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    Employment Law & HR Roundup 22/10 – 28/10

    The working week started in high spirits for the team at Wildings after being highly commended at the Law Society Excellence Awards for ‘Excellence in Business Development’. You can view some of the pictures from the evening over at our Events page.

    The key employment law & HR news story from this week was the revelation that up to 300,000 employees with long-term mental health issues have to leave their jobs every year. Along with this concerning statistic, we will be discussing our upcoming Mock Employment Tribunal, the possible reintroduction of employment tribunal fees, the increasing number of resignations and retaining key members of your team.

    'Depression lost me my job': How mental health costs up to 300,000 jobs a year

    The impact poor mental health can have on business is a topic we have discussed in a number of our weekly roundups. According to recent research, reduced stigma and increased awareness of mental health has made employees feel more comfortable discussing their issues with a manager. However, this seems to have done little to improve the number of people who leave their jobs each year due to conditions like anxiety or depression.

    The Thriving at Work Report, commissioned by the government, also highlights the cost to employers of poor mental and estimates that they are losing around £42bn each year.

    Paul Farmer, co-author of the report said, “Opportunities are missed to prevent poor mental health and ensure that employees who may be struggling get the support they need.

    "In many instances, employers simply don't understand the crucial role they can play, or know where to go for advice and support”.

    The report makes 40 recommendations on how to support employees to remain at work. Read more about mental health and what steps employers can take to support their employees here.

    Mock Employment Tribunal & HR Training

    On 21 November, the Employment Team at Wildings will be holding a Mock Employment Tribunal at St Philips Chambers in Birmingham. With training sessions in the morning from both People Puzzles and Health & Safety Solutions, the event will be a fantastic opportunity for employers to improve their HR and employment law knowledge.

    How can a Mock Employment Tribunal help you?

    To give you an idea of the impact that employment tribunal claims can have on businesses, the table below displays the awards given for different claims in 2015/16.

    2015/2016 Highest Award Mean Award Median Award
    Unfair Dismissal £470,865 £13,851 £7,332
    Race discrimination £43,735 £14,185 £13,706
    Sex discrimination £1,762,130 £85,622 £13,500
    Disability discrimination £257,127 £21,729 £11,309
    Religious discrimination £45,490 £19,647 £16,174
    Sexual orientation discrimination £20,192 £20,192 £20,192
    Age discrimination £16,263 £9,025 £8,417

    The recent scrapping of employment tribunal fees is expected to open the floodgates to employment tribunal claims.

    As well as getting an insight into how an Employment Tribunal works and expert HR advice, attendees will have the chance to network with other employers from the West Midlands.

    Get your free ticket today, and join us to learn how to protect your business from costly employment tribunal claims.

    Employee Resignations at Five Year High

    According to new data, one in seven employees resigned from their job in 2016. The resignation rate, now at 15.5% has steadily increased since 2012, when it stood at 10.6%.

    Perhaps the most worrying figure for employers is the resignation rate for new starters. The data shows that 10% of new starters resigned in 2016 without completing a year’s service, with companies in the services sector having the highest amount of first year resignations.

    Expensive recruitment processes mean that high numbers of resignations from new starters are costing employers greatly. One HR specialist said, “Monitoring staff turnover is important for all organisations so that they can respond quickly when levels reach a point that is damaging to the business. “

    Read more about employee turnover here.

    Rules for employee retention

    Following on the theme of employee turnover, the next article in our roundup focuses on retaining your key players.

    A reasonable amount of employee turnover can be good for businesses; new employees can bring fresh ideas and positively affect the dynamic of the workplace. However, too much employee turnover can impact time, budgets and employee motivation.

    Securing top talent and keeping them happy, motivated and loyal is key to running a successful business. With the Office for National Statistics reporting that productivity has fallen for the second quarter, and just 11% of UK employees reporting that they feel engaged at work, employers should be concerned about retaining key team members and keeping them engaged.

    This article gives five tips for employers on keeping your team happy and satisfied.

    Lord Chancellor confirms he wants to bring back tribunal fees

    The Lord Chancellor, David Lidington, told MPs on 25 November that his department intends to bring back the controversial employment tribunal fees.

    The Supreme Court ruled in July this year that employment tribunal fees were unlawful, and that those who were wrongly charged must be refunded. The decision came after the number of claims brought dropped by around 70% following the introduction of the fees. At the time of the ruling, Lord Reed noted that employment tribunals

    “are intended to provide a forum for the enforcement of employment rights by employees and workers, including the low paid, those who have recently lost their jobs and those who are vulnerable to long-term unemployment”.

    Speaking in front of the Justice Select Committee, Lidington accepted that the government had got the balance wrong when it came to the fees, but maintained “I think it is necessary as a contribution to costs. It is also necessary and sensible as a deterrent to frivolous or vexatious litigation and that was something the court itself acknowledged”.

    Read more about the proposed introduction of employment tribunal fees here.

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