The announcement came this week that unemployment remains at its lowest since 1975. However, of course, we can’t have our cake and eat it, as we are yet to see the increase in wages that we would traditionally expect with higher rates of employment. With the ever-increasing cost of living, many workers across the UK are feeling the pinch.
This weak wage growth, attributed widely to increasing labour costs and the decline of trade unions, means that keeping an eye out for signs of demotivation, low mood and rising absence rates within your team is more important than ever. With new research from Bupa indicating that 34 per cent of managers would struggle to identify mental health issues within their teams, learning how to spot these kinds of issues during a wage slump could be tangibly beneficial for both your employees and your business.
Our lead story in this week’s Employment Law & HR Roundup focuses on the steps employers can take to tackle mental health issues at work. We will also discuss the Lammy Review, the importance of HR for small businesses and the health and safety risks male employees face in the workplace.
How to recognise and support mental health issues in your team
The impact that poor mental-health can have on businesses is well documented. Reportedly causing the UK economy up to £26 billion every year in sick days, staff turnover and lower productivity, organisations of all sizes rely on having a healthy and productive workforce. However, a study released by Bupa this week shows that 34 per cent of line managers would struggle to spot mental health issues in their employees.
It isn’t all bad news though; increased awareness of mental health has made employees feel more comfortable discussing their mental health issues with a manager.
So, how can employers learn to spot mental health issues in their teams and how can they support their staff?
Read more about the steps that employers can take to promote good mental health in the workplace.
Lammy review: Criminal records could be ‘sealed’ from employers
In an independent review into race and the criminal justice system, David Lammy MP published findings that suggest black and Asian defendants are more likely to go to prison for certain types of crime.
As well as revealing some hard to swallow findings about disproportionality in our criminal justice system, the review makes some interesting suggestions about how employers could help ex-offenders move on from their past.
Lammy argues, “A job is the foundation of a law-abiding life and the key to reform for any offender”, by ‘sealing’ the criminal records of ex-offenders who have proved they have reformed, many BAME individuals, convicted for minor crimes, would have a better chance at rejoining the labour market.
Read more about the suggestions here.
Government must invest in HR for small businesses, says CIPD
HR for small businesses could be the key to unlocking lagging productivity in the UK. The CPID argues that the government should invest £13 million a year in offering basic support for small businesses. A research exercise conducted by CPID and JP Morgan has suggested that face-to-face advice, support with drafting documents and group training events, will improve ‘small firms’ capability around the management of people’.
Hang Ho, EMEA head of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation said, ‘Today’s report shines a light on the importance of basic HR practices to the success of small businesses, whether that is improving productivity, boosting the effectiveness of the management team or handling crises’.
Read more about how HR support can improve the productivity of small businesses.
Men are more at risk of being injured at work than women
A survey of 2,000 employees has found that men are more likely to be put in danger at work by poor health and safety procedures. Of the respondents, the survey revealed that 61% had not received any information on their company’s health and safety policies.
Over half of male respondents work in a hazardous role, as opposed to 19% of women. Despite working in more dangerous conditions, a quarter went on to say that the safety guidance they received did not explain the risks of their role thoroughly enough.
Speaking on the findings, Colin Yates, chief support officer at WorkMobile said, ‘It’s really shocking to see that some businesses are failing to put in place even the most basic health and safety procedures to protect their workers most at risk of injury’.
Read more about the health and safety here.
59-year-old told she’d be more suited to a ‘traditional’ office wins tribunal
A tribunal has ruled that a 59 year old woman was discriminated against because of her age when she was told she might be ‘better suited to a traditional estate agency’. The tribunal concluded that the comment made to Ms Gomes, who took sick leave for work-related stress and eventually resigned, was unlikely to have been made to a younger employee. The tribunal also allowed her claims for harassment related to age and constructive unfair dismissal.
Read more about age discrimination cases and the steps businesses can take to avoid them here.