Full round-up of the Government’s Work and Parents Green Paper released last week

first_imgElaineAaron, partner oflegal firm Eversheds·       “Theonly new, ground-breaking part is the rights for fathers to work reduced hoursuntil the end of maternity leave. There will be an administrative andlogistical strain for employers if fathers and mothers decide to work reducedhours after the maternity period ends.” Employerstot up leave costsAlarm bellsare ringing over the cost of implementing the Government’s wide-rangingproposals to improve the rights of working parents.Accordingto the Green Paper, it will cost employers £1.9m a week for cover if one infive working fathers reduces their hours by 25 per cent, although no price tagis given if all parents choose to work part time indefinitely. The CBIsays it is opposed to the right of employees to return to work on a part-timebasis, citing lack of flexibility. Also, thechanges will cost employers £40m for eight weeks extra statutory leave, plus£18m for each additional week of cover for paid leave and £9m for eachadditional week of cover for unpaid maternity leave.Thetwo-week paternity leave proposal will cost employees £18m plus £10m for each 1per cent of men who opt to take up their partners’ unpaid maternity leaveallowance. JohnAdsett, head of project development of Basildon Thurrock General HospitalsTrust, said, “If the figures are correct, this is not acceptable to employers.”For thechemicals sector, Garry Bothe, HR manager of Bayer, said, “From a cost point ofview it is not financially viable to opt to reduce your hours if you are afemale director or manager.”TheGovernment argues its Green Paper proposals could save employers up to £30m inrecruitment and retention costs overall, if only 10 per cent per more mothersreturn to work. Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers was adamant thatemployers would have to bite the bullet, saying “Retaining the status quo isnot an option – things have got to change”. Related posts:No related photos. FeedbackMikeEmmott, employeerelations adviser at the CIPD·       “Entitlementto paternity leave is a welcome move in the light of consistent evidence thatfamily-friendly policies and flexible working practices benefit both employersand employees. Benefits include increases through lower absence, turnover andincreased loyalty.” JohnAdsett, head ofproject development at Basildon Thurrock General’s Hospital Trust·       “TheNHS isn’t really ready for introducing two weeks’ paid paternity leave at themoment but if it comes in as a statutory right, we’ll have no choice. Theoption for giving parents the rights to work reduced hours will only work ifthey take reduced pay.” Should firms bear the brunt?Thematernity pay proposals  include anincrease in paid leave for mothers from 18 weeks to 26 weeks. Unpaid maternityleave could increase to six months, and there could also be an increase in theflat rate of maternity, from £60.20 to a possible £100.Bothparents could also equally share any increase on existing unpaid maternityleave. It hassparked a debate over whether employers should bear the costs of extendedmaternity pay. David Yeandle, deputy director of employment policy forEngineering Employers’ Federation, said, “The Government has two options: toincrease the statutory maternity pay of £60 which is primarily a cost to beborne by the state, or pay the same amount but for a longer period of time. “About 93per cent of the statutory maternity pay is reimbursed, but this is not a costthat employers should have to bear. If we are acting as a agent of the state,then we should get full reimbursement of what we pay out.” Don Ward, chief executive for theConstruction Industry Board ·       “ThisGreen Paper could be very helpful in construction’s campaign to bring morewomen into the industry. It will give us a level playing field with otherindustries and make us more competitive for good employees.” Full round-up of the Government’s Work and Parents Green Paper released last weekOn 12 Dec 2000 in Personnel Today JoannaFoster, chairwomanof the Work-Life Forum at the Industrial Society·       “StephenByers has got the balance of work-life exactly right. By offering men paidpaternity leave, the Government is legitimising the role of the father.”center_img DavidYeandle, deputydirector of employment policy for Engineering Employers’ Federation·       “Theoption of giving both parents the right to work reduced hours after maternityleave raises enormous problems for employers. The idea of giving mothers andfathers a statutory right to return to work on a part-time basis is an area ofconcern as we believe this will have a detrimental effect on businessefficiency and competitiveness.” Price tagEmployercosts according to the Green Paper:·       £8m or £200 per employee one-offimplementation cost of proposals·       £5m for each additional £10 a week statutorymaternity pay·       £18m for each additional week of coverneeded for maternity leave ·       £9m For each additional week of coverfor unpaid maternity leave·       £18m paternity leave·       £1.9m for each week of cover if one infive working fathers reduces their hours by 25 per cent HelenFroud, director ofcorporate services at Worcestershire County Council·       “Theincrease in the flat rate of maternity pay may cause some turbulence, but it’snot really a huge amount. If you’re on a reasonable salary, it won’t make muchdifference.” Previous Article Next Article £100 perweek paternity pay-outFatherscould be given two weeks’ paid paternity leave at the same new rate as mothers.It isbelieved they will be paid about £100 a week during their paternity leave. If theGreen Paper becomes law next year, fathers will also have the right to workreduced hours for up to a year after the birth, if they return to work early. Significantly,they will also be able to work reduced hours for as long as they like once thematernity period ends.HelenFroud, director of corporate services at Worcestershire County Council, echoedthe views of many organisations when she said, “Men have been the poorerrelation in parenthood so it is about time things changed for the good.Business will just have to get on with it.”Many largecorporations appear unperturbed by the proposals. David Glynn, HR director ofCoca-Cola, claimed it already has a similar paternity leave structure and doesnot think that extending it would cost the company a significant amount. Althoughcertain sectors with a high number of men in the workforce feared theimplications. Don Ward, chief executive of the Construction Industry Board,said, “Construction employers are probably not ready for two weeks’ paidmaternity leave, but they will just have to adapt.”Public-sectorHR directors were concerned by the effects of paternity leave on staffinglevels. Lew Swift, head of HR at Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery,said, “This is already an industry heavily hit by maternity leave – if men aregiven equal rights as well, the NHS could be in trouble.” Comments are closed. last_img read more


