Harassment in office

The perils of partying at Christmas…The HR issues – a Guide for Employers

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Yes, it’s getting to that time of year again. The count down has started and already the Supermarkets are stocking their shelves with wrapping paper, Quality Street, cranberry sauce, tin foil and indigestion tablets. Meanwhile, the furniture shops are guaranteeing delivery of your sofa in time for Christmas and we’re all excited by the new John Lewis advert!
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Time off and flexible working for periods….

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A story circulated last week on a BBC News page about a Bristol company who were going to introduce a “Period Policy” enabling women to work flexibly during their periods by taking  time off and making up the time later.

This is the latest of a series of taboo subjects – much has been written recently about women and the menopause and the need for reasonable adjustments. Now, the world of HR and employment is embracing the “period” word and without question, this will massively divide opinion, particularly amongst women. For every woman saying what a wonderful breakthrough this is, no doubt there will be other women saying that there is nothing new about periods – they’ve been happening for thousands of years – a bit like the menopause but the only difference is that people now talk about it. Read More

The menopause – it’s time employers took it seriously…….

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Over the last few years we have seen rafts of employment legislation around discrimination, diversity as well as disability and increasing moves to encourage fathers to take paternity leave. Last year we saw significant developments in case law around the subject of obesity and the notion that this could now fall under the Equality Act and the need for employers to make reasonable adjustments.

However, there is a taboo subject that many believe could be a major topic in the next few years – namely the menopause and the way in which its symptoms impact on women in the workplace and employers, specifically those in the private sector need to wake up to the issue and recognise that burying their heads in the sand in not going to make the problem disappear. Read More

The great divide – pensions in the public and private sector

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In a recent CIPD survey, over 70% of our eligible working population are now covered by some form of workplace pension arrangement. In part, this is due to the introduction of the Workplace Pension, affectionately known as auto enrolment and the recent TV advertising campaign to broaden awareness.

But with any analysis or statistics, the devil is in the detail and whatever pensions survey you look at, you are masking the great divide between private and public sector pensions. You can talk of the great divides – North and South, rich and poor, City and United in Manchester but then you have those whose working life has been based around a private sector business and those who have worked in the public sector. Read More

National Living Wage – friend or enemy?

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“Make sure we’re ready for the National Living Wage” – this needs to be pretty high on the HR team’s task list.

It hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention that in April, we see the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW) replacing the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and requiring employers to pay £7.20 an hour for employees aged 25 and over and for those full time employees currently on the NMW of £6.70, this effectively represents an increase in basic pay of about £1,000.

Working on the basis that you’ll never please everyone all the time, there will be many employees for whom this is great news but there will also be groups who will say it doesn’t go far enough and that there is a difference in the cost of living in and out of London but, to be fair, the NMW made no distinction. Not only does the NLW prescribe that we need to pay £7.20 from April, we know that the target is £9 by 2020. Read More