Legislation and regulation
December 1, 2017
The Government has announced a new 10-year strategy to address employment prospects for disabled people and people with health conditions. In response to its Work, Health & Disability Green Paper consultation which closed earlier this year, the White Paper, Improving Lives: the Future of Work, Health and Disability sets out how the Government will work with employers, charities, healthcare providers and local authorities to break down employment barriers for disabled people and people with health conditions over the next decade. This will be delivered through in-work programmes, personalised financial and employment support, and specialist healthcare services. Currently, ill health that keeps people out of work costs the economy an estimated £100 billion a year, including £7 billion in costs to the NHS. Two new employment trials will also be launched in the West Midlands and Sheffield City Region combined authorities to provide employment support. The Government is also investing around £39 million to more than double the number of Employment Advisors in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services.
November 28, 2017
Most employers have already calculated their pay gap, but research by XpertHR suggests they’re holding back on reporting their findings for fear of standing out if they publish early. Organisations with 250 or more employees have to publish their gender pay and bonus gaps by April 2018 in order to comply with Regulations that came into effect this year. However, with less than six months to go, only 6 percent of the estimated 4,000 employers covered by the new law have complied. Despite the low reporting rate to date, more than one in four ( 26.5 percent) mid-sized companies (those with 250-999 employees) and more than half (51.5 percent ) of larger companies (with 1,000+ employees) have already calculated their pay gaps. Anecdotally, some have told researchers that they are waiting to see what other companies in their sector do before publishing – or that they want there to be a large number of reports in the public domain before they release their own figures.
November 27, 2017
The Society of British and International Design (SBID) has launched the SBID Intellectual Property (IPP) initiative to mark the new campaign to prevent IP theft in the interior design industry. Developed in association with TM – Eye, with the aim of assisting the industry to obtain objective evidence of design ownership, the venture updates the archaic discourse on intellectual property in design and will raise awareness of what designers need to do to properly protect their work. The issue is one of stolen ideas after a commercial presentation, without consent or a fee, a problem that has plagued the interior design industry and left owners/creators feeling like they had no legal support to refer to. This could typically be the theft of ideas created in an interior designed space or product. This has not only been an ongoing problem for business investors in all creative sectors of design and manufacture, but also a problem for consumers who are put at risk, completely unaware when they purchase a look-alike product, to find a poorly manufactured copy without tested safety marques that could cause untold damage to property.
November 22, 2017
Acas has published new guidance to help employers create supportive workplaces for women during pregnancy and maternity leave. The employment advisory service says it received more than 14,000 calls last year about pregnancy and maternity issues, an increase of almost 10 percent on the previous year. The guidance offers employers advice on how to comply with the Equalities Act, which protects employees against pregnancy and maternity discrimination including how employees on maternity leave should be made aware of opportunities for promotion and training; pregnancy related absences must not be included in an employee’s absence record; and employees must not be dismissed or made redundant for any issue related to pregnancy or maternity leave or maternity pay.
November 16, 2017
The latest decision in an ongoing legal battle involving the ride-hailing app, Uber, could have serious consequences for companies which operate in the ‘gig economy’. The prolonged employment tribunal case first began in 2016 with a case bought by the GMB Union. Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam argued that the employment status they had been assigned by Uber – namely, ‘self-employed’ – was incorrect and that they should instead be classed as ‘workers’. The change in status would mean the pair were entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the minimum wage.
November 14, 2017
New data published today shows that the over 50 age group experience an ‘unemployment trap’ – meaning they are more likely to be out of work than younger age groups, and once unemployed they struggle more than younger jobseekers to get back into employment. Currently almost a third of 50-64 year olds in the UK are not in work – some 3.3 million people. Within this, 29 percent are recorded as ‘economically inactive’ – not engaged in the labour market in any way – which is more than twice the rate of those aged 35-49 (13 percent). It is estimated that around one million of the over 50s who are out of work left employment involuntarily due to issues such as ill health, caring responsibilities or redundancy. Some 38 percent of unemployed over 50s have been out of work for over a year, compared to 19 percent of 18-24 year olds and the Centre for Ageing Better claims that employment support is failing this age group.
