Search Results for: discrimination

Wellness programmes may be causing more problems than they solve

wellness backfiresFar from making employees healthier, a corporate focus on their wellness may actually be making them unhappier and more prone to illnesses. That is the conclusion of a new book published by two researchers at Cass Business School and Stockholm University. In the book, The Wellness Syndrome, the authors Andre Spicer and Carl Cederström claim that the fixation with monitoring wellbeing and initiating wellness programmes may be having the obverse effect to that intended. The book argues that an obsession with wellness obliges some people to pretend to be happy at work, even when they are not and that the pressure to fit with a corporate notion of what constitutes a ‘well’ person makes them depressed and anxious that they will be labelled by their employer and colleagues if they don’t fit an ideal.

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Nearly two-thirds of over 50s say flexible working is best route to retirement

Nearly two-thirds of over 50s say part time working is the best way to retireAround half of over 50s would like to carry on working part time after 65, while 39 per cent of feel that working part time or flexible hours before stopping work altogether would be the best way to retire. According to new research, one in four over 50s said they would be interested in taking a few months off and then returning to work as an alternative to retirement. Meanwhile 36 percent of retirees say their advice to others would be to consider switching to flexible or part time work for a period first before retiring and 33 per cent of over 70s still working said they did so because they enjoyed it. However the poll also reveals some discrimination, with 23 percent of over 50s believing they are viewed ‘less favourably than younger workers’ and 15 per cent experiencing age-based discrimination in the workplace.

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More than half of workers report feeling stressed, but most keep it secret

More than half of staff report feeling stressed, but few admit itNew research by Mind to mark today’s National Stress Awareness Day has found more than half of workers (56%) say they find work very or fairly stressful; citing excessive workloads (52%), frustration with poor management (54%), not enough support from managers (47%), threat of redundancy (27%) and unrealistic targets (45%) as key stressors. The YouGov survey of over 1,250 people in Britain found that workplace stress is impacting on other areas of people’s lives, more so than debt or financial problems (38%), health (29%) or relationships (20%). One in five (20%) said it had put a strain on their marriage or relationship with significant other, while 11 per cent had missed important events such as birthdays or weddings. Stress was also having a physical impact, with 53 per cent agreeing that it affected their sleep, 22 per cent their appetite and 27 per cent their physical health.  The research also revealed that mental health at work is still a taboo. Nearly a third (30%) of respondents said they wouldn’t be able to talk openly with their line manager if they were stressed.

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The culture of presenteeism is not all just fun and games

PresenteeismTen or so years ago an office seating manufacturer commissioned me to prepare a report on the games industry. The idea was to target a market the company had decided was primed to hear their message about ergonomics and the deleterious effects of long hours spent sitting and peering at a screen. Not only would this develop a new market for the business, it would also showcase a new product they had launched specifically to target a younger and hipper audience, even one that was overwhelmingly male. All of the elements of a successful campaign appeared to be there – the right product, a sedentary workforce that often worked around the clock to hit deadlines in an industry that epitomised youthful cool and was willing to spend money to prove it.

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Younger workers less tolerant of flexible workers than you would think

Younger workers less tolerant of flexible workers than you would thinkOne of the key drivers for bringing a flexible working culture into the workplace is to accommodate the needs of the younger generation of ‘millennial’ workers who are perceived to view the idea of the traditional 9 to 5 as archaic. But this open-mindedness appears to waver when applied to other workers. A recent survey by employment specialists Doyle Clayton has found Generation Y employees have the most negative attitudes towards older employees and part-time and flexible workers; seeing their colleagues’ flexibility as coming at their own expense. The Age Before Beauty? Report warns that there shouldn’t be an assumption that initiatives to support flexible working will be welcomed by staff in their twenties and thirties. And while younger workers tended to be most likely to perceive discrimination at their workplace, they were also the most likely to exhibit negative attitudes towards equality, for example seeing older workers as less valuable because of their age. More →