In on the act: Indirect Discrimination and Burden of Proof Regulations

first_imgFeatures list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a… Our continuing series of quick guides to major employment legislation putskey information at your fingertips and brings you up to date with the latestdevelopments. This week Jane Brown, senior solicitor with the employment teamat Manches, looks at changes to sex discrimination law, with the recentintroduction of the Indirect Discrimination and Burden of Proof RegulationsMost employers are all too familiar with the provisions of the SexDiscrimination Act 1975 (SDA). However, not everyone will be as well acquaintedwith the recent changes to sex discrimination law in the Sex Discrimination(Indirect Discrimination and Burden of Proof) Regulations 2001 (the Regulations),which came into force on 12 October 2001 and implement the EC Burden of ProofDirective. Since it is principally women who benefit from the sex discrimination laws,this article will refer to them as the claimants, although of course the lawalso applies to men. A common area where the SDA applies is where an employer turns down arequest from a female employee with young children to work part-time. She canusually show that the requirement to work full-time adversely affects morewomen than men, since women are more likely to be primary carers for children.Even so, a woman still has to satisfy several criteria before she can prove shehas been discriminated against, but these have been relaxed by the Regulations.Indirect discrimination Prior to the Regulations, indirect discrimination was defined as occurringwhere an employer applies a requirement or condition to a female employee whichit applies equally to men, but is such that: – The proportion of women who can comply with it is considerably smallerthan the proportion of men – The employer cannot show it to be justifiable irrespective of gender – It is to the employee’s detriment because she cannot comply with it Relaxed test The changes introduced by the Regulations should make it easier foremployees, by removing the following two hurdles: Requirement or condition Under the Regulations, an employee needn’t prove a requirement or conditionhas been applied to her. All she has to show is that her employer has applied a‘provision, criterion or practice’. Women will undoubtedly find it easier tosatisfy this test by challenging non-contractual practices, such as a longhours culture, or recruitment criteria which are desirable but not essential. Compliance A woman no longer has to show she cannot comply with the ‘provision,criterion or practice’ – she only has to show it is to her detriment. Again,this will make it easier to prove discrimination. If an employer refuses a request from a woman with young children to movefrom full-time to part-time work, for example, she will have to demonstratethat working full-time is to her detriment, but she will no longer have to showshe could not comply with it. In the past this has proved an obstacle to bringing a successful claim forhigh-earning women. For example, in Sykes v JP Morgan (unreported), thetribunal said that because Sykes could afford childcare, she could comply withthe requirement to work full-time (although this case is being appealed). There is still a ‘get out of jail’ card for employers, however. Under theRegulations, as previously, even if an employee manages to prove thatdiscrimination has occurred, the employer can still defeat her claim by provingthe discrimination was justified. In the example of a woman with childrenrequesting part-time work, the employer would need to demonstrate why the jobcannot be done on a part-time basis. Burden of Proof Until now, employment tribunals have had some discretion over the questionof whether inferences of discrimination should be drawn in cases where theemployer has not provided an adequate explanation for its behaviour. The Regulations have amended the SDA so that where an employee hasestablished facts which point to discrimination, tribunals are now obliged toinfer discrimination unless the employer can prove otherwise. At first sight it may look as if this is not a significant change – this iscertainly the view the Government takes in its guidance to the Regulations.However, there is an important difference, since the Regulations require thetribunal to find for the employee if it has not been convinced by theemployer’s answer. In the past (for example in Sidhu v Aerospace CompositeTechnology, 2001, ICR 167 (CA) tribunals have not always so found because theyhave had absolute discretion in this respect. A further development From