Travelodge announces recruitment plans to target out of work parents
The hotel chain, Travelodge, has announced a five-step plan aimed at encouraging out of work parents to apply for vacant posts. This recruitment drive comes in light of a joint survey conducted in partnership with YouGov which found that 86% of unemployed parents would like to return to work. click here to read more…

Government releases guidance on providing payslips to workers
The Government has published a helpful guidance document, providing practical advice to businesses on how to meet the requirements of new legislation which comes into force from April 2019. click here to read more…

Survey reveals concern over rise in workers seeking help, ahead of potential changes in the law on workplace mental health
A recent survey of UK mental health professionals, conducted by Mental Health Solutions in Business, has revealed growing concern over how employers are preparing for possible new government legislation that would require them to take responsibility for employee mental health. click here to read more…

Government criticised for not extending gender pay gap reporting to SMEs
The government has rejected a recommendation from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee that the current gender pay gap reporting rules, – which only apply to companies with 250 staff or more, should be extended to those with 50 workers or more. click here to read more…

8 out of 10 UK workers value access to personal development above a salary increase
For many years, employers have been emphasising the value of a ‘learning culture’ in their organisations and encouraging workers to commit to training and development programmes. This has resulted in a ‘growth learning mindset’ across all sectors of the country’s workforce. click here to read more…

Significant increase in fines issued to organisations for breaching auto-enrolment pension requirements
Figures published by the law firm EMW have revealed that 25,000 organisations were fined for auto-enrolment errors in the year up to September, an increase of almost 15,000 (144%) compared to the previous year. click here to read more…

The Government’s ‘Good Work Plan’ sets out new legislation to strengthen workers’ rights
Government consultations on four areas of employment law, including status and worker rights, have led to the announcement of the ‘Good Work Plan’. click here to read more…

Majority of workers do not get paid for overtime
51% of UK workers who work additional hours outside their contract do not get paid overtime by their employer, according to research by Jobrapido. It also found that 60% of employees check their phone or email for work purposes at least once a day. click here to read more…

Travelodge announces recruitment plans to target out of work parents

The hotel chain, Travelodge, has announced a five-step plan aimed at encouraging out of work parents to apply for vacant posts. This recruitment drive comes in light of a joint survey conducted in partnership with YouGov which found that 86% of unemployed parents would like to return to work. However, 59% believe that lack of jobs with flexibility around the school run are the biggest challenge to finding work.

It is estimated that there are over 2 million unemployed parents in the UK, so it seems good business sense for Travelodge to make themselves an attractive proposition to this particular demographic.  As well as a commitment to flexible working hours, the five-step plan also includes: careers advice for parents on their website; a range of family friendly company benefits; comprehensive training including a workplace buddy to help staff adapt back to the working environment and an opportunity to join the organisation’s management training programme.

Travelodge’s CEO Peter Gowers stated “Hospitality can offer a great career for parents…with hours that can match the school run, benefits that suit families and a path into management. He went on to say “We’ve based our new programme on making it easier than ever for mums and dads to work around the school run and climb the career ladder whilst raising their family.”  Whilst there is no specific requirement to tailor jobs to meet the needs of parents, employers must ensure that applicants are treated equally during the selection process and, whilst parenthood is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act, it is worth bearing in mind that an individual may be able to bring a discrimination claim under a different protected characteristic. Companies also have a duty to consider any flexible working request made by employees with 26 weeks’ service.

Whilst Travelodge may be bucking the trend, it seems that many UK employers are failing to respond to the growing demand for flexible working. Another recent study has found that flexible working is not just important to working parents, asUK workers of all ages have shown a demand for it. The survey of 2,300 UK employees, undertaken by Teleware, reveals that employees are actively turning down jobs that don’t offer flexible working. A quarter of all employees have turned down a job in the past for this reason and a further third would actively do so. Although millennials are the most likely to turn down jobs for this reason (40%), the survey found that 29% of employees over 45 would turn down a job if flexi-work options were not on offer.

