Legislation and regulation
February 25, 2013
During recent weather-related travel disruption, I was inundated with various pieces of information on software that spies on home based employees to check that they really are working, not shirking from home. As Acas opens a consultation on a draft Code of Practice regarding the extended right to request flexible working; and figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show the number of people working from home in the UK has risen to over 10 per cent – the advent of these systems begs the question: do employers really trust their staff enough to let them work remotely?
February 25, 2013
Employee burnout is endemic within a third of UK organisations. According to new research from recruitment specialist Robert Half UK three out of ten (30 per cent) UK HR directors reported high levels of employee burnout, which rises to more than a third (35 per cent) for those in London and the South East and publicly listed companies. Two thirds (67 per cent) of UK HR directors cite “workload” as the primary reason for employee burnout, although this figure rises to three quarters (75 per cent) for large and 73 per cent for public sector companies. more…
February 22, 2013
The European Commission has confirmed intends to take the UK Government to court to force the Treasury to impose the full rate of VAT on energy-saving goods which are a key element of the flagship Green Deal energy efficiency scheme. The Green Deal is designed not only to improve the UK’s environmental performance but also boost the economy. The commission issued a statement yesterday confirming it would refer the UK to the EU Court of Justice over the practice of imposing reduced VAT rates on green goods which it claims break EU law and won’t deliver the aims of the government’s flagship Green Deal energy efficiency scheme.
February 18, 2013
The signs of the final showdown between the personal computer and the tablet are now all around us. It is evident in the launch of new products such as Microsoft’s Surface and the new generation of more powerful iPads which can (nearly) match the performance of Apple’s own laptops. It is also evident in the restructuring of firms like Dell, once the world’s most successful PC maker. The end result will not only be a new shape for the products on which we work but also a new shape for the places in which we work. Our postures will change and so too will the things we need to support us. more…
February 15, 2013
The UK Treasury yesterday announced new rules that would mean that it can ban firms who avoid tax illegally from winning public sector contracts. The new system will come into force as early as April 1 of this year, leaving little time for consultation and are outlined in draft guidance published for consultation by the Government. It will require potential suppliers to notify contracting departments of their recent tax compliance history and to tell the department if any tax return has recently been found to be incorrect and if they have been convicted for tax related offences or subject to a penalty for civil fraud or evasion. Departments will be able to disqualify any bidder meeting these criteria from the procurement process.
February 14, 2013
Nine in ten UK professionals think that flexible working will become the dominant employment model – but half think it will be adopted for business reasons rather than to benefit the workforce. According to research from specialist HR recruiter Ortus, just one in ten professionals (12 per cent) actually deem flexible working to be a vital benefit – lower than the proportion who said a free company mobile phone is vital to them. And just 1 in 10 said they thought it was being implemented to help with gender equality. In the survey conducted among 450 professionals across a variety of sectors, 51 one per cent felt the reason behind the growth of flexible working is efficiency and productivity – not to help people manage the number of hours they work. more…
February 7, 2013
Half of employees who left or lost their jobs in the last 12 months kept confidential corporate data, according to a global survey from Symantec and 40 percent plan to use it in their new jobs. The results show that employees’ attitudes and beliefs about intellectual property (IP) theft are at odds with the vast majority of company policies. Employees not only think it is acceptable to take and use IP when they leave, but also that companies don’t care. The survey reveals 62 percent believe it is acceptable to transfer documents to PCs, tablets, smartphones or file sharing applications and the majority never delete the data they’ve moved because they do not see any harm in keeping it.
February 6, 2013
Employment experts have raised concerns on the impact on employers of the Children and Families Bill, announced by the government this week, which introduces shared parental leave and extends the right to request flexible working to all employees. The idea behind the reforms is to give parents greater flexibility about how they ‘mix and match’ care of their child but Jonathan Exten-Wright, Partner from DLA Piper said: “Employers would no doubt welcome further guidance on how the new shared leave should operate in practice.”
January 31, 2013
The French Environment Ministry has announced that a new law will come into effect in July that requires non-residential buildings to turn off interior and window display lights each night. Under the new legislation lights in shop windows will need to be turned off at 1am and lights in office and other commercial buildings switched off an hour after the last employee leaves. The new law is planned to save around 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year as well as enough energy to power 750,000 French households. The ministry believes the law will change attitudes and help the country become a pioneer in reducing light pollution and energy use.
January 31, 2013
It has long been a complaint of designers and marketers that courts do not understand design. For the most part this has made it difficult for them to trademark things like packaging designs and colours leaving them open to copycat designs which can seriously undermine a brand and make merchandising more difficult than it need be. Now Apple – who else? – has taken things to a whole new level by officially trademarking its distinctive shopping centre store design in the US.
January 29, 2013
Whatever they might think, Governments don’t have a natural propensity for joined up thinking. Nor do they have a natural affinity with small businesses, especially those that emerge in non-traditional sectors. Governments may like to claim they can display both of these noble values, but experience tells us different. One thing they are prone to, however, is a frequent ability to fall victim to unfortunate juxtapositions of complex events that throw their inherent weaknesses into sharp relief.
January 8, 2013
The UK coalition government’s battle against red tape hasn’t meant an end to the introduction of new workplace regulations or revisions to existing legislation. Far from it, in fact. In conjunction with one of the UK’s leading law firms Shoosmiths, here is our run down on what to expect over the coming twelve months including changes to the working time directive, a new approach to Health and Safety and the latest on the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations. Simply click on the image above to view or download the briefing.