November 2, 2017
Banking and finance companies within the FTSE 100 have increased gender and ethnic diversity at board level, but there remains a question over whether minorities can break through the glass ceiling, as many of the top roles in banking and finance companies (Chair, CEO & CFO) remain a closed shop for ethnic minority and female leaders. This is according to a new study from Green Park which claims the leadership pipeline, supplying the highest tier of management in FTSE 100 banking and finance companies, now features the highest level of ethnic minority talent in four years, including 15 percent of professionals with a non-white background compared with 5 percent of leadership pipelines for FTSE 100 companies overall and 6.5 percent in 2014. The banking and finance sector has also met the target set by Lord Davies that 25 percent of board members should be female. However, this has been updated by the Hampton-Alexander Review to a target of 33 percent by 2020, which suggests that banking and finance companies will still need to do more to increase the proportion of female leaders in their leadership pipelines.
October 26, 2017
One in four (27 percent) women have been victims of sexism in the workplace and ageism, racism and homophobia continue to mar the working lives of minority groups claims new research. With high-profile reports of sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry dominating headlines, the Office Culture report, from Opinium Research, examined gender, race, age and sex biases that pervade modern UK working life and found that over 2.5 million women (20 percent) report being a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, yet two thirds (67 percent) of women who have experienced this have not reported it to their company. Similarly, despite a perceived cultural improvement in race relations, only half (55 percent) of those subjected to racial discrimination have reported such incidents to somebody in their company. However, ageism is the least reported of all with almost three-quarters (72 percent) of incidents going unnoticed; of those that did report ageism, a quarter (25 percent) of cases were not acknowledged. Action taken on incidents of homophobia were also low; with over a third (43 percent) of cases not being dealt with after the acknowledgement.
October 18, 2017
British workers are lagging behind employees from other countries when it comes to flexible working hours and benefits like extended leave, suggests new research. New independent research commissioned by travel specialists Opodo.co.uk compared Britain with other nations across Europe and the USA, which reveals that British companies are lagging behind other businesses when it comes to flexible working. Three-quarters of employees in the UK (75 percent) don’t believe they have a generous holiday allowance and 84 percent aren’t offered time back in lieu for days worked over the weekend. It’s of no surprise then that 69 percent of Brits don’t think they have a good work-life balance.
October 5, 2017
The majority (83 percent) of workers view flexible working as an important benefit to them but two thirds (66 percent) believe that taking up flexible working halts progression at work. One of the reasons for this dichotomy suggests the results of the Hays UK Gender Diversity Report 2017, is because nearly a third (32 percent) of employees believe men will be viewed as less committed to their career if they take up shared parental leave, and women are less likely to be promoted after having children. While a majority (84 percent) of workers say it’s important that flexible working options are available to them in their workplace, many choose not to take any, and two-thirds think doing so will have a negative impact on their career. Women perceive it will have a negative impact, with over three-quarters (76 percent) reporting this concern and 65 percent of men. Interestingly, both men and women think flexible working options have helped improve the gender balance in senior roles, with 61 percent saying flexible working has improved the representation of women in senior positions, indicating that employers need to address and overturn the negative perception of flexible working and communicate its benefits.
October 3, 2017
Three-quarters (74 percent) of HR managers have witnessed discrimination in the recruitment process – with a quarter (24.5 percent) calling it a regular practice; and less than a third of HR managers (32 percent) can confidently say they are unprejudiced themselves during the recruitment process. According to research from digital recruitment platform SomeoneWho, almost half (48 percent) admit bias impacts their candidate choice, while a further fifth (20 percent) said they couldn’t be sure. The research also found that female candidates face a number of stigmas when looking for work. One in 10 recruiters said they would avoid a female applying for a male dominated role. A further one in 10 said they’d be reluctant to recruit a recently married candidate, as they were more likely to go on maternity leave soon. Shockingly, a fifth of HR managers said they would overlook a pregnant candidate. One in 10 HR managers would be reluctant to hire someone with a thick accent. A further 10 percent said they’d be less likely to select candidates who attended a state school.
September 14, 2017
A third of line managers have admitted they would struggle to identify mental health issues and a similar percentage wouldn’t know what to do if a team member had a mental health problem. This is according to new data from Bupa which argues that while mental health and wellbeing support in the workplace has significantly improved in recent years, and employer support is gaining attention with two in five managers being trained; line managers would still benefit from support and advice to identify mental health issues within their teams. These findings come at a time when NHS figures identify that almost a third of fit notes issued by GPs are for mental health problems – making it the most common reason for people to be signed off from work. Recognition of the role employer support plays in helping colleagues with mental health conditions is clear as two in five (41 percent) line managers have already received related training from their employer. And conversations around mental health at work are being reframed as more than a third (35 percent) of employees feel more comfortable talking to their manager about their mental health than before.