Acas issues advice for employers as flexible working changes come into force

Acas issues advice for employers as flexible working changes come into force

New legislation that encourages flexible working practices comes into force today (30 June). From today, all employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more will have the right to ask if they can work flexibly. This right previously only applied to the parents with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers. To help guide employers through the process, workplace expert Acas has published a new Code of Practice and guidance on the right to request flexible working. The new Code and practical guidance is designed to help employers consider any requests in a reasonable manner and stay within the law. “Many employers recognise that they can retain talented staff by offering a flexible approach to work and a healthy work life balance can help business success and growth, said Acas Chair Brendan Barber. “Our new guide has practical examples to help businesses or employers manage flexible working requests in a reasonable way and avoid any pitfalls. More →

Employers may need to take a disciplined approach to the World Cup

Employers taking a discipline approach to the World CupWith the World Cup now underway, many football fans will be gripped with football fever over the next month, but employers could face HR headaches as a result. Given the time difference in Brazil, games at this year’s World Cup will take place during the late afternoon and evenings in the UK. England’s opening game against Italy at 11pm this Saturday night is unlikely to cause most employers much disruption, but the next England game against Costa Rica which kicks off at 5pm on Tuesday 24 June could result in employees wanting to leave before the end of their working day. Late kick off times also have the potential to result in employees being absent the following day as they recover from the excesses of the night before. On most match days the final whistle of the last game of the day will not be blown until around 1am UK time. More →

Flexible working benefits are undermined by short sighted employers

Flexible work

There has been a growing perception that flexible working practices are now commonplace in the workplace. However a recent report from Working Families, a charity set up to help working parents and carers find a balance between their responsibilities at work and at home, suggests this is a myth. Their report reflects growing concerns based on experiences and queries from their helpline that employers are in fact, becoming more rigid. The report suggests that working parents are coming under increasing pressure to give up their flexible working arrangements. It highlights “a growing number of callers to the helpline reporting the family-friendly working pattern they have had in place for years being changed or withdrawn virtually overnight, with no opportunity for them to express their views”. Ironically, despite the Government’s championing of flexible working it seems the imposition of employment tribunal claim fees could be behind the backlash. More →

Legal update – Employment Law changes ahead in 2014

Employment Law changes ahead in 2014

Some of the most hotly debated employment law issues from last year; including flexible working, workplace wellbeing and the contractual rights of employees look set to make more headlines this year, because 2014 is shaping up to be another year of significant change in UK employment law. While the timetable is subject to amendment, currently the Government is intending to introduce a number of revisions. The key employment law events and cases to watch out for in 2014 will include changes to TUPE, flexible working, flexible parental leave, employment tribunal procedures, redundancy consultation, Acas conciliation, calculation of holiday pay and post-employment victimisation;  which we list below in the date order in which they are proposed. More →

Good practice guide for employers on using social media as a vetting tool

Advice on social media vettingThe debate over the right to privacy of job applicants whose activities may be checked on social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, has led to some confusion over what is legally acceptable. Employers’ body the CIPD’s recent social media research revealed that two in five employers look at candidates’ online activity or profiles to inform recruitment decisions, but few inform applicants as a matter of course that this is being done. But just how aware are employers of the legalities around this kind of vetting? Managers have wide discretion within the law to decide whether or not to recruit a particular candidate, but to avoid risk of legal challenge they should be fully aware of the law on data protection and discrimination in employment. The CIPD has now published some useful guidance on what constitutes good practice. More →

Proceed with caution when using social media to recruit new talent

Why you should proceed with caution when using social media to recruit new talent

Time was, not so long ago that a job seeker could choose which aspects of their experience, interests and personality they wanted to reveal on a job application. For the employer this meant wheedling out the right candidates from a pile of written applications, then using the interview process to determine whether the applicant measured up to their requirements. Today, social media not only makes it easier for employers to reach a much wider universe of candidates – it also gives them the opportunity if they choose, to screen potential employees, and this is where legally, ethically and practically, new largely uncharted problems lie. More →

US Govt to encourage wellness programmes, even though they don’t do anything

Darts missIn spite of the evidence from a report published last week that confirmed workplace wellness programmes don’t achieve what they set out to do, American employees will be eligible for significantly lower premiums on any health insurance they buy through employers if they participate in the schemes. The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, will allow US employers to increase the rewards they offer employees who participate in workplace wellness programs. The goal is to improve employees’ health by helping them give up smoking or lose weight in a bid to curb medical costs and absenteeism. Under the rules issued last week, employers must structure programmes so that  every individual participating can receive the full amount of any reward or incentive, regardless of any health factor.

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