April 2003, legislation is due to provide both mothers and fathers ofchildren under six (or of disabled children under 18) with a legal right torequest flexible working hours. Workers will be entitled to a full explanation in writing from an employerwho chooses to reject such a request, with a right, as a last resort, to go toan employment tribunal. This will be separate from and in addition to anyrights under the SDA. Conclusion It is becoming easier for employees to bring discrimination claims. Thismeans employers must deal carefully with requests for part-time work fromfemale employees, in particular, and it is likely their only hope will be torely on justification arguments. Decisions concerning recruitment, promotion, requests for part-time work andso on, must also be handled and documented scrupulously. If not, employers facecostly discrimination cases. Comments are closed. Related posts:center_img Previous Article Next Article In on the act: Indirect Discrimination and Burden of Proof RegulationsOn 29 Jan 2002 in Indirect discrimination, Personnel Todaylast_img read more


Private sector not interested in me

first_imgI have worked in HR in the public sector for a number of years and althoughI worked in the private sector before, and have since developed a wider rangeand depth of HR experience, I am finding that private-sector employers are notinterested in my CV. What can I do differently to help me open up opportunitiesin the private sector? Anna Cook, project co-ordinator, Chiumento It is not uncommon for employers in the private sector to be reluctant to takeon people from the public sector. The key to opening up opportu-nities is toprove you have what they need. Ensure that your CV focuses on experience rather than past employers, sorewrite it as a functional CV not the chronological version. List key achievements and highlight hard results, such as savings on budget,percentage increase in efficiency etc, so prospective employers can see you arefocused on the bottom line and on managing change. Include the skills whichenabled you to make these achievements. Research the business issues which companies are applying to are facing orlikely to face in the future and show that you have delivered in these areas inyour career. Use your contacts to the full. Talk to people in the commercial sector aboutyour experience and ask them for the names of anyone you can be introduced tofor an initial meeting. Make sure your skills and experience are top of mind. Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy Unlike the public sector, it is possible to gain interviews for jobs bysending your CV directly to the personnel department. Look at local companiesand target those which are recruiting. Ensure you send a covering letter with your CV that makes the most of yourprivate sector experience. Review your CV to make sure it shows yourachievements and highlights areas that would be of interest to private sectorcompanies, such as budget experience, managing people and meeting deadlines. You should also consider talking to specialist HR recruitment consultanciesas they can provide help in your job search. It is also worth remembering that in the current economic climate there aremore public sector vacancies than private sector so expect it to take timebefore you find the right opportunity. Grant Taylor, recruitment consultant, public sector specialist,Macmillan Davies Hodes Organisations prefer candidates who have an understanding of their businessenvironment, so if you are applying for a role in the NHS, prior experience inproviding HR services to healthcare professionals gives you an advantage. You actually have more to offer a private sector business. Large parts ofthe public sector are really quite dynamic, currently going through majorchanges, and commercial in the sense that budgets are tight and justifying yourexistence as a non-core service cost is difficult. Match your skills and experience directly with the role by tailoring yourCV. Expand on the essential areas of experience and cut down on those that areof secondary importance. Imagine you are the person matching your CV to the role. Think of all theobjections you would have and then counter them. Spell out how your time in the public sector has broadened your experienceand refined and improved your HR skills. A highly focused application is difficult to reject, if it is relevant,researched and exudes confidence. Make sure you tailor your CV and cover letterfor every job. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Private sector not interested in meOn 26 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more


