory for RICS professionals. ‘Service charges in commercial property’ has been developed with industry leaders, including major property organisations and professional bodies to secure transparent, upfront and fair costs for businesses as part of the maintenance and upkeep of their building. Amongst the rules, any charges incurred by the tenant must be explained fully at the outset and in accordance with the terms of the occupational lease, whilst any upkeep costs not specifically mentioned or explained in a lease must be made irrecoverable from the tenant.

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On International Woman’s Day – why advancing women is still not a business priority

On International Woman’s Day – why advancing women is still not a business priority

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It has probably not escaped your notice that today is International Woman’s Day, which for Workplace Insight means a plethora of studies on the topic of women/jobs/salaries and ways women might work differently to men. We’ve decided not to waste anyone’s time and ignored most of them (particularly the patronizing ones on how ladies are so intuitive) but managed to find a few kernels of information. First, the good news that women have doubled their share of top jobs at technology companies, pulling in higher salaries than men last year, according to executive search firm Odgers Berndtson. More →

Businesses pledge to work towards mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting

Businesses pledge to work towards mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting

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Businesses pledge to work towards mandatory ethnicity pay gap reportingThe government is being encouraged to implement mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting when it announces the outcome of its ‘Ethnicity pay reporting’ consultation, which closed in January. Pre-empting that, fifteen companies have signed a commitment today to work towards mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting. Signatories include the Bank of England, Deloitte, KPMG, WPP, Santander and EY. The commitment, driven by membership organisation INvolve, aims to get more businesses voluntarily reporting on their ethnicity pay gap. In 2018 The Resolution Foundation estimated the ethnicity pay gap at £3.2bn. A report from INvolve also showed that white people earn on average between £67 and £209 more per week compared to similarly qualified individuals of a different ethnic background, and that the most ethnically diverse workplaces are 35 percentage points more likely to financially outperform industry averages. 

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Managers blame cost of adjustments for reluctance to hire disabled workers

Managers blame cost of adjustments for reluctance to hire disabled workers

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Managers blame cost of reasonable adjustments for not hiring disabled workers

Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of UK employers admit they would be less likely to hire someone with a disability, new data from disability charity Leonard Cheshire shows, and over two thirds (66 percent) of managers cite the cost of workplace adjustments as the barrier to employing a disabled person, up from 60 percent in 2017. Seventeen percent of disabled candidates that had applied for a job in the past five years said the employer withdrew the job offer as a result of their disability. Attitudinal barriers continually featured in the latest research. Of the employers across the UK that said they were less likely to employ someone because they were disabled, 60 percent were concerned that a disabled person wouldn’t be able to do the job. Of the disabled people in the UK who applied for a job in the last five years, 30 percent said they felt like the employer had not taken them seriously as a candidate.

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SMEs intend to increase their headcount by over a fifth this year

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SMEs intend to grow their headcount by over a fifth this year

Although official figures from the ONS show a decline in consumer spending throughout much of 2018, optimism amongst small businesses remains high, with UK SMEs hoping to grow their headcount by an average of 21 percent over the next 12 months. The new research from Opus Energy claims that half (51 percent) intend to grow their business in terms of people, with some even predicting they’ll increase their workforce by 50 percent. IT (39 percent), health (33 percent) and financial services (28 percent) were the sectors expecting the most growth. Even in the worst affected sectors, growth was still predicted. Half (50 percent) of retailers still expected to grow in 2019, at an average of 19 percent. 65 percent of food and beverage producers predicted an average headcount increase of 18 percent and 69 percent of manufacturers expected to grow at an average of 14 percent; despite facing the uncertainty of Brexit and the “death of the high street”.

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Gendered label of maternity leave may contribute to parental earnings gap

Gendered label of maternity leave may contribute to parental earnings gap

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Gendered title of maternity leave contributes to male & female pay gapIt’s been argued that one of the main drivers behind the gender pay gap and inequality in the workplace is when it comes to having children. Now new research from Money Guru has revealed that 70 percent of UK employers believe that women should declare their pregnancy during the recruitment process with one in seven (14 percent) of employers admitting to being reluctant to hire someone who may go on to have children. Studies show that 39 percent of young mothers have been illegally asked in job interviews about how being a mother would affect their ability to work.

