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A Christmas bonus came top of bosses’ wish list in a poll published by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), though 79% of managers said they weren’t actually expecting to receive one this year.

In a survey of over 1,500 managers, 38% said a bonus would be the best Christmas present they could get from their company. A promotion was the second choice with 15%, followed closely by more staff (13%) and more training (12%). 

Meanwhile, with nearly two thirds (62%) of offices getting ready for the work Christmas party, the survey found that a fifth (20%) dread their workplace celebrations and almost a third (31%) of managers worry about the possible fallout following the festive party.

Topping the list of their concerns are: team members drinking too much (72%); colleagues becoming aggressive and arguing (38%); and attendance in the office and productivity suffering the following day due to hangovers (29%).

Almost two fifths (38%) of managers are expecting to see a drop in productivity in the run up to Christmas, with many noticing their colleagues seem more stressed (24%), distracted (28%) and tired (24%).

One in ten managers said they have had to discipline staff members after the Christmas party due to inappropriate behaviour in the past.

The number of underemployed workers, people who are in employment but want to work more hours, has risen by one million since the start of the economic downturn in 2008 to stand at 3.05 million in 2012, according to a new report from the Office for National Statistics.

The occupation category that consistently has the highest rate of underemployment is ‘elementary occupations’ (such as labourers, cleaners and catering staff). Within this category, those with some of the highest underemployment rates in 2012 are school crossing/midday assistants (39.4%), bar staff (32.9%) and cleaners (30.9%).

Underemployment rates vary across the English regions and devolved countries of the UK. Taking a four-year average from 2009 to 2012, the highest underemployment rate was in the East Midlands where 10.7% of workers wanted more hours in work. This was followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (10.6%), the North East (10.5%) and the South West (10.4%). The lowest underemployment rate was in the South East at 9.2%.

In 2012, 24% of part-time workers were underemployed, compared with just 6% of full-time workers. Another key factor influencing underemployment is the level of earnings. In 2012 the average underemployed employee earned a gross hourly wage of £7.49 while the average non-underemployed employee earned £10.81.

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.

Industrial action is no longer the threat it was for employers, particularly in the private sector, but trade unions are finding new ways to put employers under pressure, according to new research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The report highlights national figures that show the average number of days lost each year due to industrial action has been under one million over the last twenty years, compared to 12.9 million in the 1970’s and 7.2 million in the 1980’s. The great majority of days lost each year have been in the public sector (92% in 2011) and over half of all days lost have been for one day only.

However, although the number of stoppages has reduced dramatically this does not mean that industrial conflict has gone away. The report highlights the changing nature of industrial action and the tactics now being deployed by trade unions keen to get their messages across. These include:

  • Ballots, and threats of ballots, for industrial action, used as a tool to persuade employers to negotiate: ONS figures show that in 2011 there were almost 1,000 ballots, of which only 149 were followed by stoppages of work.
  • Street demonstrations, with trade unions making a common cause with other community or political groups, such as on the national ‘day of action’ organised by the TUC in September 2011.
  • Threats to damage an employer’s reputation or brand, which can be quite powerful: in some cases, simply being subject to industrial action can be seen as damaging by the employer.

A blueprint for supporting more British businesses to become employee-owned has been announced by the Minister for Employment Relations, Jo Swinson.

The Government wants to help boost the size of the sector, by ensuring employee ownership is more widely understood and easier to establish.

Responding to recommendations made by Graeme Nuttall in his independent review of the sector, the Government has approved plans for a range of activity that will help to grow the number of businesses that become or convert to the employee ownership model.

The plans include assessing whether to establish an independent Institute for Employee Ownership, an ‘off the shelf’ model for setting up an employee owned business, work to examine the guidance on tax issues relating to employee ownership, a guide for staff and employers to request and agree an employee ownership takeover and work with the John Lewis Partnership to examine the barriers to funding for private sector employee owned companies.

Middle management and junior staff starting their careers are under intense pressure in the workplace, according to a new study published by business performance consultants Lane4.