Skills framework gives call centres a boost

first_imgE-skillsUK has developed a careers and skills framework for the call centre industry,designed to raise the level of training activity and improve the sector’simage. Formedfrom the merger of ITNTO and e-business NTO, e-skills UK has been approved tomove to the development stage to become a Sector Skills Council, with callcentres part of its remit. ItsCall2Contact business unit has worked with consultancy Accenture to find outfrom a wide cross-section of around 80 employers, professional bodies and stakeholderswhat the important skills issues are and to develop a strategic plan for futuresuccess. The resulting framework identifies sets of skills and knowledge andlinks them to job roles and career paths that contact centre staff – from newentrants to managers – can pursue.Theaim of the framework is to make UK contact centre professionals better skilledand motivated so they can deliver higher levels of service to customers andmake Britain a centre of excellence within the industry.Mappingskills against national occupational standards has enabled the prospective SSCto identify gaps in the national standards and qualifications framework. Itwill help check that existing training provision is fit for purpose andrelevant to employers.  E-skillsUK is keen to work with employers on implementing the framework and receivingfeedback on its use.Theframework has the backing of the Call Centre Association and the Call CentreManagers Association, together with many in-house and outsource groups. PaulineNewbury, UK HR project manager at outsourcing provider Sitel will beimplementing the framework across the company’s five sites, which employ 2,500people. It will bolt on to Sitel’s existing training processes and deliver anumber of benefits. Forfurther information contact Andrew Palmer at [email protected]; Tel:020 7963 8920; www.e-skills.comByElaine Essery Skills framework gives call centres a boostOn 1 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more


Pay parity timebomb carries unlimited risk

first_imgPay parity timebomb carries unlimited riskOn 3 Dec 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. The number one priority for HR this week is to take a look at your paysystems for men and women and be sure your business is operating on a levelplaying field. The penalties for those short-changing women or failing to eliminate paydiscrimination will be severe in future and the damage to an organisation’sreputation could be too awful to contemplate. Employers falling foul of the equal pay questionnaires being introduced nextApril face harsher compensation claims than first thought (see page one). UnderUK law employers currently have a six-year limit on back pay compensation forequal pay claims, but respected commentators are now warning this will beoverturned at the European Court of Justice and replaced by an unlimitedapproach to compensation – perhaps for the full length of service. The Government is taking pay bias very seriously following the KingsmillReview on Women’s Employment and Pay. Voluntary targets are the current stateof play, but mandatory measures could come later. The majority of employers do not deliberately discriminate, but HR cannotignore this timebomb and delay carrying out pay audits, no matter how difficultit might be. Research suggests more than 80 per cent of employers are at risk from equalpay claims from female staff and the same proportion are not confident thatthey pay fairly. To make matters worse, very few managers are trained in equalpay issues. Some organisations such as Legal & General and Birmingham City Councilrecognise their vulnerability and have taken action already, but they are theminority. If you think your business may be at risk, do a pay audit now. Look forgender disparities, perhaps resulting from mergers or acquisitions and, wherenecessary, seek help from the CIPD or the Equal Opportunities Commission, whichhas produced a five-step Equal Pay Kit. It’s more than 30 years since equal pay legislation was introduced, yet theUK’s gender pay gap is still one of the biggest in Europe. Unison calculatesits women members earn an average of 50-60p for every £1 a man earns. Thesooner HR gets to grips with this, the sooner women will feel truly valued inthe workplace. By Jane Kinglast_img read more