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Rise in number of employers that prioritise reduction of gender pay gap

Rise in number of employers that prioritise reduction of gender pay gap

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Rise in number of employers prioritising closing the Gender Pay Gap

New research commissioned by the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has found that more companies are prioritising reducing their gender pay gap since the legislation was introduced in 2017. The research found that 69 percent of employers now view closing the gender pay gap as a high or medium priority, an increase of 8 percent on last year. With 10,000 companies reporting their pay gaps last year, the new research also showed that 67 percent of companies are having discussions at board-level to find ways of closing the gap. The GEO published the results as it announced two new pieces of guidance, providing step by step advice for employers which helps them to identify potential causes of the gender pay gap in their organisation and develop an effective action plan to tackle it.

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MPs back plan to increase gender diversity in business

MPs back plan to increase gender diversity in business

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MPs back new measure to increase gender diversity in business

A majority of MPs have backed a recommendation to increase gender diversity in business by extending the “Women in Finance Charter” to cover all businesses in the UK. The recommendation comes from the professional accountancy body AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians). The Charter asks financial services firms to commit to implement four key industry actions; to have a named senior executive responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion; set internal targets for gender diversity in senior management positions; publish progress annually and ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity. More →

Mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gap could be ‘counterproductive’ if not done right

Mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gap could be ‘counterproductive’ if not done right

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Reporting ethnicity pay levels could be ‘counterproductive’ if not done right

There is a ‘significant risk’ that the reporting ethnicity pay levels could be ‘counterproductive’ unless key differences between it and gender pay are recognised, said the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) in its response to the UK Government’s consultation on ethnicity pay reporting. Although the IES supports the government’s proposals to introduce mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gap information, it suggests that cultural and practical barriers to collecting and reporting ethnicity data are greater than for gender pay. More time and greater government support are therefore needed to prepare for these changes. The consultation response voices specific concerns that measures to increase the recruitment of under-represented groups, for example through apprenticeships or paid internships, could serve to widen pay gaps initially. This could inadvertently discourage employers from taking positive action to improve their ethnic diversity. Reporting arrangements therefore need to also take account of changes in the levels of employment participation for different ethnic minority groups, as well as their pay.

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Flexible working mothers more likely to work the most unpaid hours

Flexible working mothers more likely to work the most unpaid hours

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Flexible working mothers more likely to do most unpaid hoursFlexible working is supposed to be a boon to working parents, but it seems it’s not without its disadvantages, as a new academic study has found that part-time working mothers who have the ability to control their own schedule often end up working an increased amount of unpaid overtime.  The research from the University of Kent found that for those who gained schedule control over their work there was an increase in the amount of unpaid overtime worked, as on average in the UK men work an extra 2.2 hours a week in unpaid overtime while for women it is about 1.9 hours.

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More than half of UK ethnic minority citizens believe Brexit will stifle their career

More than half of UK ethnic minority citizens believe Brexit will stifle their career

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More than half of UK ethnic minority citizens believe Brexit will stifle their careers

Over half (52 percent) of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnics (BAME) believe that Brexit will negatively impact their career progression compared to only 16 percent of non-BAME. This is according to a new survey commissioned by the Equality Group, an organisation that helps companies attract, retain and develop diverse talent that focuses on diversity and equality within business. Following the referendum in 2016 and the UK’s consequent departure from the European Union, tensions surrounding ‘Britishness’ and what it means to be British reached unprecedented lengths. In May this year, experts from the United Nations expressed concerns regarding the fact that racism and religious intolerance has, in the wake of Brexit, become increasingly acceptable in Britain. Whilst it is possible to statistically monitor the rise in racially motivated hate crimes, of which there was a 40 percent rise (July 2015- 16) succeeding the UK’s decision to leave the EU, monitoring racial discrimination within businesses is a lot more difficult. With this societal and political shift, the report looks at the impact Brexit, with its focus on immigration and the rights to work within the UK, has had on the workers from the BAME community.

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