It seems that, for employees of all ages, it is becoming more and more important for them to be able to choose both the hours they work and the place they work from. This sends a clear message to employers that, if they want to be able to attract and retain the best talent they need to give full consideration to the flexible working options that they are able to offer.

 


Government releases guidance on providing payslips to workers

The Government has published a helpful guidance document, providing practical advice to businesses on how to meet the requirements of new legislation which comes into force from April 2019. The legislation requires employers to provide payslips to all workers, not just employees. Employers are also required to state the total number of hours worked in respect of pay on a payslip where the individual’s wage or salary varies depending on how much time is worked. This can either be stated as a single total figure or separate figures where it relates to different types of work or different rates of pay. The guidance provides eight examples of how the new law will work in practice.

 


Survey reveals concern over rise in workers seeking help, ahead of potential changes in the law on workplace mental health

A recent survey of UK mental health professionals, conducted by Mental Health Solutions in Business, has revealed growing concern over how employers are preparing for possible new government legislation that would require them to take responsibility for employee mental health.

The survey of 200 mental health professionals who work with employers found that almost all respondents (96.8%) reported an increase in their workplace mental health caseloads over the last three years, with an average rise of more than 50% in those seeking help. There was also agreement that employers could expect this to continue to rise by a further 60% by 2023. Despite this, 58%of respondents felt that employers were “unlikely to fund” counselling services for their employees and had become less likely to do so over the past three years.

The poll comes ahead of proposed new legislation which would require employers to provide appropriate training to help employees deal with mental ill-health issues and to make provision for mental as well as physical first aid. Further proposed changes to the Equality Act 2010 would also recognise “episodic and fluctuating” mental health conditions, which could mean employers would have to more closely monitor employees’ mental health.

Mental Health Solutions in Business director, Bernadette Bruckner told People Management that employers must embed mental health policies into their organisations in the same way they have done when it comes to physical health.
“It’s important employers don’t fear tackling mental ill-health, because it’s not different to physical health and is just as important,” Bruckner said. “Employers need to be alert and have mechanisms to stay aware of employee psychological wellbeing and how to deal with periods of mental ill-health.” He went on to say that proposed changes to the Equality Act 2010 would “firmly set responsibility for identifying and helping” employees with workplace mental health challenges “at employers’ doors”.

 


Government criticised for not extending gender pay gap reporting to SMEs

The government has rejected a recommendation from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee that the current gender pay gap reporting rules, – which only apply to companies with 250 staff or more, should be extended to those with 50 workers or more. Had the recommendation been accepted, this would have seen some 35,000 additional businesses employing around 3.3 million people fall under the regulations.

Currently, 56% of all employees in the UK work for companies who have to publish gender pay gap data. Of these organisations, 78% pay men more than women, with the average pay gap being 17.9 per cent, according to the figures from first round of reporting in 2018.
The call for businesses with more than 50 employees to publish annual gender pay gap data was made in a report by the committee into gender pay gap reporting, released last year. It cited evidence that the gap “is greater in these smaller companies” and argued that requiring such firms to collect data will enable them to tackle the issue.
But, in its response to the report, the government disagreed with extending the rules to cover smaller firms, saying that “reporting could be particularly burdensome for small and medium-sized businesses”.
Another key recommendation of the committee was that companies should be required to publish action plans and narrative reports on what they are doing to close the gender pay gap. The government has also ruled this out, saying that employers currently have “the freedom to produce an action plan that is relevant to their individual situation” but that making it a “mandatory requirement might result in a prescriptive format with limited value to employers and employees”.
Rachel Reeves, chair of the BEIS committee, said: “Failing to accept our report’s recommendation to require businesses to publish an action plan for closing the gap, against which they must report progress each year, suggests the government are timid in holding businesses to account for their efforts in driving the change needed.”
The government’s response also appears to go against the views of the majority of MPs, according to a recent YouGov poll, in which 69% said that “much more needs to be done” on reporting requirements on gender pay.

