All present and correct? Not necessarily…. New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of lost working days due to absence in the UK has fallen to a record low. It seems the average UK worker took just 4.1 sick days last year, compared to a whopping 7.2 days in 1993. That must be good news for both employers and employees, right? Fewer days off means extra productivity for the boss, whilst more time at work would seem to indicate a fitter, healthier workforce. Well, as ever with these things, there is a hidden story to these statistics. And that hidden story can be found in the rise of what is known as presenteeism. Put simply, more and more of us are hauling ourselves in to the office when we are not really up to it.
Its a fact of life that people get sick and will need time off from work. Any organisation worth its salt will build a contingency for absence into its day-to-day operation and have policies in place to make sure absences are managed properly. And yet this is still an area where companies and their staff often come into conflict. But if you follow a few basic guidelines that need not be the case.
The pace of change in life has never been greater. Think of the changes the creation and growth of the internet have brought about in the last 20 years and the modern-day workplace is now unrecognisable from what it was 20 years ago. And whilst change can often be a good thing, it can also be a deeply unsettling experience for employees if it is not handled well. We’ve all had experience of changes being rushed through an organisation with little communication, leading to an inevitable breakdown in trust and morale on the shop floor.
It’s one of the first questions anyone working in HR gets asked. Exactly what can you ask – and what must you steer clear of – when you are interviewing a candidate for a job? It sounds simple enough, but we’ve all heard of cases where the employer got things disastrously wrong and ended up in a tribunal facing a discrimination action. But there are a few simple tips to follow which should steer you in the right direction – and help ensure you pick the best candidate for all the right reasons. Most importantly, remember that any interview should be used to test the candidate’s ability to do the job they are applying for. Questions should be directed entirely to this goal. Anything which might suggest a bias on your part must be avoided.
A Shropshire HR expert is celebrating the perfect end to her first year in business – by being shortlisted for one of the country’s most prestigious awards. Ishbel Lapper’s company HR Solutions Shropshire is one of four finalists in the best new small business category of the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards. Delighted Ishbel, of Telford, said the news was the icing on the cake of a fantastic first year running her own business offering tailor-made HR and employment support to business across the region. “I am thrilled to bits to be one of just four businesses shortlisted and cannot believe just how successfully this first year has gone,” she said.
They’re something to think about when you get close to retirement, right? Wrong. Whether you are an employer or employee, pensions are something you need to make sure you are on top of right away. From this year, all employers must provide a workplace pension scheme for their staff. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company, how profitable or not or how long you’ve been in business. You must do it. It’s called automatic enrolment and it’s part of the Government’s attempts to make sure we can all pay for the longer retirements we are now enjoying.
Constructive dismissal: What you need to know. Mike is not popular with his boss. Although he works hard and to a good standard, he frequently criticises management and is regarded by his colleagues as a negative influence in the factory at which he works. So when, without warning, he is moved from day to night shifts and told he must take it or leave it, Mike puts in a claim for constructive dismissal. He argues that his employer has changed his terms of employment without notification simply to get rid of him and wins his case at an Employment Tribunal. If Mike’s case sounds familiar to you, it might be that a claim for constructive dismissal is something you should consider.
When is being at work not being at work? Sounds like a daft question doesn’t it? But a recent Court of Appeal ruling has thrown the issue up in the air and made life a lot more uncertain for a huge number of workers. The case revolved around the rights of care workers who have to spend the night at their client’s homes, sleeping in so that they are on hand in the event of an emergency.
One of the greatest changes at work in the last 20 years has been the growing acceptance of flexible working patterns. Long gone are the days when we all clocked in at 9am and knocked off at 5pm regardless of the demands of family and personal life. And with growing diversity in the workplace, and the welcome acceptance of women as an equal and valued part of the workforce, it’s never been more important for companies to recognise the need for flexibility in their working patterns. So, if you want to adjust your work-life balance, how should you go about asking your employer? The first thing to recognise is that if you have caring responsibilities – whether for elderly parents, your children, disabled relatives or other dependents – there are legal rights in place to help ensure you can meet them whilst still holding down a job.
You can’t help but have heard about zero hours contracts. At its heart is a pretty simple idea. You sign a contract with an employer which means they don’t have to provide you with a minimum number of working hours and you get the right to turn down any offer if you want to. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of people on zero hour contracts in the UK increased by around 100,000 last year, to stand at around 1.8million. As more and more of us come into contact with these contracts, it’s important we know what they are all about. So, here’s a look at some of the most commonly asked questions around the issue.
We live in an age of social media. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn or any one of the myriad of other platforms, there are few of us who don’t have one kind of digital footprint or another these days. But with the opportunities that social media can provide come some risks too. And if you are in the market for a new job, it makes sense to be aware of just what some of those risks might be.