Legislation and regulation
August 22, 2018
More SMEs than larger businesses offer flexible working as a way of reducing absences, research from industry body Group Risk Development (GRiD), suggests. The research showed that 35 percent of SMEs with up to 249 employees are actively using flexible working strategies to combat absence compared to just 23 percent of organisations with over 250 employees. Drilling down further into the detail, 38 percent of micro businesses with between 1 and 9 employees use flexible working as a means to reduce absence. Flexible working now means a lot more than allowing an employee to work from home when they are feeling under the weather, and following changes in the law in 2014, it is now an option for everyone with at least 26 weeks continuous employment to request it – not just those with children or carer responsibilities. It also includes part-time working, term-time working, job sharing, compressed hours and flexitime. A greater degree of flexibility can increase productivity and reduce burn out, particularly in stressful occupations.
August 20, 2018
Most organisations already offer some sort of flexible working and over half of employees now ask to work flexibly, a new survey from XpertHR research has claimed. One in 12 organisations (8.1 percent) reported that all employees worked flexibly, with employers attributing the rise to a more supportive workplace culture and the impact of recent legal changes. The survey found that more than half (55.9 percent) had seen an increase in flexible working requests over the past two years. Three out of four believed that this was due to changes in workplace culture in recent years, attributable in part to a change in the law in 2014 that extended the right to request flexible working to all employees with at least 26 weeks’ service. Flexible working goes across the board, and includes part-time working, variable start and finish times, home-working and other options.
August 9, 2018
The already low number of fathers claiming paternity leave has fallen for the first time in five years, to 213,500, down 3 percent from 221,000 last year an analysis by law firm EMW has revealed. To help encourage more men to take paternity leave, the Government launched the shared parental leave scheme in 2015. However, take up of the scheme has also been slow, with less than 2 percent of all UK fathers participating. These latest figures suggest that hundreds of thousands of men are not taking up their entitlement to paternity leave. In comparison with low rates of paternity leave, nearly treble the number of mothers (662,700) took maternity leave in 2017-2018, up from 661,000 in 2016/17. More →
August 8, 2018
A quarter (25 percent) of businesses currently employ staff from the EU but half (50 percent) of business leaders say they would be put off employing someone from the EU after the immigration laws change a new survey has claimed. A quarter (25 percent) are also concerned the recruitment process will become lengthier, and almost a fifth (19 percent) believe it will become more costly. The study by Blacks Solicitors also found business leaders in the UK don’t feel confident in communicating the forthcoming changes to employees’ rights during Brexit. A quarter (23 percent) revealed they feel underprepared, and a further 61 percent say they are worried about leaving the EU. More →
August 2, 2018
Employers should be required to publish a narrative and action plan under Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements, the inquiry on executive pay and the gender-pay gap by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee has recommended today. It has found that the requirements to publish data which came into force in April this year represents a ‘small but welcome step towards ensuring that women can make their fullest possible contribution in the workplace and to the economy’, but it calls for the Government to be more ambitious. Detailed statistics should be provided to aid analysis and organisations should explain what they are doing to tackle their gender pay gaps. Under the new rules employers would have to provide some narrative reporting alongside their gender pay statistics, with an action plan setting out how pay gaps are being and will be addressed, including objectives and targets. Subsequent reports would include progress against this action plan, including targets set. More →
July 26, 2018
Sexual harassment in the workplace is widespread and commonplace, with unwanted sexual behaviours such as sexual comments, touching, groping and assault seen as an everyday occurrence and part of the culture in workplaces, and the Government, regulators and employers are failing in their responsibilities to tackle the problem says an influential group of MPs. Employers and regulators have ignored their responsibilities for too long, found the Women and Equalities Committee following a wide-ranging six-month inquiry and often legal protections are not available to workers in practice. The Committee found that despite 40 percent of women and 18 percent of men having experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace there has been a failure to tackle unlawful behaviours, despite the Government’s obligations under international law. The report calls on Government to focus on five priorities to put sexual harassment at the top of the agenda for employers.