Firefighters’ pay talks to resume

first_img Comments are closed. Talks aimed at settling the firefighters’ pay dispute are expected tocontinue at conciliation body Acas this week. Discussions between Fire Brigades Union officials and representatives fromthe Employers Organisation for Local Government have been on hold over theChristmas period. The talks follow the publication in December of the independent review offire service pay and conditions by Sir George Bain, which calls for HR in thefire service to be radically overhauled. It claims the fire service only payslip service to diversity (over 95 per cent of staff are male), and bullying isstill too widespread. Bain wants the number of local HR staff increased to help managers altershift patterns, the introduction of flexible and part-time working arrangementsand different levels of staff deployed at various times of day. Val Shawcross, chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority,said: “The best strategy for providing effective fire cover in a denselypopulated area is very different from that of providing best cover for thebusiness and entertainment capital. We need flexibility to recognise and adaptto those differences.” However, the FBU has dismissed the report as an irrelevance as it proposesonly a 4 per cent pay increase this year, and a further 7 per cent next year –well short of the union’s demand for a 40 per cent pay rise. Previous Article Next Article Firefighters’ pay talks to resumeOn 7 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


Appraisals used to gauge development skills gap

first_imgAppraisals used to gauge development skills gapOn 4 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. n Nine out of 10 firms use appraisals to identify skills gaps anddevelopment needs, according to a study carried out by IRS Employment Review. More than half of public sector bodies and over a third of private sectororganisations use the process to target training and development needs. Eight in 10 use it to evaluate performance – 46 per cent in the public and36 per cent in the private sector while a third want to identify andacknowledge performance and ensure managers communicate with staff. A fifth use appraisals to make reward decisions, this is more often the casethan in the private sector – 15 per cent – than in the public sector at 4 percent. Identifying poor performance is the reason given by 17 per cent of the 95respondents (54 public and 41 private) and increasing productivity is cited byjust 9 per cent. weblink 020 7354 5858, Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more



first_imgLettersOn 1 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today This month’s lettersApril Fool not so far-fetched?Thank you to Joan Lewis and Linda Goldman for revealing the future of OH in‘A political issue’ (Occupational Health, April 2003). As the powerful collective of OH nursing organisations begins to flex itslobbying muscle, I allow myself to dream about the outcome. If I were to ask you to suspend your disbelief and dream with me, with nopossibility of failure, tell me this: – Who will the minister be? – Can we influence this decision? – What will a minister for occupational health do for our profession? – When will the collective reach a critical mass? – Does the collective know your views? Yes, I believe a critical mass is needed. Each voice that we can add to thecollective brings it more power. I urge you to add yours. Do you share thisdream? If this dream is to become a reality, what action do you (yes you) need totake? Claire Raistrick Advocate for the ‘Department of Occupational Health’ Editor’s reply: In the April issue of OH, we published an April Fool’sarticle by Linda Goldman and Joan Lewis, which described plans to introduce anew extra-governmental organisation to reorganise internal processes (EGOTRIP),with the formation of a Department for Occupational Health. But maybe this ideais not as far-fetched as it first seemed? Management holds key to absenteeismReading the April edition of Occupational Health, it is interesting, but notsurprising, that three articles are dedicated to the issue of absenteeism andrehabilitation in the workplace. The absence of an employee for a long period of time naturally puts pressureon an organisation, in terms of the costs of covering absence and also themorale of team workers. Achieving the smooth return to work of an employee who has been absent forsome time, requires early steps to be taken to establish a non-threateningrapport with the individual concerned. If the emphasis in managing sickness absence transfers from the GP to theemployer, (as correctly outlined in Graham Johnson’s article ‘Sickness absencecure’), it is essential that management has the appropriate skills andexpertise to deal with this issue. I have met many managers who see the return-to-work interview as justanother procedure that has to be carried out. Bill, one of my client departmental managers, told me: “It is justsomething I usually do while walking down the corridor, and I get the employeeto sign on the dotted line before I even get to my office.” If management are to be proactively involved in this process, they need afull understanding of the reasons behind the initiative, and training to ensurethey have good communication skills, so that discussions between them and theiremployees take place as an ongoing process, and not just when they are absent. Management has the key to absenteeism. OH is essentially in place whenneeded for its specific expertise, but management are there on the shopfloor toidentify and diffuse issues as and when they occur, and before they get out ofhand. The ‘Bills’ of this world cannot be expected to perform their jobeffectively, unless they have the tools to do the job. People are not necessarily born ‘good communicators and listeners’. Theyneed training, and organisations need to invest in developing people managementskills. Carole Spiers Carole Spiers Group, Corporate Wellbeing Consultants Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