 


8 out of 10 UK workers value access to personal development above a salary increase
For many years, employers have been emphasising the value of a ‘learning culture’ in their organisations and encouraging workers to commit to training and development programmes. This has resulted in a ‘growth learning mindset’ across all sectors of the country’s workforce, according to new research from UK personal development and soft skills e-learning specialists, Good Habitz.
The 2018 Learning & Development Trend Report into attitudes towards learning among working adults, shows that UK workers from all backgrounds not only want the opportunity to develop, they value being given the chance to do so more than a salary increase. They also expect to be given time off during working hours to complete training courses and they expect their employer to finance the costs of their learning activities.

“Life is a learning adventure and talented people love learning. Given that the UK’s workforce is one of the most highly educated in Europe, it’s not surprising that people place such a premium on being given the chance to develop themselves over money,” says Stephen Humphreys, Country Director – UK & Ireland at Good Habitz. “What’s interesting is the rate at which e-learning is overtaking traditional classroom formats and books, as digital technology continues to transform every aspect of our daily lives.”

Key findings of the Good Habitz Learning & Development Trend Report 2018:

Knowledge is valued 20% higher than salary
Having the chance to develop and ‘put my talents to good use’ was among the top 5 things that UK employees value most in life. 80% of working adults want the opportunity to keep on learning and challenging themselves. This was the finding among people of all educational backgrounds, who agreed that ‘learning is very important to them’. Among workers who have completed higher education programmes, the figure rose to 87%. Being given an opportunity to learn by their employer (35%) was also rated as more important than ‘having a generous salary’ (29%) or ‘career prospects’ (22%)by survey respondents.

1 in 5 workers believe in positive psychology
The opportunity to develop new IT (27%) and management skills (24%) are most highly sought after, closely followed by skills related to positive psychology (16%), such as NLP, mindfulness and stress management. In addition to professional and personal skills development, almost half of UK employees have undertaken some work-related training in the past year (45% of workers), rising to 63% among those who are degree educated.

Over 20% of employees expect to only learn during working hours
Opinion over who should take responsibility for learning was firmly on the side of the employer, with 86% of employees believing that employers should be facilitating the opportunity and investing in their workers. A rising number of people also felt that employers should be giving employees time off during working hours to dedicate to learning and development, with 23% expecting this as standard, a 10% increase on previous years.

Learning habits shift with 60% decline to classroom based study
Although employees expected their employers to support them, both with access to learning courses and time off during the working day to complete training, the majority (59%) prefer the convenience of e-learning to classroom based study (55% of employees). The trend to favour e-learning is set to grow significantly, with just 18% of respondents saying they will be learning from books or in a traditional classroom environment in the future, compared with 50% expecting to use e-learning.

 


Significant increase in fines issued to organisations for breaching auto-enrolment pension requirements
Figures published by the law firm EMW have revealed that 25,000 organisations were fined for auto-enrolment errors in the year up to September, an increase of almost 15,000 (144%) compared to the previous year. As a result, the total value of fines increased by £12.6m to a total of £42m.
According to EMF, this sharp rise may be linked to the extension of the auto-enrolment pension scheme to cover smaller employers. Since its introduction in July 2014 the scheme has been rolled out in several stages, until April 2017 when it eventually became mandatory for organisations with fewer than 30 employees or workers to comply. It is possible that these smaller organisations may have struggled to follow the complexities of the scheme, particularly given that some may lack a designated payroll department.
With this in mind, it is important that all organisations understand the need to enrol eligible employees and workers into a pension scheme. To be eligible individuals must work in the UK, be aged between 22 and the state pension age and earn more than £10,000 each tax year (or the equivalent if paid by reference to weekly or monthly pay periods).
Employers should also be prepared for changes to the minimum contribution amounts that will be introduced in April this year. Currently, organisations are required to contribute a minimum of 2% of an employee’s gross salary into their pension pot each month, with employees expected to contribute a minimum of 3% themselves. However, for pay reference periods starting on or after 6 April 2019, the minimum contributions will increase to 3% and 5%, respectively.
Following a review into workplace pension savings, the Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that further reforms to automatic enrolment will be introduced by the mid-2020s. These include lowering the current age of eligibility to be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension to 18 years old. Workplace pensions contributions will also start being payable from the first pound earned by workers, rather than calculating contributions from the lower earnings limit.

