Legislation and regulation
March 2, 2018
Anyone who works in employment law or HR is certainly living through interesting times. With the removal of employment tribunal fees, litigation over the correct calculation of holiday pay and Brexit planning there is much to keep us busy. In addition, In addition, the impending GDPR is highly topical. However, for me, the most intellectually stimulating but also practically difficult area to advise on often remains employment status. Put simply, the law is out of date. Legislation drafted in the 1990s, and to some extent based on cases from much earlier, simply does not cut it in an increasingly flexible and developing work place.
March 1, 2018
Over a third of UK employees (37 percent) have felt discriminated against in the workplace, more than one in ten (12 percent) believe they have suffered age discrimination and 8 percent feel they’ve been discriminated against due to their gender. This rises to 11 percent amongst women, claims a new study of 1,300 working adults by ADP. The study also suggests that standards and perceptions of behaviour have shifted across the generations, with those in so-called ‘Generation Snowflake’ more sensitive to unfair treatment than their more mature colleagues. According to the findings, half (50 percent) of those under 35 say they have felt discriminated against, compared to just a quarter (26 percent) of those over the age of 45. The contrast is visible across both age (15 percent vs 14 percent), gender (11 percent vs 5 percent) and other types of discrimination.
February 12, 2018
A new government campaigned launched today encourages more parents to take up the offer of Shared Parental Leave in their child’s first year. The workplace right for eligible parents allows them to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay after having a baby. They can take time off separately or they can be at home together for up to 6 months. Around 285,000 couples every year are eligible but take up could be as low as 2 percent, according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and around half of the general public are unaware that the option exists for parents.
January 30, 2018
Over 2.5 million UK workers are unaware of their employer’s policy on statutory sick pay and would face a significant salary shortfall if they were unwell and unable to work, claims new research from Direct Line. Just 4 percent of employees know how much they would be paid in statutory sick pay if they fell ill and many mistakenly believe that on average they would receive full salary for three and a half months if they were unable to work due to illness. In fact, 43 percent of firms reduce an employee’s wages to statutory sick pay after two weeks of an employee being off sick and one in six firms reduce wages to statutory sick pay after just four days. It is not only salaries people lose out on if they are off sick; one in five (21 percent) firms that pay bonuses withhold these if an employee has been off work on long term sick leave. More than a third of firms (33 percent) will pay bonuses based on pro-rata analysis of days worked and 14 per cent will pay a discretionary reduced rate.
January 25, 2018
More than four in five (85 percent) of women and 80 percent of men report that they have witnessed gender-discriminatory acts at work suggests the results of new research by the Chartered Management Institute. The CMI’s latest report ‘A Blueprint for Balance: time to fix the broken windows’ looks into gender diversity best practices, and found patchy results. Despite some leading exemplars, the majority of organisations are still struggling to make a meaningful difference to achieving a gender balanced workplace. According to the report’s survey of 856 managers, just one in four (25 percent) say that their peers and senior leaders ‘actively and visibly champion gender initiatives’. The lack of action cascades down the ranks, with only 19 percent of junior and middle managers believing their senior leaders are committed to the target of gender balance in their organisations. This is in spite of a recent study by management consultants McKinsey that found globally the most gender diverse businesses are 21 percent more likely to financially over-perform than their peers.
January 23, 2018
The UK has been ranked as the eighth best country in the world for the ability to attract, retain, train and educate skilled workers, but while its ability to leverage diversity for talent competitiveness is boosted by its global knowledge skills – the UK is undermined by its weaker performance on tolerance and gender equality. According to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index GTCI) produced by the Adecco Group, with international business school INSEAD and Tata Communications, the UK has a particularly strong pool of global knowledge skills, a variable for which it is ranked third in the index boosted further by its strong regulatory, market and business landscape. But this is undermined by its internal openness, where it still lags behind, especially when it comes to gender equality. The report also suggests that although Article 50 was triggered in 2017, the ongoing negotiations and continuing lack of clarity over the UK’s position once it leaves the European Union in 2019, means the impact of Brexit is not yet clear.
December 20, 2017
There is little evidence that the pay squeeze will end soon, with only falling inflation likely to lead to meaningful wage increases next year. This is according to a CIPD analysis, which predicts that 2018 will see pay, productivity and migration top the agenda as the UK looks ahead to its exit from the European Union. It adds that the UK workforce could tighten, and with increased constraints on labour supply, 2018 could be the year that the UK finally runs out of people to fill jobs, despite unemployment levels being unlikely to see much change. There are also indications there will be no improvement in productivity, with continued stagnation in UK productivity, which will remain well below pre-crash levels. In the CIPD’s annual labour market predictions, Ian Brinkley, Acting Chief Economist, anticipates a flattening of employment growth and weak pay growth as the UK continues to struggle with its productivity problem.
