The latest HR news from the world of work:
Flexible working finding favour amongst workers
New research just published has found that almost 9 in 10 (87%) of the UK’s full-time workers either already works flexibly or would like to do so. Yet despite a majority of employees now working flexibly only a minority of job ads mentions flexibility. The study by Timewise surveyed more than 3000 people and found that flexible working was finding favour amongst men (84%) almost as much as women (91%). What’s more, 7 out of 10 millennials working full-time already work flexibly. Provided an employee has been working at your company for at least 26 weeks, they have a legal right to request flexible working hours – while firms are not legally obliged to grant it, employers must consider any proposal for flexible working in a ‘reasonable manner’.
Mind the gap – Gender Pay
The internet giant with the motto ‘Do no evil’, Google has found itself hauled up over its unequal gender pay. Three women filed a lawsuit this month claiming they received lower wages than their male co-workers despite having the same qualifications and doing the same work. The lawsuit is seeking to become a class-action which means that the ‘world’s best company’ could find itself paying years of lost wages to thousands of its female employees. This follows other high-profile cases hitting the headlines, including the recent case of the BBC’s “Bloated Blokes Club.” It’s a salutary reminder to businesses everywhere, large or small, to ensure they treat all employees fairly.
Long commutes put off workers from staying
Hanging on to good employees is the theme of a survey highlighted by HRMagazine this month. It cites a Vodafone survey which found that 60% of workers would leave their firm for a shorter (33%) or less frequent (32%) commute. Under half of workers (48%) surveyed said they liked their commute. With current high employment rates and recruitment costs, businesses are advised to explore ways of easing commuting headaches – solutions include investing in technology which allows employees to work from home when possible e.g. cloud-based automated systems allows working from home and flexible working for managers and supervisors in particular. As well as increasing productivity, it improves a company’s carbon footprint too.
The huge cost of mental health for UK employers
A new report has highlighted how mental health problems in the UK workforce cost employers almost £35 billion last year. The Centre for Mental Health revealed this huge cost in a report, Mental Health at Work, which broke down the overall business costs as follows:
- £10.6 billion in sickness absence
- £21.2 billion in reduced productivity at work
- £3.1 billion in replacing staff who leave their jobs because of their mental health.
A Deloitte report earlier this year foreshadowed these findings in their own report about whether workplace mental health and wellbeing was at a tipping point. Their poll in 2014 revealed “that a staggering 95 per cent of people who have had to take time off due to workplace stress did not feel able to give their employer the real reason”. It highlights the need for businesses to keep employee wellbeing at the top of their agenda.
Are you ready for the auto-enrolment deadline?
And finally, a quick reminder for SMEs that HR and payroll teams need to ensure they are ready for the pensions auto-enrolment process. Since the government announced its plans in the Pensions Act 2008 for employees to improve retirement savings many firms have been transitioning to the new system which obliges all qualifying employees to save into a workplace pension. Any lagging or new employers need to ensure they have their systems in place by their own staging date before the process is due to be completed in February 2018. The new system is compulsory for all employers with non-compliance attracting fines and penalties from the Pensions Regulator.
Prepare your business for the latest HR developments with the Chronologic Workforce Management System – it can help you keep track of flexible workers, monitor any growing health issues, analyse pay data and ensure you are on top of management information.