When not focussing on the small matter of a royal wedding, much of the media has picked up on the CIPD Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace survey (see our report elsewhere in this enews) and in particular the shocking numbers who turn up for work while ill. The survey has reported for many years on the average days of absence per employee (6.6 days this year) but in recent years the focus has more and more turned to presenteeism with 86% of those businesses surveyed reporting having observed it.
With the focus very much on data protection recently (that wee thing called the GDPR resulting in many inboxes being inundated with messages throughout May) a breach by members of staff at Ipswich Hospital made the headlines. Two members of staff were disciplined after accessing Ed Sheeran's personal details with no legitimate reason to do so, with one receiving a written warning and the other being sacked.
Instances of sexual harassment have remained in the news, this time relating to the music industry. A recent survey of professional musicians has highlighted a "toxic culture" with 60% of respondents reported having experienced harassment including assault. The Incorporated Society of Musicians has called for a sector wide code of conduct, something that the majority of respondents supported.
The hospitality sector also made the headlines in the past month with the "Safe Home Initiative". This initiative wants stricter licensing regulations to make pub owners take responsibility for staff, including proving that they have considered how staff will get home safely after late night shifts, when applying for a license.
A report commissioned by the BBC has found that the average weekly wage in UK towns and cities is £539. Perhaps more interesting, only 15 of the countries largest towns and cities earned more than that with, not surprisingly, London having the highest average of £727. The highest paying cities north of the border are Edinburgh at £598 and Aberdeen at £597. By comparison Glasgow comes in under the national average at £526 with Dundee bringing up the rear at £503.
Sticking with wages, 200,000 people have received back pay after a national minimum wage crackdown by HMRC. The well know Government initiative which has included naming and shaming offenders has resulted in more than £15.6 million in pay previously denied to employees has been paid out.
And after the obvious success of naming and shaming businesses who don't pay the national minimum wage, Government workers rights tsar, David Metcalf, has proposed that well known retailers, restaurants or other brand owners should be named and shamed and be held jointly responsible for any non compliance with employment law throughout their supply chain if they don't get their house in order within a 3 month period of becoming aware of the breach.
At the other end of the scale, the World Bank is reported as recommending fewer regulations protecting workers. The report has been prepared amid growing concern about the impact of AI and automation and suggests burdensome regulations and high minimum wage levels will price human workers out of the market. Recommendations include no minimum wage, firing at will and a diminished role for trade unions.
And finally, a Scottish Government report on employment patterns has revealed that the number of over 65's still working has doubled in the past decade. While over 55% of those simply said they were not ready to stop, 13% said they needed to keep working to pay for essentials and 6% needed to boost pension pots.