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Pay gaps, the wrong role models, a weak talent pipeline and lack of self-confidence are amongst the biggest challenges holding back female managers, according to Women in Leadership, the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) first ever White Paper on gender issues.

The paper builds on the results of the National Management Salary Survey, published annually by CMI and XpertHR, which in 2012 showed a lifetime pay gap of over £420,000 between female and male executives.

The White Paper presents a range of practical recommendations, including:

For employers and line managers

  • Measure and report on the proportion of women in your workforce, including at senior levels. Where there is little progress, act on it.
  • Create supportive networks andencourage mentoring opportunitiesfor female managers.
  • Prepare future leaders with the skills they need to do a good job at the top including training, experience and qualifications.
  • Enable women to be wives, mothers and carers by embracing flexible working at all levels.

For Government

  • Require companies who have transgressed to publish aggregated pay data at all levels within the business.
  • Focus on the talent pipeline, not just the boardroom: ensuregreater transparency from employers about the level of female representation at different management levels.
  • Inspire younger women’s career aspirations by integrating management and leadership development into the education and skills system at every level, as recommended by the Heseltine review.

A new report on why employment rates for people with schizophrenia remain so low (8% compared to the national average of 71%) and how these can be overcome has been published by The Work Foundation.

A lack of understanding, stigma, fear and discrimination towards people with schizophrenia are needlessly preventing tens of thousands of people from finding or keeping jobs.

The report outlines a detailed set of interventions that would help reduce the barriers to work and highlights how work brings clear health benefits to people with schizophrenia.

Those in paid employment are over five times more likely to achieve functional remission than those who are unemployed or in unpaid employment. The research conducted for the report shows people with a history of the condition are able and willing to work.

Sir Robin Murray, Chair of the Schizophrenia Commission said: “The picture of the jobs market, and the way it works against people with severe mental illness in the UK, is not pretty. But the report is ultimately optimistic because it indicates very clearly that the solutions to this problem are known, and that good practice exists.

“Our challenge is to embrace the lessons from this report and to redouble our efforts to support people living with schizophrenia to find their rightful place in the world of work.”

UK managers are happiest during the first two years spent at an organisation, according to research published by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).

The report uncovered evidence of a ‘two year itch’ that is harming the productivity of UK plc, with managers’ happiness and performance decreasing significantly across the board after this point.

The ILM study, which asked over 1,000 managers to assess themselves and their teams in terms of confidence, happiness and performance, revealed that stress can actually have a positive impact on productivity in the workplace.

Almost nine out of ten (87%) managers who rated their team’s performance highly also described their staff as ‘somewhat’ or ‘not very’ stressed, compared to just 5% whose staff were ‘very stressed’ and 8% who were ‘not at all stressed’. This highlights the challenge for organisations and managers to maintain the right level of stress, enough to focus and energise, without being so great that it affects wellbeing and performance.

The research also revealed that happy managers are better managers overall. When asked to rate their own performance, the top 10% of managers were also the happiest, with a happiness rating of 86 out of 100, while the bottom 10% of performers rated themselves as least happy at 30 out of 100.

One in five workers in the UK – some 4.82 million people – are paid less than the ‘Living Wage’, new research from accountancy firm KPMG has shown.

In a difficult climate of rising prices and increasing costs of living, the impact is falling hardest on these low paid workers with over four in ten saying that their finances are worse now than they were just one month ago.

The Living Wage is a voluntary rate of pay that some employers give their staff, designed to enable workers to afford a basic standard of living. The rate is currently £8.30 an hour in London and £7.20 outside. This compares to the national minimum wage rate of £6.19 an hour.

The research finds that Northern Ireland has the highest proportion of people earning below the Living Wage at 24%, followed by Wales at 23%. The lowest proportion of sub-Living Wage earners is in London and the South East, both at 16%. However, by number of people rather than proportion, London, the North West and the South East are the most affected areas.

Birmingham City Council has lost its bid to have the equal pay claims of 174 former employees struck out.

The employees had left the council between 2004 and 2008. They claimed that the council was in breach of the ‘equality clause’ inserted into their contracts of employment by failing to provide certain benefits and other payments which were payable to workers of the opposite sex employed on work rated as equivalent.

The respondents could have brought their claims in the employment tribunal, provided that they did so within the time limit applicable to them of up to six months after leaving their employment. They did not do so, however, and instead issued the claims later in the High Court, for which the time limit was six years from the date their cause of action accrued.

The council asked the High Court to strike out the claims on the ground that they ‘could more conveniently be disposed of separately by an employment tribunal’. The council's application was dismissed by the High Court. Its appeal to the Court of Appeal was also dismissed.

The council then appealed to the Supreme Court, which has now also dismissed the appeal.

The BBC reports that the former employees can now proceed with their compensation claims through the civil court system, and have up to six years to make their claims. The claims could be worth around £2 million for the group as a whole.

According to Deloitte’s new global talent survey four out of five (80%) employees plan to stay with their organisations over the next year, a significant increase from 2011 when nearly 65% were planning to leave.

Forty-six percent of the survey respondents indicate they are less inclined to move because, in the last 12 months, they have changed jobs (9%), were promoted (22%), or have taken new positions (15%) with their current employers. Surprisingly, however, nearly one-third (31%) say they are not satisfied with their jobs.

According to the survey, the top five reasons people seek new employment are primarily non-financial:

  • Lack of career progress (27%)
  • New opportunities in the market (22%)
  • Dissatisfaction with manager or supervisor (22%)
  • Lack of challenge in the job (21%)
  • Lack of compensation increases (21%)

However, the top five retention incentives for employees are primarily financial:

  • Additional bonuses or financial incentives (44%)
  • Promotion/job advancement (42%)
  • Additional compensation (41%)
  • Flexible work arrangements (26%)
  • Support and recognition from supervisors or managers (25%).