Almost half of workers (43%) now report feeling under pressure at work, says the study of 1,500 British employees, carried out by OnePoll. Middle management suffer the greatest stress levels, with two in five (39%) under severe stress.

Worryingly, one in five (20%) reported that junior staff just starting their careers also felt extreme pressure.

Because of the current economic climate, over a third (34%) are desperately worried about their job security. As a result, nearly one in five (17%) workers feel they have also been given additional work, increasing their workload dramatically.

Forty-eight percent of workers have actually had their workload increased following redundancies at their company, while nearly a quarter (24%) of workers are taking on extra projects to assist colleagues who are struggling to cope with their workload.

Nationally, both a third of male and female employees had severe fears about their current job. But the survey reveals that the most insecure region is the North West, with one in seven (16%) fearing they could lose their jobs, compared to only 3% of workers in East Anglia.

 

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%).

Outsourcing is set to raise complex challenges for traditional employment relationships, according to workplace experts, Acas.

The past decade has seen a significant growth in organisational restructuring and the use of outsourcing across both the public and private sector. This looks set to continue and businesses will be managing groups of employees with different terms and conditions. Moreover, those employers further down the subcontracting chain are likely to have less control over the terms and conditions of their direct employees.

John Taylor, Acas Chief Executive said:

"Our perceptions of the traditional workplace relationship have changed. Employers and HR professionals need to take time to consider the impact of outsourcing on the 'new organisation' and plan ahead so that employment relations is thought about at every level."

Nearly three quarters of people off work due to illness required adjustments in the workplace to help their return, an analysis of the Department for Work and Pensions Fit for Work Service pilots by Legal & General has shown.

Half of those who returned to work with support from the service reported changed hours of work, whilst two fifths also reported changed duties and reduced workloads.

The findings show that returning to work from illness is often possible but usually requires specialist adjustments and support.

Graduates believe that they have fewer job opportunities than five years ago, despite most companies continuing to offer graduate schemes.

Two thirds of graduates believe that significantly fewer schemes are on offer than in 2007 and three out of five say the majority of their classmates have been unable to secure a graduate job at all.

However, 85% of companies say that they have not cut back their graduate schemes in the last five years, and almost all (98%) report that their scheme is important to their organisation’s future.

Surprisingly, the research, by the Hay Group, shows that graduates are placing less importance on their overall earnings and benefits than last year, with less than one in ten (8%) stating that base salary is one of their top three considerations when applying for a job. This is in contrast to almost half (45%) in 2011.

In addition, just a year ago, more than a third of graduates considered bonus potential to be important, however this year the figure has fallen to just 7%.

Similarly, only 5% are now considering their pensions and healthcare options to be important, compared to 51% in 2011.

Instead, graduates now appear to be more interested in the ability to make a difference, with 51% considering this to be a key factor in their job choice, compared to just 4% last year.

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.  

One in three (32%) employees have taken or forwarded confidential information out of the office on more than one occasion, according to a recent survey commissioned by information management company, Iron Mountain.

The survey discovered that half (51%) of European office workers who take information from their current employer when they switch jobs – 44% of those in the UK – are helping themselves to confidential customer databases, despite data protection laws and records management policies forbidding them to do so.

The study found that employees who resign don’t generally take information out of malice; they do so because they feel a sense of ownership or believe it will be useful in their next role. Two thirds said they had taken or would take information they had been involved in creating, and 72% said they believed the information would be helpful in their new job.

The picture changes, however, when employees lose their job. The study revealed that as many as one in three office workers would deliberately remove and share confidential information if they were fired.

The study suggested that a lack of appropriate information management policies or their ineffective implementation could be a powerful factor in information loss. Only around half of respondents said it was always clear when information was confidential, and a third said they were not aware of any company guidelines regarding what information could or could not be removed from the office.

A survey of UK small and medium-sized business leaders has found that ongoing uncertainty over their near-term economic prospects is putting pressure on them to work more hours for less gain this summer.

The survey, commissioned by AXA Business Insurance, found that nearly two-thirds of respondents lacked optimism over the growth of their business within the next six months, and only just over one-third (36%) are forecasting a greater profit this year compared with last year.

