Following a week where employment rights were thrust into the mainstream media discussion by the Taylor Review, employment law once again finds itself as a central topic of discussion.
However, this week, instead of a debate about the rights and protections of low paid ‘gig economy’ workers, the broadcast, print and social media debate concerned itself with the gender pay gap revealed when the BBC published the names and salaries of 96 presenters and actors who earn over £150,000.
As well as discussing the huge gender disparity in wages at the BBC, your essential weekly employment law and HR briefing will also include articles on flexible working, sexual harassment, unfair dismissal and safety in the workplace.
BBC gender pay gap revealed: two-thirds of top earners are men
A huge gender pay gap was revealed on June 19 when the BBC released its salary list. Of the 96 top names earning over £150,000, 62 are male and 34 are female. The disparity in wages between Clare Balding who earned £150,999 - £199,999 and Gary Lineker who earned £1.75m - £1.8m, was chosen as a poignant example by a number of news outlets.
The disparity is just as easily highlighted by Lineker’s Match of the Day counterpart, Alan Shearer who takes home almost 50% more than the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg. Or, indeed by Fiona Bruce who earns around £200,000 less than her BBC News colleague Huw Edwards.
The BBC was almost immediately accused of sex discrimination (which cost businesses a mean average of £85,622 at employment tribunals last year).
Read more about the BBC gender pay gap.
How to find the balance between flexible working and “always on”
Undeniably, advances in technology have given birth to entirely new ways of working. Collaboration no longer means meeting in person, an office no longer has to be physical and employees no longer have to be confined to the same space throughout the working week.
Flexible working, which all employees have the right to request, can be a great way of reducing costs, creating a better work-life balance and encouraging employee retention. However, striking the right balance between flexible working and ‘always on’ is essential to making a success of these kinds of arrangements.
Read more about finding a productive balance.
Sexual Harassment at Work
The Equality Act 2010 protects all employees from “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”.
However, with a recent study revealing that over half of all women polled had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace, it clearly remains a widespread and troubling problem.
Read our recommendations about what employees as well as employers can do about sexual harassment at work.
How can businesses avoid unfair dismissal claims?
Dismissing employees is something that few employers will relish and without the relevant knowledge or procedures in place, businesses could find themselves facing costly employment tribunals.
Last year over 13,000 claims of unfair dismissal were brought to employment tribunals in the UK.
Find out how to avoid unfair dismissal claims in our guest blog post for Law Plain & Simple.
Workers don't feel employers are keeping them safe
According to research by WorkMobile, a quarter of employees of manual professions such as construction believe their employers are not doing enough to keep them safe.
As well as endangering employees, employers who fail to implement effective health and safety procedures and supply workers with essential guidance on health and safety issues could face hefty fines.
Read more about how employers in the construction industry could be letting down their staff when it comes to health and safety.