Have you heard the latest news?
Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business. Plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.
So, let’s check out this week’s headlines…
National Sickie Day
Monday 6th of February was National Sickie Day and if more of your staff called in with the same mysterious 24hr stomach bug than usual—don’t worry, you’re not alone!
Statistically, the first Monday in February is the day your staff are most likely to pull a sickie. Last year, an estimated 350,000 workers were off sick, costing the UK economy a whopping £45 million.
Effective absence management policies and a robust wellbeing programme can help you to avoid that schedule-ruining 8am call.
This week’s employment changes
You can’t afford to miss these three bills that have passed in the House of Commons recently.
So, which employment law changes should you watch out for?
- The Carer’s Leave Bill—which means staff with caring responsibilities will get the right to take up to one week of unpaid leave each year. This is a big step forward for employees but also helps employers retain staff and keep them happy.
- A bill to improve redundancy protection for mothers and parents will mean pregnant employees and those returning to work will be more protected against redundancy. There is some security as it stands, but this law will mean that if employers need to make new parents redundant—legally they’ll have to offer them a fitting alternate role if one exists. This applies to new mothers returning to work, parents returning from adoption, and staff returning from shared parental leave.
- And finally, The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill which means employers will be liable to prevent third-party sexual harassment, covering things like suggestive offensive comments and actions towards your staff. This applies to customers, clients, and the public. It’s key to remember as an employer, you will be legally responsible if you don’t address this behaviour.
All these bills will need to be approved by the House of Lords before they become law. But it’s always good to stay one step ahead with expert employment law advice to cope with tricky situations like leave entitlement, redundancy, and sexual harassment.
New rights for workers
The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons with government backing. This Bill will give all workers and agency workers the right to apply for a more predictable work pattern. The most likely employees to apply for this are those with unpredictable or uncertain working patterns e.g. staff with zero-hour contracts or those on a fixed-term contract.
Employers to get help with Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has confirmed it will be publishing advice on ethnicity pay gap reporting for employers. Organisations that volunteer data for diversity and inclusion reporting will receive a handy reporting template.
Read our guide on pay gap reporting to learn more.
EU Law Bill update
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill will have a huge impact on employers. But if you want some much welcome consistency, this week Ministers have suggested they don’t intend to change to current maternity and paternity rights.
Nothing is set in stone, and we will likely see lots of HR changes happening this year—so make sure to stay in the loop.
Tune in next week for more headlines and stay ahead of major employment law changes!