Moreover, 40% of respondents suggested they would not be taking any sort of holiday this summer, and a majority are expecting to earn the same (48%) or less (29%) this year, in comparison with last year.

Continued economic uncertainty across the Eurozone and Government austerity measures were cited as the two biggest drivers behind respondent's lack of optimism, with most suggesting low interest rates, the London Olympics and other milestone events having no effect on their economic outlooks.

Respondents also demonstrated a cautious approach to managing recruitment, with only 9% suggesting they were planning on hiring new staff by the end of the year. Of those with no hiring plans (91%), most believed they won't require the extra resource (55%).

The average UK worker now puts in more than three weeks of overtime a year – just by answering calls and emails at home, a new study reveals.

In a survey of UK working adults, sponsored by Good Technology, 93% of people continue working when they have left the office – for a total of three hours and 31 minutes each week.  That's a total of 15 hours a month or 183 hours a year – the equivalent of 23 extra working days a year.

But while half do it simply to stay organised, 20% want to impress the boss by putting in the extra hours. A further 37% reply to work emails in bed to keep on top of things.  But they’re also using their mobiles to mix work and their personal life in ways never seen before.

The study also revealed:

• 66% of people check their work emails before 7.00 a.m.
• The average UK worker checks their phone at 6:51 a.m.
• More than a third of people confess that they respond to work emails from bed
• 61% use their commute to read and reply to work emails
• The work day is getting longer – 15% still respond to work email after 10 p.m.
• 65% don’t go to sleep until they’ve had a final check of work emails
• 33% can’t get through Saturday morning without checking their work email
• 29% routinely check work emails whilst at the dinner table; another 16% report actually replying to work emails during their evening meal
• 38% now think their job would be impossible without mobile email
• 15% of UK workers even carry two phones – one for work, one for personal use
• 42% use the same device for both work and personal activity

 

A raft of reforms have been announced after the Red Tape Challenge looked at how to simplify the Equality Act and remove unnecessary legislation.

Businesses and the wider public will be able to have their say on the reforms in a series of consultations. These will look at proposals to streamline the employment tribunal process and to scrap the Third Party Harassment law, which makes bosses liable if a member of staff is harassed by a customer.

The government will also clarify disability law for employers and remove the Socio-Economic Duty – which would have forced public bodies to consider class-based inequality when developing policy.

And it will review the Public Sector Equality Duty to establish whether this is the best way to ensure public bodies consider the impact of their decisions on different groups.

Employees who don't get deeply involved with their work are more likely to suffer burn out or emotional exhaustion and have lower levels of well-being, according to a new study.

Researchers from Kingston University's Business School gave 227 British workers, mostly in their 30s, standard tests used to measure engagement and motivation. They found that the 15% who were watching the clock and felt the most withdrawn from their work also reported the highest levels of burn out. Feeling alienated at work caused feelings of frustration and apathy, often leading to lower levels of well-being, the study found.

"You might expect someone who is withdrawn from their work to be more balanced and less emotionally-drained because they have time for other things in their life," Dr Kerstin Alfes from Kingston Business School said.  "But actually we found that it's these people who are having severe problems with stress-related exhaustion.”

The study also found that individuals are less likely to feel withdrawn from work when they derive meaning from it and feel that their skills, knowledge and experience are being fully utilised.  "If people are given ownership of their work, see the impact it has on beneficiaries and understand how they fit into the bigger picture, they feel much more positive about work," Dr Alfes said.

In the Queen's Speech at the official state opening of Parliament, the Government has outlined its priorities for the coming Parliamentary year.

With regards to employment, the Government intends to introduce an Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which will:

  • Overhaul the employment tribunal system.
  • Transform the dispute resolution landscape.
  • Strengthen the framework for setting directors’ pay by introducing binding votes.
  • Extend the Primary Authority scheme, reduce inspection burdens on business and strengthen the legal framework for sunset clauses on regulation.
  • Cut the burden on business and citizens by repealing unnecessary legislation.

