New taskforce to tackle teacher workload
The DfE has said that work is underway to support teachers and leaders to tackle ‘unnecessary workloads.’ It’s set up a
taskforce comprising unions, teachers and sector leaders to help to support its ambition to reduce working hours for teachers and leaders by five hours a week within the next three years.
New toolkit to help schools and colleges embed flexible working
The DfE has published a new
toolkit to help schools and colleges implement flexible working. It aims to help leaders understand the benefits of flexible working, develop and implement a flexible working policy, adopt a strategic approach and effectively manage requests.
It has been designed for use in all school settings and is also useful for sixth form colleges and FE colleges.
DfE announces investment to attract teachers
The DfE has
said that it will invest £196 million to attract more teachers for key subjects. The investment will include tax-free scholarships and grants for training and support.
Scholarships for those training to teach mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computing will now be brought up to £30,000 tax-free, in order to attract more talented teachers in these key subjects to support the delivery of the advanced British standard.
Number of schools impacted by RAAC increases
The presence of RAAC has been
confirmed in 214 English and Welsh schools, a rise of 24% on the last reported number of 173, published on Tuesday 19 September 2023. Essex is the worst affected area, with 62 schools impacted.
BSI publishes menstrual and menopausal health guide
In May 2023, the BSI issued a
standard setting out the steps employers needed to take to support staff experiencing menopausal symptoms and difficult periods. It has now published the “Little book of menstruation, menstrual health and menopause” to help employers implement the standard.
The little book is specifically aimed at small and medium-sized businesses which have limited resources but will be useful for all organisations that have not yet put in place systems to support staff encountering problems with their menstrual health, or going through the menopause.
The little book:
Sets out the issues women face due to menstruation and menopause and explains why employers need to support them
Sets out six cost effective steps employers can take to make the workplace more inclusive
Examines issues relevant to certain sectors and suggests ways employers can support staff who have to wear uniforms, don’t have easy access to toilet or changing facilities or have to sit for long periods.
Political parties urged to include menopause action plans in their manifestos
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause has launched its ‘
Manifesto for Menopause’ which calls on all political parties to commit to an action plan ahead of the next General Election to address the impact that menopause can have on women in the workforce.
The manifesto calls for:
A mandate for large companies (over 250 employees) to introduce menopause action plans to support female employees experiencing menopause
Tax incentives to encourage employers to integrate menopause into occupational health
Specific guidance for SMEs to support employees going through the menopause.
It also wants the NHS to include menopause as part of its free Health Check for women over 40 and for an official list to be made available to medical professions that details all HRT medicines available for them to prescribe.
Labour announces new employment rights and policies
During its recent conference, the Labour Party made further announcements about the scope of its labour reforms. Amongst those mentioned was a “genuine living wage” which would consider the actual cost of living.
Shadow women and equalities minister, Anneliese Dodds, announced Labour plans to introduce mandatory disability pay gap reporting as one of the ways to tackle inequality and pay gaps.
The Labour party has also pledged to repeal the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023, which requires employers in certain essential sectors to operate a minimum service during industrial action and the Trade Union Act 2016, which introduced longer notice periods for industrial action, higher ballot thresholds for public services and a six-month expiry deadline for ballot mandates.
Third of employees experience sexual harassment
recent survey conducted by The Barrister Group revealed that almost a third of 2000 workers surveyed experienced sexually inappropriate behaviour from a colleague in their workplace. 69% of those said that the perpetrator was someone more senior. The survey revealed that the unwanted attention included groping, stroking, inappropriate comments, and threats. Some workers said it would harm their career if they did not return sexual advances.
The survey also showed that almost half of the victims did not report what had happened to them.
The survey asked equal numbers of men and women to share their experiences and participants came from a range of sectors.
ACAS updates its guidance on ‘supporting mental health at work’
ACAS has updated its guidance on ‘supporting mental health at work’ by adding new sub-section: ‘
having a policy’. It sets out how such policy can help clarify the process of dealing with mental health at work as well as what employers should do to support everyone in following the policy.
Most importantly, the guidance provides a list of topics that should be covered by a workplace mental health policy, including:
Explaining the concept of mental health and how it can affect people
How the organisation is open and trained to talk sensitively about mental health problems
What mental health training is given to managers and individuals
What support is available to staff experiencing poor mental health
What happens if an employee needs time off to support their mental health.
Acas launches consultation on handling requests for a predictable working pattern
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has opened a consultation on its new draft statutory Code of Practice on handling requests for a predictable working pattern. The draft Code aims to help employers and workers to understand their rights and responsibilities under the new Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 which will provide certain employees and workers with a right to request a predictable work pattern and ensure requests are dealt with reasonably.
Acas invites comments from interested parties on all aspects of the draft Code but have highlighted specific issues which they are keen to receive feedback on. This consultation will close on 17 January 2024. Changes to law on declaring criminal convictions
Reforms which came into force under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 will significantly reduce the time that offenders are legally required to declare their criminal convictions to most potential employers after serving their sentence.
Offenders who have committed serious sexual, violent, or terrorist offences and those working with vulnerable people (including children) are excluded from these changes.
The new rehabilitation periods are as follows:
Community order – the last day on which the order had effect
Custody of one year or less – one year
Custody of more than one year and up to four years – four years
Custody of more than four years – seven years.
Read more – November 2023
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