With the second deadline for gender pay gap reporting having just passed, it has been reported that only 5% of businesses have considered their ethnicity pay gap. Although it is likely that ethnicity pay gap reporting will soon be mandatory, the majority of companies asked in a survey by PwC said they did not have enough data to analyse their gap, and nearly half cited concerns about GDPR compliance as holding them back.
Data protection laws are something that Morrisons supermarket have fallen foul of. The Court of Appeal found the company vicariously liable for the actions of a rogue employee who posted data relating to his colleagues on the internet when the case came before them last year. With around 5,000 claimants there is a potentially very significant financial liability. However, the Morrisons has now been granted an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Four day working weeks have been back in the news recently but for very different reasons. Firstly it was reported that a string of smaller British firms were making the switch to the four day week, citing the benefits of higher productivity. However, it was also reported that Wellcome Trust were dropping plans to trial a four day week having found it would be too complex and unfair on some staff. Meanwhile research linked to YouGov has found that nearly a third of employees asked about it thought that a four day week would be most effective in relieving work related stress.
Some support for the four day week can also be found from reports that longer hours do not mean higher profits according to economists, and could lead to serious problems due to more mistakes being made and ill health. It appears though that Jack Ma, billionaire and co-founder of online shopping giant Alibaba would disagree after backing the "996" system (9am to 9pm, six days a week) which is currently being debated in the Chinese media. While that system would make working hours in the UK look like a walk in the park, it seems we do still put in the longest hours in the EU with analysis by the TUC indicating full time employees in Britain work on average 42 hours per week, nearly two hours more than the EU average.
Meanwhile, a study by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed has shown that more than 320,500 self-employed people in Britain are working two or more jobs, and not always out of necessity. Having a "portfolio career" is becoming more popular amongst the self employed with Henley Business School finding one in four workers are running at least one business alongside their main careers.
If all of this leaves you feeling in need of a holiday the UK Government has launched its first holiday pay advertising campaign. It is estimated that 1.8 million people in the UK are not receiving the holiday pay they are entitled to with many workers not understanding what their rights are. The campaign aims to educate workers on their rights and employers on their legal obligations.
The TUC are calling for a shake up of shared parental leave after only 1% of new parents used it last year. The union believes it is unaffordable for most working families and has called for men to have their own paternity leave paid at least at minimum wage levels.
Gagging clauses are back in the media again with UK universities facing criticism over their use in attempts to stop bullying, discrimination and sexual misconduct allegations becoming public. It is reported by the BBC that UK universities have spent about £87 million on 4,000 pay-offs with gagging clauses since 2017. Bucking the trend for the use of non disclosure agreements in the City, one ex-employee of a City fund manager has, according to reports, settled her harassment claim for £270,000 with no confidentiality clause. The figure included a significant donation to the charity set up by the claimant which aims to help people who have faced discrimination at work.
Meanwhile, young people working in unskilled jobs may be more concerned about the risk of their roles being automated than of being required to work long hours. The Office for National Statistics analysed the jobs of 20 million people in England and found 7.4% of them were at risk of automation. Young people undertaking low skilled jobs are most at risk, with certain parts of the country more affected than others.