The Chartered Management Institute welcomed the announcement. Petra Wilton, Director of Policy and Research, commented:

“These welcome measures should provide greater freedom for managers and leaders to create working environments that can fully engage employees and help drive UK economic growth. CMI’s member surveys show that more flexible working arrangements and shared parental leave have been demanded for many years by the majority of managers. The new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which promises to repeal unnecessary legislation and limit state inspections of companies is also very welcome, but businesses leaders will need to see the detail to see how much of the regulatory burden will be lifted in practice.” 

New research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has found that three quarters of employers report a lack of leadership and management skills and too many managers have an inflated opinion of their ability to manage people.

According to the CIPD’s research, 72% of employers report a deficit of leadership and management skills. However, the CIPD’s quarterly Employee Outlook survey of 2,000 employees also suggests that one problem in tackling this skills deficit is that many managers don’t know how bad they are at managing people.

Eight out of ten managers say they think their staff are satisfied or very satisfied with them as a manager whereas just 58% of employees report this is the case. This ‘reality gap’ matters as the survey finds a very clear link between employees who say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their manager and those that are engaged – i.e. willing to go the extra mile for their employer.

The CIPD research found a significant contrast between how managers say they manage their people and the views of their employees.

  • Six in ten (61%) of managers claim they meet each person they manage at least twice a month to talk about their workload, meeting objectives and other work-related issues. However, just 24% of employees say they meet their managers with such frequency.
  • More than 90% of managers say they sometimes or always coach the people they manage when they meet, while only 40% of employees agree.
  • Three quarters (75%) of managers say they always/sometimes discuss employees’ development and career progression during one to ones, but just 38% of employees say this happens.
  • There are similar gaps in views between managers and employees on how often managers: joint problem solve with employees; discuss ideas employees might have to improve the business; and discuss employees’ wellbeing.

UK organisations are struggling to cope with Olympics staffing challenges, as many employees (21%) are willing to take unauthorised time off to watch high profile events. Even the risk of being caught is not a deterrence, and UK bosses admit that almost a third of skivers are likely to go unpunished.

Research sponsored by SunGard Availability Services reveals only 22% of workers think their organisation is prepared for disruption brought about by the Olympic Games and only 9% have received communication on flexible working policies for this time.

With almost a third (31%) of employees expecting holiday packages, new technology devices and flexible working hours to be introduced to their working life, organisations will likely be stretched and in a state of flux as it is – without counting the potential cost of employee absenteeism.

SunGard's Keith Tilley commented that: “Communication is the key factor in planning for any disruption. Outlining expectations and educating staff on continuity plans will lay the essential groundwork for continued productivity during the Games, and offers a chance to fine tune working practices for future planned and unplanned incidents.” 

Employees across the globe have experienced unprecedented economic turmoil, and, as a result, are restless regarding future career goals. Many are unhappy in their jobs and are actively searching for new opportunities. Others are content with their current employment position but are seeking greater engagement and meaning from their positions.

These findings are part of the latest survey results from the Kelly Global Workforce Index, an annual survey conducted by Kelly Services.

Overall, less than half (44%) of the global workforce feels valued by their employer and two-thirds (66% intend to look for a new job with another organisation in the next year.

The survey finds that among the main workforce generations, Gen X (aged 31-48) are more likely to be thinking about resigning their current jobs than either Gen Y (19-30) or Baby Boomers (49-66).

The survey results also found when evaluating potential employers, the number one factor job seekers regard or consider is corporate brand/reputation (58%) followed by location (52%). In essence, the corporate brand is becoming the employment brand, and resonates strongly with candidates as they weigh their employment options, especially for skilled professional and technical employees.

Across the generational groups, the way that individuals weigh their job choices varies as people age. Personal fulfillment/work-life balance becomes progressively more important as people mature, and is the predominant consideration among Baby Boomers. But for Gen Y, when choosing to accept one job over another, the leading consideration is personal growth/advancement. Among all generations, personal fulfillment/work-life balance and personal growth/advancement both outweigh compensation and benefits when choosing one job over another.

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