Changes to right to work checks
The Home Office has updated its
guidance for employers carrying out right to work checks. The guidance reflects legislative changes and current practice.
Employers should carry out on an online check for those with a pending Home Office application, administrative review or appeal
They should explain the circumstances where they need to contact the Employer Checking Service,
and what to do if employers receive a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) with an expiry date of Tuesday 31 December 2024. New consultation on tackling harassment and sexual misconduct in colleges
The Office for Students (OfS) has launched a
consultation on proposals to require universities and colleges to maintain a register of personal relationships between staff and students as part of a wider review on regulation of harassment and sexual misconduct in this sector.
The OfS want the relationships register to apply to certain personal relationships in circumstances where a staff member has responsibilities towards a student, for example where an academic is responsible for assessing their work. The consultation also proposes that any academic not disclosing a personal relationship with a student for whom they have particular responsibilities should be dismissed, and that non-disclosure agreements in cases of harassment and sexual misconduct should be banned.
The consultation only applies to relationships where the student is aged 18 and over. This is because it is already a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for a person in a position of trust (such as a teacher) to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 18, even where the person is of the legal age of consent.
The consultation closes on Thursday 4 May 2023.
One-in-three young teachers skipping meals in cost of living crisis
The National Education Union has published a survey into
the state of education: recruitment and retention. Based on 18,000 responses, it reveals:
One-in-three teachers aged 29 or younger are skipping meals and spending less on food because of the cost of living crisis, and a quarter of teachers of all ages are doing the same.
One-in-five teachers have taken a second job to make ends meet.
16% of teachers plan to leave the profession within two years and 41% plan to be gone within five years.
New survey makes depressing reading for female equality
The multinational market research company, IPSOS, has recently released
results from their global survey on female equality based on over 22,500 responses. In the UK, 1000 people took part in the survey and UK responses indicate that:
58% of those surveyed believe that gender equality will not be achieved unless men take actions to support women’s rights, and only 47% believe gender equality will be achieved in their lifetime. Over half agree that gender equality is good for both men and women.
Just under a half agree that when it comes to equality, things have gone too far in UK, 38% believe men are expected to do too much, and 43% think changes to ensure women’s rights now means men are being discriminating against.
12% said they had seen examples of gender discrimination at work and 10% had witnessed someone sexually harassing a woman at work.
12% said they have discussed gender equality at work in the past year and only 7% talked to their employers or senior managers about examples of gender discrimination at work.
Menopause tsar urges organisations to introduce policies to support women
Helen Tomlinson, England’s first-ever menopause employment champion has called on organisations to develop policies and to normalise discussing the subject, saying that she has witnessed ‘the transformational power’ that talking about the menopause can have in a workplace. Ms Tomlinson is the Head of Talent in the UK and Ireland at the human resources provider Adecco Group. This role is voluntary.
Lack of affordable childcare forcing UK women out of work
A lack of affordable childcare in the UK is forcing women out of work and hampering career progression. According to
PwC’s annual women in work index, which looked at data from 2021, the UK fell five places to be ranked 14th for women’s employment outcomes across the 38 member countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Net childcare costs represented almost a third of the income of a family on the average UK wage, compared to as little as 1% of income in Germany.
The Chancellor announced that 30 hours of ‘free’ childcare will expand to cover children under five years old by September 2025 in an attempt to help parents get back to work. This could allow 60,000 more parents of young children to enter the workforce.
Women in their 30s impacted most by caring responsibilities
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has published an
analysis revealing that women are seven times more likely than men to be out of work as a result of caring commitments, with women in their 30s being the most affected, compared to men the same age. The TUC also found that women take on most of the care for older and disabled relatives and wants the government to act immediately to help women remain in work and to ensure they are paid fairly. New guidance on helping people to return to work
The government has published new
guidance to help employers support people who want to return to work after a period of absence. It includes advice on making minor changes to recruitment policies, offering flexible working and advertising posts as being suitable for returners. Government reviewing whistleblowing laws
On Monday 27 March 2023, the government published a
press release confirming that they have launched a review of the whistleblowing legal framework and will take views on its effectiveness from whistleblowers, key charities, employers and regulators. The review aims to find out if the current legal regime enables workers to speak about wrongdoing and protects those who do so. New consultation about 2024 National Minimum Wage rates
The Low Pay Commission has published a
consultation seeking views on the impact of the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) increases for 2024. The NLW is expected to rise to between £10.90 and £11.43 in 2024. The information gathered will be used to inform its recommendations to the government in the Autumn.
The consultation closes on Friday 9 June 2023.
Miscarriage Leave Bill stalls
private members bill which would have provided three days of paid leave for women who have miscarried or experienced ectopic pregnancies, didn’t proceed to a second reading scheduled for March 2023.
The government did not support the bill and it’s now unlikely to progress.
Equality and Human Rights Commission suggest that sex should mean biological sex
The government recently asked the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) for advice on the protected characteristic of sex in the Equality Act 2010. It has now published its
initial response which suggests that limiting the definition of sex to biological sex could bring clarity to the law. It does note that it could create ambiguity in other areas.
According to the Guardian newspaper, government sources said they were looking carefully at the EHRC response, warning the legislation was complicated.
Read more – April 2023
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