As well as the big news regarding the abolition of employment tribunal fees and the proposed new rights for gig economy workers, the press this month have also focused on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace. We start with the news that brick layers may be a thing of the past by 2050 with building sites becoming a human free zone. An army of automated builders and robotic cranes and diggers will do the work. Bad news for those employed in the building trade.
The BBC may not be looking forward to having to comply with the new Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements. Having had to publish the wages of the stars who earn more than £150,000 per year it looks like they have some explaining to do. The top male earner (Chris Evans) earnt between £2.2 and £2.25 million in the year 2016/17 while the highest earning female (Claudia Winkleman) only took home between £450,000 and £500,000 over the same period. Not only that, two thirds of those who earn over £150,000 are male compared to one third female. Director General, Tony Hall, has admitted they have "more to do" on gender and diversity.
Bad news for those of us aged between 39 and 47 - the UK Government's proposal to increase state pension age to 68 has been brought forward from 2044 to between 2037 and 2039. The move, which is expected to save the tax payer £74 billion by 2046, will delay the retirement of six million men and women by one year.
In advance of the Taylor Review being published, Deliveroo made public their desire to offer their couriers at least some benefits, claiming out dated employment laws prevented them from doing so. No comment as yet on their views on the recommendations made by the Taylor Review which, if implemented, seem likely to increase the number of their staff who will qualify for holiday pay and the minimum wage in addition to the sick pay Deliveroo indicated they wanted to provide.
It's not known whether Matthew Taylor had the benefit of recent research into how zero hour contracts affect health when he decided not to recommend banning them. A study conducted by the UCL Institute of Education has found that young workers employed on zero hour contracts are 41% less likely to report good health than those with secure contracts. They are also one and a half times more likely to report mental health problems. Definitely the down side of trying to achieve a more flexible workplace for those affected.
In what seems to be a month of numerous legislative recommendations being made come proposals from the Conservative think tank "Bright Blue". The year long commission is proposing dozens of polices covering human rights and discrimination. They have recommended richer mothers should have their maternity pay cut to fund higher payments to the poorest parents. The think tank has also called for the right to request flexible working to be extended to all staff irrespective of length of service and for poorer parents to be given government backed loans for childcare.
And finally, according to reports, UK workers are cheated out of £1.5 billion in holiday pay per year. The research group at Manchester University who published the report - Unpaid Britain - have also found that a further £1.2 billion in wages goes unpaid. Barriers to recovery of the money, such as court and tribunal fees, are identified as one of the causes.