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Do UK employers care more about the mental health of their employees?

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, UK employers are more likely to offer staff mental health support at work than the global average. The survey found 36% of employers in the UK offered mental health counselling to their staff, compared to just 21% of organisations globally.

Deloitte surveyed over 200 UK employers as part of their 2018 Global Human Capital Trends. According to the results 88% of employers in the UK are working towards improving employee wellbeing, by offering wellness and work life balance programmes in the workplace. This compares to a global average of 82%.

This report follows on from an independent review published by Stevenson-Farmer, which found poor mental health costs the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion a year.  With a reported return of up to £9.00 for every £1.00 invested in workplace intervention programmes the return on investment where such programmes are introduced is clear to see.

The good news is that the importance of addressing mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is being recognised in the UK with 60% of CEO’s reporting that mental health support is considered a priority.  Despite this poor mental health is on the rise with the number of fit notes issued by GP’s for mental illness increasing by 13.5% in 2017.  Additionally, while many are committed to prioritising mental health, the Reward & Employee Benefits Association found that only 16% of CEO’s had a strategy in place to improve it.  In addition, the quality of the mental health programmes offered in the workplace are often quite basic with only 5% of UK employers offering what Deloitte referred to as “extensive” wellbeing programmes, which are actively tracked to measure the impact on workplace productivity and efficiency.

Employers play a key role in supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, particularly in today’s fast-moving work environment.  Whilst the UK is ahead of the global averages, it is clear that more investment in mental health strategies and support in the workplace is required. 

For advice and guidance on how to support employee mental health and wellbeing please contact a member of the team.

 

Do UK employers care more about the mental health of their employees?

GDPR – are your interests legitimate?

Under the GDPR the requirements for consent will be much stricter, particularly in the employment context, where it is generally accepted that the imbalance of power between the employer and employee is likely to invalidate any consent given by the employee. In this context, employers may turn increasingly to "legitimate interests" as the lawful basis for processing their employees' personal data.
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GDPR – are your interests legitimate?

Taylor Review – update

The House of Commons Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees (the Committees) made recommendations in November 2017 for addressing the issues raised in the Taylor Review. These included:
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Taylor Review – update

The “Windrush” generation – the similarities for EU nationals

The UK government's immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, has set out the government's commitment to support the "Windrush" generation. The "Windrush" generation is a reference to the ship, the Empire Windrush, that brought workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948.
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The “Windrush” generation – the similarities for EU nationals

The Apprenticeship Levy, has it worked?

The Apprenticeship Levy has now been in force for a year. The government's aim in introducing the Levy was to reverse the decline in the use of apprenticeships by ring fencing funds which would be set aside in order to tackle skills shortages. One year on, has it worked?
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The Apprenticeship Levy, has it worked?

No requirement to enhance pay for shared parental leave

We blogged in June last year about the employment tribunal claim of Ali -v- Capita Customer Management Ltd where Mr Ali was successful in his claim for direct sex discrimination.  Female employees at Capita were entitled to 14 weeks’ full pay on maternity leave whereas fathers were only entitled to two weeks’ full pay on paternity and shared parental leave.  Mr Ali’s wife was advised to return to work early from maternity leave after being diagnosed with post natal depression.  Mr Ali asked Capita whether he could take leave instead and was told he could take shared parental leave on statutory pay.  The Tribunal found that this was direct sex discrimination.

The EAT disagreed and yesterday overturned the decision of the Tribunal.  They found that maternity pay is inextricably linked to the reason for maternity leave which is the health and wellbeing of a woman in pregnancy and following childbirth.  That is not comparable with a man on shared parental leave.  The correct comparator is a woman on shared parental leave.  Parents of either sex could take shared parental leave on the same terms so there was no direct sex discrimination.

Employers across the country will be breathing a collective sigh of relief following this decision.  It remains to be seen whether the case is appealed further but, in the meantime, this is reassuring for those employers who do not enhance pay for paternity or shared parental leave in the same way as maternity leave.

 

No requirement to enhance pay for shared parental leave

GDPR: subject access requests – what’s new?

Do not be complacent, GDPR is making some subtle but important changes to the well-known system for subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998 ……

Shorter timescale for response

Employers will have to respond “without delay” to requests and at the latest within one month of receiving the request. There are limited grounds for a 2 month extension but the employer must (a) notify the employee that more time will be required within the first month of the request, and (b) givethe reason for the extension.  Under the Data Protection Act 1998 employers had 40 days to respond.

No fee

Gone is the £10 fee regime under the Data Protection Act 1998. Under GDPR employers must provide a copy of the requested information FREE of charge unless (a) the request is ‘manifestly unfounded or excessive’ (we await further guidance on what this actually means…in the meantime we would suggest you don’t rely on it), or (b) the information requested has already been provided.  In those cases a fee may be charged where it is reasonable and reflects the actual administrative cost.

Refusing to respond

Where requests are ‘manifestly unfounded or excessive’ (this is anticipated to be a high threshold to meet) an employer can refuse to respond. However an explanation must again be provided within one month of receiving the request .  The employee must also be advised without undue delay of his/her right to complain to the ICO and to seek a judicial remedy .

Electronic access

Where a request is made electronically (eg, by email) an employer should provide the information in a commonly-used electronic form, unless otherwise requested by the individual.

What now?

These changes will have an immediate impact when the new rules come in May 2018 so now is the time to review and update policies and procedures dealing with subject access requests and to make sure that sufficient staff are trained and in place to deal with anyrequests in the new timeframe.

If you would like to see our other articles about GDPR please click here. If you would like more detailed guidance on how to get your business GDPR ready, please contact a member of the team.

GDPR: subject access requests – what’s new?

Could paying dads to stay at home turn round failing shared parental leave programme?

Fathers must be given drastically improved rights or the Government’s shared parental leave policy risks failing entirely, experts have warned.

The policy, three years old this week, is meant to allow fathers to be more involved in their children’s early years and mothers to return to the workplace sooner.

But the latest official estimates suggest that as little as 2pc of eligible parents have so far taken up the offer, with a lack of awareness and equal pay issues being blamed.

Read more here – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/could-paying-dads-stay-home-turn-round-failing-shared-parental/

Could paying dads to stay at home turn round failing shared parental leave programme?

How will Brexit affect EU workers?

As negotiations rumble on, Helena Rozman outlines the current position for EU nationals in the UK.  Read the article here – https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/experts/legal/brexit-affect-eu-workers#

How will Brexit affect EU workers?

The gender pay gap reporting deadline has now passed – so what have we learned?

The deadline passed at midnight last night for private businesses with more than 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap report.

More than 10,000 companies have now published their report. Interestingly over 1,100 companies published their report on the day of the deadline, which is more than the total number of companies that reported in the first 326 days of the scheme. Some have argued that such late publishing was, in certain cases, a tactic to bury unflattering results in the last-minute flood of reporting.

From the data published so far we have learned that 78 per cent of companies pay men more than women, 14 per cent pay women more than men and 8 per cent have reported no gender pay gap at all.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, men are paid more than women in every single industry sector, with construction representing the largest gap, followed by finance and insurance.

It is not yet clear what level of punishment those that have failed to publish their pay gap results may face. Though, as we have previously reported on this blog, companies may be named and shamed on a public list on the government portal, and that those that continue to fail to report might ultimately face a summary conviction, be subject to an unlimited fine and be forced to publish the data under a court order.

The gender pay gap reporting deadline has now passed – so what have we learned?