PeopleTalk – December 2012

Welcome  to December’s issue of PeopleTalk. In this issue, we look at the latest legislation for sharing Parental Leave.  We also report on the European Commission’s proposal of 40% representation of women in the boardroom.  With Christmas looming we discuss alarming findings showing that a third of British Employees are putting themselves at risk of burning out due to work stress.  Are you one of them?

New Legislation for Sharing Parental Leave Announced

Deputy PM Nick Clegg announced radical reforms which will allow both parents to share up to a year’s leave to look after their newborn children.  The changes will enable fathers to play a larger role in raising their child/children.  These reforms mean that mothers cab return to work at a tine that is right for them,  The hope is that this flexibility will boost the country’s economy but critics are sceptical about the take-up, the impact on the economy and the administration for businesses.

This new system allows both mother and father to share “maternity” leave of up to 52 weeks if they so wish.  It will still be compulsory for mums to take the initial fortnight off post-birth to recover but after that, they can select to terminate their maternity leave and both parents can share the remainder as flexible parental leave.  It also allows new parents to take parental leave together, or in turn,.  What this means for employers is a more flexible, motivated work force but equally managing such a system accurately is likely to bring HR and payroll departments significant issues (never mind SME’s).

In addition, there is a proposal to extend existing flexible working legislation so that from 2015 all employees can apply for flexible working arrangements regardless of the reason for it  This will enable grandparents to care for their grandchildren and older employees to care for elderly parents.  It will also enable other employees with no caring responsibilities to work in a more flexible way.

The new legislation for parental leave is due to come into place in 2014.  What do you think of this announcement and what will it mean for your business and its employees?  Let us know at [email protected], we welcome your views.

Re-dressing Gender Equality in the Boardroom

Last month saw a break-through proposal by the European Commission aimed at introducing a target EU quota of 40% representation of women in the boardroom.  This is an objective rather than obligatory as perhaps unsurprisingly, women are still under represented on the boards of large European companies despite 60% of university graduates in the EU being female!  Currently, women make up just 15% of these boards.  The European Commission is suggesting a 2020 target such that 40% of company board members must be female; therefore bringing the gap between men and women closer than it ever has been before.  This means that if a company does not have 40% of women on its supervisory board, priority could be given to suitable qualified women.

Do you have an opinion on gender equality in the boardroom and do you actively pursue a good balance between male and female on your own board?  Do you look for a balance of age or race on your board?  Let us know at [email protected].

Are your Employees Burnt Out?

Alarming new research shows that a third of British employees are putting themselves at risk of burning out due to work pressure and long hours.  34% of workers questioned said they felt affected by excessive work stress.  Many feel the need to prove their commitment and there are a significant proportion of employees admitting to not taking as much holiday time off over the past few years.

More disturbingly, almost a third did not feel their superiors support them with efficient health and well-being policies to enable them to cope better.  Is this co-incidental with the current trend for squeezing workforce numbers?  Are employees feeling the pinch as they are now being asked to take on too much extra work in many environments which are under-resourced in today’s leaner times?  The issues could lead to poor health in the workplace with more employees having to take time off for illness induced by excessive burdens of the workplace.  As today’s climate has meant less jobs and more strain on delivering in an under-performing economy, perhaps employers would be better placed to keep workers healthy to lead to more productivity or the end result could be catastrophic with companies losing their best talent to illness.  Stress is the top reason given for sickness absence.  What do you do to make sure tour employees are well looked after in an ever increasing pressurised workplace?  Are you encouraging your staff to take time off to re-charge over the Christmas break?  We’d like to hear your ideas and suggestions here at [email protected].

Christmas Shut-down

The offices of DOHR will be closed form 21st December to 2nd January inclusive.  For assistance with urgent HR issues during this time, please text 07710 546381 and we will respond as quickly as possible.  We would like to take this opportunity to wish our clients all the best for the festive season and a Happy New Year.

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