Financial services firm outsources temp recruitment

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Financial services firm outsources temp recruitmentOn 11 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today Prudentialfinancial services has outsourced all its temporary recruitment, claiming thatoutsourcing HR functions has brought greater control, assurance and savings tothe company. SpringGroup Plc has taken over all temporary staffing at Prudential, a move thatfollows the outsourcing of all permanent staffing to AMG.Accordingto Prudential, outsourcing has contributed to a 33 per cent drop in the costbase of HR, and the fall in the number of HR officers from 405 in 2001, to 220in 2003.RussellMartin, HR director at Prudential, said that while part of the HR function hadbeen outsourced, it remained deeply woven into the fabric of the company, withconsultants attending regular briefings and enjoying a very comfortablerelationship with the rest of HR.”Thisis an evolutionary process. We have looked at the whole HR model to create HRbusiness partnerships and HR specialisation,” he said. “Now we can besure we will get staff with the right kind of experience for the right kind ofroles.”Prudentialalready operates an HR system where line managers trained in employee relationsskills are responsible for the well-being of their staff. Comments are closed. last_img read more


Caffeine control guidelines launched

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Caffeine control guidelines launchedOn 1 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today TheDepartment of Safety has issued new guidance on the amount of caffeine thatworkers can legally imbibe each day.Thepublication, Controlling Caffeine – Creating a healthier work environment,warns that workers must keep and maintain a daily record (written orelectronic) of their daily caffeine consumption (DCC) at work. Employers mustensure that such records are kept.Dailycaffeine records (DCR) must be kept for at least three months and must beavailable for inspection during normal offices hours to assigned inspectorsfrom a number of prescribed government organisations, including environmentalhealth inspectors from the Department of Safety.Allworkers (unless they are exempt or partially exempt workers) must not exceed acaffeine consumption of 250 milligrams within 24 hours. This limit is referredto as the personal caffeine limit (PCL).If,for any reason, a non-exempt worker exceeds the PCL, it will represent a‘caffeine excess incident’ under amendments to the Reporting of Injuries,Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).  All ‘caffeine excess incidents’ have to bereported to the Department of Safety by the quickest means possible.Workersand employers reporting ‘caffeine excess incidents’ will receive information,advice and, if appropriate, counselling. TheDepartment of Safety has wide powers to enter and search business premises, toseize suspected caffeine containing beverages (CCB) and to prosecute bothworkers and employers.Exemptworkers, as defined in Schedule 4, include night workers (as defined in theWorking Time Regulations 1998), homeworkers and staff in certain exemptworkplaces, including offshore installations, the NHS, academic establishmentsduring certain parts of the academic year, journalism and actuarial services.RichardBretton, Health & Safety Partner at law firm Osborne Clarke, said: “TheBritish tradition of ‘making a brew’ will shortly become a thing of the past,and vending machines selling hot drinks, cola and chocolate will soon bebanished from every workplace.” TheControl of Caffeine at Work Regulations 2004 implements the provisions of theCaffeine Consumption Directive 301/2002 and the remaining elements of the YoungWorkers Directive 128/1999.  Theregulations were drafted by the Department of Safety (DoS) under the EuropeanCommunities Act 1972, section 2(2) and create a number of new onerousrequirements.Forfurther information visit read more