Dont you just love April? Spring is springing, the weather's getting better and summer is just around the corner. Oh, and there are all those new employment laws and changes to pay and working practices to start getting on top of. Fortunately, this year weve compiled our list of things you need to be considering as the new financial year kicks into life. Ready? Here goes
Heres a tricky question for you? Have you heard of the Governments Good Work Plan? Thought not. For something which could have some pretty major repercussions for the way many of us work, its flown a little under the radar. The plan was unveiled just before Christmas and is designed to improve protection for those working in the Gig Economy, including agency workers and individuals on zero hours contracts.
It’s getting on for two years since the Government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy – and it’s still not clear if most employers understand the system. In simple terms, the levy is a tax on the nation’s biggest employers aimed at raising some £3billion to fund 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. But it’s a tax directly aimed at encouraging businesses to support the training of their own apprentices to help develop the skills the country will need for the future.
Firstly, a very happy new year to all of you. I think it’s fair to say that 2019 is going to be a year like few which have gone before. So here, to try and make sure you are as prepared as possible, are a few of the HR issues to look forward to over the next 12 months.
Are you a worker? Sounds a silly question doesn't it? But a landmark case currently being considered by the Court of Appeal revolves around just that issue.
It used to be simple. You worked until you were 60 or 65, paid your stamp and when your landmark birthday arrived retired on the State Pension. But then we all started living much longer and the economics of this simple age simply didnt add up any more. And so today, we have a hugely varied pensions landscape which, more often than not, leaves most of us scratching our heads with complete and utter bewilderment. So heres a few basic facts about the State Pension to put you on the right lines.
Theres been a long list of American cultural traditions imported into the UK over the last few years. Think of Halloween, McDonalds, Black Friday and even Thanksgiving and you get the idea. But theres another tradition which has begun to slip almost unnoticed into our workplaces which is a direct import from the other side of the pond. Employee Appreciation Day is staged on the first Friday of March over in the US and has now started to make an appearance in this country. It sounds a typically American thing to do doesnt it? After all, if employees are only to be celebrated on one day of the year, what of the other 364?
You know the feeling. It’s Monday morning on a freezing cold winter’s day, the sun won’t come up for another two hours and you overdid it the night before. Time to pull a sickie. You might not know it, but so many people call in sick on the first Monday of February, it’s been dubbed National Sickie Day.
The recent controversy surrounding Ted Baker boss Ray Kelvin raises an important issue. Mr Kelvin, you may remember, has temporarily stepped down from his post whilst an investigation is held into complaints he forced workers to hug him. Many claimed the hugs made them feel uncomfortable, whilst some also reported the kissing of necks and massaging of ears. Let’s be clear about one thing. No employee should ever be treated in a way which makes them feel physically uncomfortable. Sexual harassment concerns aside, you are hardly likely to get the best out of any member of staff whose nerves have been shredded in this way.
It’s over a year now since the #MeToo movement swept across social media in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations. The movement had originally been founded in 2006, but shot to prominence after it was shared as a hashtag as women around the globe revealed their experiences of sexual assault, harassment and abuse at the hands of men. More than 12 months on, it’s fair to say the issue has fixed itself firmly on the social and political agenda. But that does not mean that the problem has gone away. Far from it in fact. An Everyday Sexism and TUC survey earlier this year found that 52 per cent of women say they have suffered some form of sexual harassment at work. It’s almost too depressing a figure to contemplate. Add to it the fact that around half the women who reported an incident said their employer took no action and you can see just how deeply ingrained the problem seems to be.
Looking forward to this year’s office Christmas party? Of course you are. It’s a great chance to let your hair down, get to know your colleagues a bit better and build up a bit of team spirit. And if you get the chance to have the odd drink or two into the bargain, so much the better. But here’s a statistic which may just be worth bearing in mind before you unleash yourself fully onto your workmates.