Legislation and regulation
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.
May 11, 2018
A survey was published a couple of years ago to coincide with ‘National Stress Awareness Day’. Conducted by Robertson Cooper, the consultancy co-founded by media friendly academic Cary Cooper, the report made some fairly modest and believable claims about the impacts of stress. Especially if you compare them to the more startling findings of other surveys on the same subject such as those from the HSE and the mental health charity Mind, including the famously headline-grabbing figure which suggested that work related stress costs the UK no less than 10 per cent of its annual gross national product.If we were to be cynical, we might suggest that one of the the findings of the Robertson Cooper report – that nearly half of people had felt significantly stressed in the previous six months with a third of those claiming the stress was work related – simply begs the question why over 80 per cent of people seem to have it so cushy.
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.
March 27, 2018
The Australian Fair Work Commission has ruled that all employees, including part time and temporary staff, will be entitled to five days of unpaid leave if they are affected by family or domestic violence, if they “need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and it is impractical for them to do this outside of their ordinary hours of work”. The Fair Work Commission said that over the past year it had held a number of consultations to help it consider the most appropriate and balanced term for the new domestic violence leave entitlement. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) had suggested a number of possible models to the Commission, including the provision of 10 days of paid domestic violence leave for all employees. However, the Commission confirmed this week that a standard of five days leave is a “fair and relevant safety net entitlement”, adding that it has taken a “cautious regulatory response to this issue.”
March 26, 2018
A new survey that confirms the ongoing gender pay gap with stats that show men are paid 42 percent more than women after ten years in workforce, goes on to suggest that the reason is not just to do with a lack of diversity but the attitude of women moving up the corporate ladder. The report from Adzuna claims that British men are significantly more confident than women in furthering their career. The career progression confidence gap between the genders widens greatest with those who have more than ten years’ experience in the workplace, with men twice more likely than women to hold a top job. The research analysed 500,000 CVs submitted through Adzuna’s ValueMyCV tool, comparing the gender and estimated pay grade with number of years’ experience in each respective industry. The research also highlights a disparity in the average salary commanded by men and women for the same position with the same number of years in experience.
March 16, 2018
The challenge to achieve gender equality at work isn’t made any easier by the attitudes of some employers. Although men increasingly want to be more present at home, currently fathers are twice as likely as mothers to have their requests for flexible working turned down. This means their work-life balance is increasingly a source of stress. For this reason a new survey is being launched to look at men’s roles at home and work with the hope that the results will support employers to help men take up more equal caring roles.The Equal Lives project, launched by Business in the Community in partnership with Santander UK, aims to highlight the issues men face when managing responsibilities at work and home and identify workplace practices and policies to help employers retain skilled male and female employees. The study is open to all men in work over 18, regardless of whether they have people who depend on them for their wellbeing. It is also open to women in work, but only those with care responsibilities.
March 9, 2018
The built environment still has some way to go to achieve gender parity a new report suggests, as women in construction are paid up to 45 percent less than men and are three times more likely to miss out on promotion than men due to perceived gender discrimination. According to the survey by Randstad of more than 5,500 construction workers and 540 employers across all job functions and levels – 75 percent of those passed over for a more senior role were women compared to 25 percent men. The findings suggests women in the industry typically are not being given the same opportunities to progress as their male counterparts even though almost every respondent (93 percent) said having a female manager either wouldn’t affect their way of working or would in fact have a positive impact. more…
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