December 19, 2017
Just over half (51 percent) of firms across the UK will grow their workforce in the year ahead, with confidence highest amongst small and mid-sized firms (58 percent) according to the latest CBI/Pertemps Network Group Employment Trends Survey. But the survey warns that delivering further jobs growth depends on businesses being confident they can remain competitive if they choose to base staff in the UK. Nearly two thirds (63 percent) currently believe that changes in the UK labour market will contribute to Britain becoming a less attractive place to invest and do business over the next five years – up from 50 percent last year and 25 percent in 2015. Skills gaps were the single most prominent worry facing firms, with nearly four in five (79 percent) respondents highlighting this as a worry – up from 64 percent in 2016. Access to overseas workers is a big contributor to this, with nearly half of respondents (49 percent) identifying uncertain access to labour supply – up from 35 percent in 2016 as a concern.
December 12, 2017
Over a quarter of senior managers hire people just like them, and this bias is still rife in some organisations, according to new market research commissioned by The Open University. The study amongst business leaders and employees finds that three in 10 (29 percent) senior managers admit they hire people just like them, and warns employers may be overlooking candidates from different social and educational backgrounds, impacting access to talent, and hindering business innovation and performance as a result. Employers place significant importance on educational attainment (86 percent), cultural fit (77 percent), tastes and leisure pursuits (65 percent), and even social background (61 percent). Considering the typical social make up of managers, this raises concerns about diversity, a key driver of innovation, and hints at a glass ceiling for those from less privileged backgrounds, with the re-enforcement of the historical class system. The issue is prevalent in both recruitment and employment, with bias creating a ‘degree premium’, particularly at entry level.
December 8, 2017
It appears to have been a challenging year for HR professionals, as a new survey suggests nearly three quarters (72 percent) of participants in a recent survey feel slightly or significantly more over-stretched in their role compared to last year. Forty four percent believe the workforce does not have enough support to thrive, and a further 23 percent don’t feel confident that their organisations are doing enough to address this issue. Research from a survey of HR people conducted by Cascade HR found that 32 percent of HR managers have found employment legislation harder to navigate. However, a reassuring 61 percent of HR professionals now feel ‘somewhat prepared’ for GDPR, which has understandably taken up a lot of preparatory time and resource as 2017 has unfolded. In fact, only 15 percent of HR professionals surveyed feel significantly or slightly underprepared, which seems to contradict national statistics on a business-wide level.
December 6, 2017
Only half (50 percent) of UK companies believe they have the right skills to address a cyberattack, despite some high profile cyberattacks this year against the NHS, Uber and Equifax. A lack of cybersecurity skills may be due to a wider skills gaps facing the UK tech industry, claims new research from IT jobs board, CW Jobs. Nearly a third of tech employees reported feeling they were insufficiently trained in coding, cybersecurity and cloud migration. The gaps in employees’ skills is translating to the businesses they work for with 23 percent saying their business is missing programming and cybersecurity skills. A little over half (51 percent) of IT workers said that cybersecurity was included in their training, and almost one in four (23 percent) say they are not confident in handling a cyber security attack. Despite the growing threat and lack of in-house expertise, only half (50 percent) of employers look for cybersecurity skills when recruiting new IT talent. However, despite awareness around the risk of cybersecurity and the lack of preparedness, only 22 percent of employers are currently training their existing staff in cybersecurity.
December 4, 2017
Three in ten (29 percent) black employees say racial discrimination is to blame for them failing to achieve their career expectations, almost three times as many as white British employees, according to a new survey by the CIPD. One in five BAME employees (20 percent) said that discrimination had played a part in a lack of career progression to date, compared to just one in ten (11 percent) white British employees. This comes despite the fact that significantly more BAME employees said career progression was an important part of their working life than those from a white British background (25 percent vs 10 percent). When asked what would improve their career progression, BAME employees were much more likely than white British employees to say that seeing other people like them that have progressed in the organisation, and a greater diversity of people at senior levels in their organisation would help boost their career progression. Additionally, the survey found that a quarter of BAME respondents (23 percent) whose organisations don’t provide mentoring said they would find it useful in achieving their potential at work.
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