We round-up the latest news affecting schools and colleges.
Labour pledges flexible hours for teachers in menopause
The average age women begin their menopause is 51. But there’s a huge variation, and symptoms can start years earlier. With 3.5 million women aged over 50 in the UK workplace, employers are starting to educate themselves about it and help to support the women they employ to stay in work. As this is left to individual employers, there’s currently no consistency in approach.
To help women remain in work during menopause, Labour has said that it will “
introduce flexible working for workers experiencing the menopause.” The policy has been welcomed by the NEU teaching union. They believe that many women aren’t supported during their menopause and that it’s a factor in teachers leaving the profession.
Around 75% of NEU members are female. The union has already issued
guidelines to schools on how they can support teachers through the menopause. Labour promise to ban zero hour contracts and increase the National Minimum Wage for all ages to £10 an hour
At the recent TUC conference, Jeremy Corbyn promised to introduce the 'biggest extension to worker's rights' if Labour get into government.
The wide ranging
proposals for individual rights include:
Introducing a 'real' living wage of £10 per hour for all workers aged 16 or over
Banning unpaid internships and zero hours contracts
Giving all workers the right to request flexible working and putting an obligation on employers to accommodate the request (not simply to consider it)
Banning Swedish Derogation contracts for agency workers
Creating a single status of 'worker' for everyone, other than those who are genuinely self employed.
In addition, the Labour Party wants to make significant changes to collective rights including:
Repealing the Trade Union Act 2016 in its entirety
Making it easier for workers to have their say at work, including allowing electronic and workplace ballots
Giving trade unions the right of entry to workplaces to organise members and to meet and represent them
Banning anti-union practice and strengthening the protection of trade union representatives against unfair dismissal.
The Labour Party would also appoint a secretary of state to promote employment rights and to set up, what it refers to as, a 'workers protection agency' to enforce employee rights, standards and protections.
Pregnant woman wins £28,000 after for unfair dismissal
A Lithuanian women working in a plant nursery was dismissed two days after she took time off to attend an antenatal clinic. She needed to leave work early and informed her employers that she’d have to attend other appointments too. Her employer claimed that she’d been dismissed (along with others) because the season had ended, and it didn’t need as many staff as before. The tribunal found that the employer’s decision was tainted by discrimination and that her dismissal had been motivated by her pregnancy.
The employee and her husband told the tribunal they hadn’t been told their jobs were seasonal and had been given a blank contract to sign, with no start or end dates. She was awarded
£20,000 for injury to feelings and £820 for loss of statutory maternity pay, as well as further sums for loss of earnings and future loss of income.
The campaign group
Pregnant Then Screwed report that 54,000 women a year are pushed out of their jobs due to pregnancy or maternity leave and that 33% of employers say they would avoid hiring a woman of childbearing age. Half of UK employers aren’t aware of the government’s post-Brexit immigration plans
New research from the CIPD shows that employers aren’t ready for the introduction of new immigration restrictions, planned for January 2021.
In a new report,
a Practical Immigration System for Post-Brexit Britain, the CIPD highlights that a lack of awareness of the government’s proposals and planning, as well as the ongoing political uncertainty, means that few organisations are equipped to deal with a potential ‘supply shock’ of a reduced inflow of EU workers once the UK leaves the EU.
The survey found that:
More than half of employers are completely in the dark about the government’s immigration proposals, with 58% saying they don’t know anything about the government’s white paper on immigration. Just 7% said they know “a lot,” and 35% said that they “know a little” about it
56% of employers said they don’t have enough information to start making decisions about their post-Brexit recruitment strategy. Just one in four (27%) are happy to make decisions based on existing information
More than half of employers (51%) felt that the Government’s planned 12-month temporary visa was either ‘not very useful’ or ‘not useful at all’. Just one in four employers (28%) said it would be useful to them to meet their recruitment needs, falling to 22% among public sector organisations.
CBI report urges government to reform the Apprenticeship Levy
The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in April 2017 with the aim of increasing investment in training. According to a new
report commissioned by the CBI, the scheme isn’t working. It wants the Levy to evolve to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of the economy.
The report asks the government to make urgent reforms, including:
Introducing a £100m annual government top-up fund, which allows organisations of all sizes to continue using the scheme to spend on apprentices of all ages and skill levels
Fulfilling its commitment to publicly consult on options after 2020 – including broadening the Apprenticeship Levy into a ‘Flexible Skills Levy.’ This would cover a wider range of high-quality, relevant training.
Acas offers guidance for young people going straight into work after A-levels
Acas has published new
guidance to help young people who go into work immediately after their A-levels understand their rights. The advice explains ways into work, such as apprenticeships and internships, and how much they should be paid, typical contractual terms, and even what to wear. It also includes a number of top tips, which explain their rights at work. Conservatives pledge to increase National Minimum Wage to £10.50 within five years
The chancellor, Sajid Javid, has said that his party will increase the national minimum wage to
£10.50 by 2024. The proposed rate will apply to all workers aged 21 and over, and will be labelled a 'National Living Wage' (which currently only applies to those workers aged 25 and over).
Read more – October 2019
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