Have you heard the latest news?
Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law 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…
Spring Budget 2023
The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced the Spring Budget yesterday (Wednesday 15th of March). And there have been more than a few employer-impacting changes!
The Budget focused mainly on getting people back to work and reducing the amount of long-term sick leave. Our three top examples include:
1. “Returnships” aimed at the over 50s
A new apprenticeship scheme will be introduced to encourage the over 50s to return to work or retrain. These programmes will focus on skills but be shorter in length and more flexible than the average apprenticeship. And they’ll take the individual’s past experiences into consideration. Full details are yet to be released—so watch this space! And in the meantime, make sure your workplace is prepared to support and protect staff of all ages.
2. Enhanced childcare funding
The government will increase childcare support for working parents so that all adults in a household who work more than 16 hours per week will receive 30 hours of weekly childcare, for each child over 9 months. Working parents will need time to settle into new childcare arrangements, so you’ll need to prepare for increased flexible working requests.
3. More support for sick people and people with disabilities
The government plans to support those with long-term health conditions to find and stay in work or return to work if needs be. Funding to the amount of £400m will be available for those who leave work due to their mental health or physical issues. And a new voluntary employment scheme will be launched to help disabled people find work. Stay prepared! Find out more about your duty of care for staff with disabilities and mental health conditions.
Neurodiversity Celebration Week
This week is Neurodiversity Celebration Week (13th–19th of March), an awareness day to boost the acceptance and inclusion of people with neurodiverse conditions such as autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD—to name just a few.
Did you know that neurodiverse people make up 15-20% of the population in the UK? That’s even more reason for employers to ensure their recruitment and employee practices are accessible and supportive of everyone. And, that they are embracing and encouraging neurodiverse talents.
Luckily for you, we’ve written a useful guide you can read on Neurodiversity at work.
Government calls for more staff to volunteer as magistrates
The government has started a new campaign to get more employers to support staff to volunteer as a magistrate. Employees are entitled to reasonable time off work for public duties but take note they don’t need to be paid for it.
Magistrates are not paid by the government, but it’s up to you whether you allow your employees time off with pay. You must by law allow your staff reasonable time off to serve as a magistrate. So, make sure you get the right advice.
And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!