 


The Government’s ‘Good Work Plan’ sets out new legislation to strengthen workers’ rights
Government consultations on four areas of employment law, including status and worker rights, have led to the announcement of the ‘Good Work Plan’; a plan to “strengthen workers’ rights” whilst reaping the benefits of changes within the employment market and employment models. The plan announces that new pieces of legislation will be introduced in the future to create additional rights; these include:
• the right for all workers to request a more stable contract once they have reached 26 weeks’ service
• from 6 April 2020, workers and employees will be entitled to a written statement of terms from day one of their employment with an increased amount of mandatory information to be contained within the statement
• agency workers will be entitled to a Key Facts Page setting out important information regarding pay and other terms
• increasing the required period to break continuous service from one week to four weeks, recognising the increasing flexibility of modern work
• lowering the threshold for employees to make a request to introduce information and consultation arrangements from 6 April 2020
• extending the holiday pay reference period to 52 weeks, from 12 weeks, from 6 April 2020 to allow a fairer approach to calculating holiday pay.
The plan confirms that legislation will be used to ban tip deductions, with the aim of ensuring that staff are receiving all tips that relate to their service and outlawing the ability of organisations to make deductions to cover business charges, such as credit card administration fees. Although the new law has been announced, there are no further details as to how this will apply across organisations or any expected implementation date. Tipping is a complex area in itself, and it will have to be confirmed whether the new law will apply to cash tips, gratuities paid through cards and/or service charges automatically applied to restaurant bills.
There will also be a ban on the use of Swedish derogation agency contracts, also known as ‘Pay Between Assignment’ contracts, which entitle agency workers to receive pay when not assigned to an end-user but exempt the agency worker from equal pay treatment when they reach 12 weeks’ service within an assignment. Such contracts will be prohibited from 6th April 2020, under the Agency Worker Regulations .
To make sure that the onus is on organisations to implement the law and worker rights correctly, the maximum penalty for an aggravated breach will be quadrupled with effect from 6 April 2019 to £20,000, and there will be new legal sanctions to penalise organisations who commit repeated breaches.

 


Majority of workers do not get paid for overtime
51% of UK workers who work additional hours outside their contract do not get paid overtime by their employer, according to research by Jobrapido. It also found that 60% of employees check their phone or email for work purposes at least once a day; 61% have had to miss an important event (including a family birthday, an important school activity of their child, a wedding or a funeral) because of work and that 38 % admit to suffering from work-related stress.

80% of the UK workers that do not get paid overtime claimed “it is just part of my job”, or “I could jeopardise my chances of a promotion if I ask for overtime” or “I am too scared to rock the boat by asking for additional money”. The remaining 20% stated that despite not being paid they are given extra holiday instead. The research also revealed that 53% of the working population are regularly working more than a 40-hour week, with nearly 6% working between 51-55 hours a week and a further 2% working 56 hours or more.

Rob Brouwer, CEO of Jobrapido comments:

“With the majority of the UK regularly working more than the traditional 40-hour week, it is essential they are rewarded in some way for their investment. Whilst some are recognised with time in lieu, it should not be the case that so many in the workforce are just accepting this to be par for the course or fearful they could lose their job or risk a promotion by asking for some type of remuneration.
“We hear and read much about the importance about work-life balance and the positives it can bring to performance in the workplace, yet it is clear from our research that the majority of employees find it hard to separate their work and personal life – many expecting to be contacted outside work and checking in every day, even on their annual leave. With nearly four in ten UK workers suffering from work-related stress, it is essential that employers and senior management look at new ways to manage employees’ work-loads“.