A recent report from the Ministry of Justice has revealed details on the level of employment tribunal activity during the 2011/12 financial year.

The data shows that:

  • There were 186,300 claims accepted by employment tribunals during 2011-12, a 15% fall on the number received in the previous year, and 21% lower than the number in 2009-10.
  • Employment tribunals disposed of 110,800 claims during 2011-12, a fall of 10% when compared with the previous year, but in-line with the number of claims disposed of in 2009-10. The recent fall in disposals was seen in both single and multiple claims, with decreases of 6% and 14% respectively.
  • A claim to an employment tribunal can contain a number of different types of complaint, known as jurisdictional complaints. When deciding any claim, the tribunal has to make determinations under each jurisdiction. The total number of jurisdictional complaints accepted in 2011-12 was 321,800, 16% fewer than in 2010-11. During the year there were, on average, 1.73 jurisdictional complaints per claim. The ratio has varied since 2006-7, but generally increased.
  • Of the 321,800 jurisdictional claims received in 2011-12, 31% were for Unfair dismissal, breach of contract and redundancy; 29% were concerning Working Time Regulations (largely airline cases that are resubmitted every three months), and 16% were for unauthorised deductions (Wages Act).
  • In 2011-12, employment tribunals disposed of 230,000 jurisdictional complaints, 6% fewer than in 2010-11. This fall was reflected in all jurisdictions except Disability Discrimination, Age Discrimination and Breach of Contract which had increases of 7%, 5% and 1% respectively.
  • At 31 March 2012, the workload outstanding for employment tribunals (i.e. claims awaiting resolution) was 540,800, as compared with 484,300 at 31st March 2011. The vast majority of those were multiple claims – 514,300 in all.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

Norman Lamb, Minister for Employment Relations, has taken the step of naming an employer under the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) Scheme for naming employers who flout National Minimum Wage (NMW) law.

The Leicester based hair and beauty salon owner neglected to pay £3,361.22 in arrears of the NMW to a former worker following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which has resulted in HMRC enforcing the debt through the court.

The Government is committed to deterring employers who would otherwise be tempted not to pay the NMW and recognises that bad publicity is an effective way of doing this. In future the Government will publicise cases where arrears of wages have to be enforced through the courts. HMRC already issues a press release where an employer has unsuccessfully appealed against a Notice of Underpayment requiring them to pay arrears of wages.

The BIS scheme to name employers who flout minimum wage law came into effect on 1st January 2011. The scheme is one of a range of tools at the Government’s disposal to tackle this issue. Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages at current minimum wage rates and face financial penalties of up to £5000. In the most serious cases employers can be prosecuted.

In response to the latest ONS labour market statistics, Gerwyn Davies, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)'s Labour Market Adviser, commented:

“In a continuation of recent trends, today’s official ONS employment figures appear to show yet another strong labour market performance.  However, a number of factors suggest that fault lines are emerging. For example, redundancy activity has picked up for the first time this year and there are record numbers of self employed and people working part time because they cannot find a full time job. There is also a continued increase in the number of people on government funded employment and training programmes.

“In addition, today's figures don’t reflect the lengths to which a significant number of employers are going to in order to hold on to skilled staff despite low levels of demand; as the CIPD reported in its quarterly Labour Market Outlook earlier this week. The continued fall in productivity and increase in unit labour costs will put more pressure on employers.”

UK businesses are being hindered by a lack of effective sickness absence management, despite over half (53%) of employers believing they’re well equipped to deal with long-term absence, according to a new Aviva report.

Aviva’s annual absence management report reveals the immediate impact an absent employee can have on the workplace if adequate support isn’t in place:

  • 40% of employers say someone else has to pick up the work,
  • 27% say productivity falls,
  • nearly a quarter (22%) believe it impacts the business financially, and
  • 21% say service standards suffer.

Furthermore, the report reveals that 17% of employers are seeing other members of staff go off sick when their colleagues are off long-term.
There is some evidence that employers understand the benefit of early intervention in sickness management, with one in five (20%) providing staff training to help them spot the signs of stress. However, over a third of employers (34%) still rely on employees to tell them when they are unwell.  

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) has commented on the latest European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that workers who become ill when taking annual leave have the right to reclaim additional paid time off later.

The Court ruling specified that “The purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure. The purpose of entitlement to sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him to be unfit for work.

“A worker is entitled to take paid annual leave which coincides with a period of sick leave at a later point in time, irrespective of the point at which the incapacity for work arose.”

Karen Thomson, Associate Director of Policy, Research and Strategic Visibility at the CIPP, said: “This is yet another case where the interaction of annual leave and sick leave is the issue. The issue of taking holiday whilst on sick leave and sick leave whilst on holiday are still unresolved under the Working Time Regulations.

“The CIPP is disappointed to see that once again the EU feels it necessary to legislate for sickness during holidays. Whether an employer allows an employee to reclaim holiday if sick during their leave is a matter to be dealt with between the employer and the employee; not the EU or the UK Government.”

A recent website poll by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) on the introduction of GP fit notes has found that 90% of employers do not believe they are effective.

The GP fit note, or Statement of Fitness for Work as it is formally known, was introduced in April 2010, following a review of the health of Britain's working age population by Dame Carol Black. In her review, Dame Black found evidence that some employers are reluctant to contact absent staff for fear of being accused of harassment.

According to the CIPP, the fit note was introduced as a tool to encourage conversations between employers and employees about how an earlier return to work, including a phased or adjusted return, could be facilitated.

Diana Bruce, Senior Policy Liaison Officer at the CIPP, commented that “Managing sickness absence is a challenging and often sensitive issue for employers so if the communication channels are open from the outset with clear company policies, the easier the process should be for both employers and employees.”

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