July 10, 2018
Improved living standards, deflating pension pots and legal protection against age discrimination have all helped to nudge up the retirement age. The result is that for the first time since the Industrial Revolution five generations of employees are now working side by side. According to a new survey, two thirds of organisations (66 per cent) say that an age diverse workforce helped the company to have a more comprehensive skillset and knowledge base and more than seven in ten (71 per cent) felt that a multi-generational workforce brought contrasting views to their organisation. However, in the YouGov survey of middle market businesses commissioned by RSM, four in ten companies (41 per cent) said that a multi-generational workforce also increased the risk of conflict in the workplace. More →
June 19, 2018
There is a critical need for to simplify the regulatory framework designed to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings finds a recent report from the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) Carbon Management & Sustainable Buildings Working Group. It also suggests that Brexit could act as a spur to rethink the right combination of policies to reform enforcement systems. The report, Improving non-domestic energy efficiency after Brexit, one of a series EIC is publishing setting out its members’ views on the impact of Brexit on environmental policy and how policy should evolve after the UK leaves the EU, covers the breadth of energy efficiency policy for non-domestic buildings. As part of its research, EIC surveyed England’s local authorities, who have responsibility for trading standards, finding that out of those that responded (122 out of 149), no local authorities have been issuing fines for failing to display Energy Performance Certificates or Display Energy Certificates.
June 12, 2018
Business Secretary Greg Clark proposed new laws in Parliament yesterday (June 11th) that new large firms will have to justify their chief executives’ salaries and reveal the gap to their average UK worker. It means that for the first time, UK listed companies with more than 250 UK employees will have to disclose and explain this difference – known as ‘pay ratios’ – every year. However, according to data published today by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and XpertHR, basic salaries for senior managers have fallen in real terms, with inflation overtaking pay increases for the first time in five years. At a time when government are shining a light on executive pay, and linking it via a ratio to workforce pay, separate CMI research has found managers worked an extra 44 days a year last year over and above their contracted hours – up from 40 days extra in 2015. The same research found 59 percent of managers are ‘always on’, frequently checking their emails outside of work and one in 10 had been forced to take sick leave because of stress.
May 22, 2018
New guidance on religion and belief in the workplace has been published by Acas. It is intended to help ensure businesses are following the law when it comes to managing staff that have a particular religion, belief or indeed don’t hold any beliefs. The guidance offers employers essential advice on how to comply with the Equalities Act, which protects employees against discrimination based on religion and belief. The new guidance for employers and employees sets out to explain what religion or belief discrimination is, how to avoid it and includes advice on what the law says about religious dress codes, fasting and time off for religious festivals or holidays.
April 17, 2018
More than half of working adults believe that UK businesses are not doing enough to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees. The vast majority (86 percent) believe that firms are specifically not doing enough to help employees deal with work-related stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. And with seven out of 10 of those surveyed by Westfield Health saying that the NHS does not have the budget to provide wellbeing services, such as health check-ups and cognitive behavioural therapy, almost three quarters agreed it would be a good idea for a portion of their National Insurance contributions to be redirected towards employee wellbeing programmes. More →
April 6, 2018
Following the deadline for organisations to publish their gender pay this week, it came as little surprise to find that almost eight in 10 organisations pay men more than women. The debate over the reasons why will continue, but new research now claims that women remain happier and more committed at work than men, despite this disparity. Employee benefits provider Personal Group’s Gender Happiness Gap research shows that contrary to, and perhaps in spite of the fact that the Gender Pay Gap tends to favour men, happiness at work tends to fall in favour of female staff, with men much less happy in the workplace than their female counterparts. Whilst 77 percent of PAYE female employees are happy at work at least some of the time, the figure is only 66 percent for men. This means that one in three men are rarely or never happy at work. The case is similar when looking at the total workforce: 45 percent of female staff stated that they’re happy most of the time at work, versus only 38 percent of male staff. Amongst women, the 30-49-year-old age group is the unhappiest age group, which may be due to juggling family life alongside working commitments.