Recruitment News: 2017 Employment Law Changes, Social Responsibility & Mental Health

Happy New Year!

I’m back to give you some of the most important recruitment news and resources you’re going to need this month.

Businesses Urged to Prepare for Major Employment Law Changes in 2017

Are you really ready for the new major employment law changes of this coming year? If you’re not sure, here’s a little recap to help you prepare:

Gender Pay Gap Reporting Begins

Subject to parliamentary approval, the final regulations have now been published and are expected to come into force on April 6th 2017. If you’re an employer with 250 or more employees, you will be required to publish information regarding the gender pay gap within your organisation.

In particular, you’ll need to publish:

-the difference between the median and mean hourly rate of pay paid to male and female employees.
-the difference in median and mean bonuses paid to male and female employees.
-the proportions of male and female employees who receive bonuses and the relative proportions of male and females employees in each quartile pay band.

You’ll have 12 months from the 5th of April 2017 to publish this information. You will also need to figure out how you’re going to deal with any potential equal pay issues and bonus arrangements.


The most significantly anticipated event for this coming year is that Article 50 will be triggered. It’s scheduled for the end of March this year, but with the current legal challenge it is unclear whether this timetable will remain in place and, if it does, what will happen to UK employment legislation.

Perhaps the biggest change will come from changes to the free movement of persons and the right to work within the EU. Most employers will have workers from Eurozone countries, upon whom they rely and will be keen to see how this develops.

National Minimum Wage and Other Pay Changes

The National Living Wage for employees 25 and over will increase to £7.50 from April 2017, together with other increases to National Minimum Wage rates. Statutory Maternity Pay, Adoption Pay, Shared Parental Pay and Sick Pay rates will also increase from this date. A ministerial statement proposes that statutory sick pay will increase to £89.35 per week and the flat rate of maternity pay etc., will increase to £140.98 per week.

These aren’t the only new legislations you’re going to have to keep an eye on this year. There are a lot more. We highly recommend you head on over to HR Review to keep up to date about what’s going on, and keep your business and recruitment processes savvy with new laws coming into force.



Companies Which Support Good Causes Are at a Recruitment Advantage

New Recruitment research commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation has revealed that one in four people are more inclined to apply for jobs with companies that have a strong track record of supporting charities.

Out of an online poll of 1,041 people, many of them believe that charitable companies make better employers and that supporting good causes boosts morale amongst staff.

Thirty percent of women and 47% of people at the start of their career aged 16-24 are most likely to be influenced by a potential employer’s charitable activity. Thirty-nine percent of people agree that businesses and organisations that support good causes make for better employers. Likewise, 45% of respondents claimed that supporting charities and good causes helps boost morale in the workplace.

Almost half of the people surveyed agreed that giving staff time off to volunteer is a popular way for businesses to help support good causes. In 2015 the Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto pledged to introduce three days of paid volunteering leave.

Head of Research at CAF, Susan Pinkney says “There are many good reasons for companies to be active and vocal in their support of good causes – not least the valuable contribution they can make to tackling social issues and making the world a better place. In the competitive world of recruitment, it can also give firms a real advantage in attracting new talent while retaining existing staff. We know that there is huge appetite among businesses to work with charities.”



New Year’s Resolutions to Supercharge Your Career

Build Your Professional Network

Around 70% of jobs come through networking. But, if the idea of going to boring corporate networking events for weeks makes you shudder, don’t worry, there’s an easier way of doing it:

-Host a networking brunch yourself. Invite professionals and tell them they can each bring a guest of their own. You will meet new people, and be remembered as a connector! Win-win.
-Why not ask colleagues from other departments out to lunch? Take the time to learn about their hobbies, goals and backgrounds. Just make more friends!
-Try Shapr – it’s a free networking app that introduces you to nearby -professionals with common interests. You can skip the awkward icebreakers and just head straight to a casual meeting for meaningful conversations.
-Remember to strengthen your existing relationships too, in addition to meeting all these new people. It is quality over quantity after all.

Learn a New Skill

Keep your professional skills sharp by adding a new one to the list or improving an existing one. There’s a couple of things you can do:
Take an evening class. Some companies offer tuition reimbursement for professional development so find out if yours is one of them!
Check out Coursera for a free online course, or use your lunch break to check out YouTube tutorials.

Let your supervisor know that you’d like to get better at a specific skill and be proactive in asking for advice. A good manager will help map out a plan or mentor you on a related project and give you opportunities to learn that skill on the job.

Take Constructive Feedback Better

We all know how hard it is when we feel like someone is attacking our work, but really just trying to help us out. It can be really valuable to you to keep getting better at accepting and learning from criticism, so here are some tips:

-Say thank you. Offer your appreciation for that person taking the time to offer you constructive feedback and help you improve.
-Take a breath. If you find yourself getting worked up or anxious, write down all feedback during reviews, take a walk and come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. Sometimes you just see red and it can prevent you from seeing the bigger picture.
-Schedule a follow up. Once you’ve processed the feedback, make those adjustments or come up with solutions. Then offer a time to present your ideas and get clarity that you’re moving in the right direction. This will make the whole improvement process a lot better.


Theresa May Pledges to Help the UK deal with Mental Health Stigma

Theresa May has pledged to help schools and companies in the UK deal with the hidden stigma and injustice surrounding mental illness. As part of her vision for a “shared society”, May will announce measured aimed at improving the support available for people with mental health problems, claiming social efforts are more important than providing extra money for services.

She said that the importance of support networks for people with mental illness had been brought home to her by the observation that anyone at work with their arm in a plaster would have colleagues talking about their injury whereas, “if you have a mental health problem, people are more likely to try to avoid you”.

In the speech to the Charity Commission, Mrs. May will announce several measures to aid employees at work. Employers and organisations will be given additional training in supporting staff who need to take time off, there will be measures to offer mental health first aid training in schools and to trial strengthening the links between schools and NHS specialist staff led by the Care Quality Commission.

May would also like to speed up the provision of online mental health services to put more of a focus on community care and to stop GPs charging patients up to £300 for a ‘health debt form’ certifying their mental illness. Theresa May said she wants to tackle this issue in a wider sense:

“It’s not a five-minute job. We can’t deal with these issues just overnight. It’s not about one speech, it is about driving reform forward over a period of time and being honest with the public that this does take time to deal with.”


Gender Pay Gap Down to 5% Among UK Workers in Their 20s

New research has shown that the gender pay gap has decreased to 5% among UK workers in their 20s, however despite this small victory the gender pay gap continues to rise rapidly for women in their 30s and 40s – particularly when women begin to start a family, say the Resolution Foundation.

The report states that women will still earn significantly less than their male counterparts over their careers due to enduring this ‘pay penalty’ and despite an improvement in pay differentials during the first decade of employment.

The thinktank compared the typical hourly pay of different generations of men and women over the course of their careers. The report found that workers in their 20s, the pay gap was 16% among baby boomers – born between 1946 and 1965 – 9% of people born between 1966 and 1980 and 5% among these born between 1981 and 2000 – the millennials basically.

Laura Gardiner, who wrote the Resolution report said “It’s important to not overlook the positives. The rate of progress between generations is really welcome, particularly with Generation X. Even in the child-rearing years there’s still really big gains.”

She continues that there were many issues related to working part-time, such as missing out on informal chats in the pub, that needed to be tackled. “I wouldn’t want to play down the policy success we’ve had, but the area where there’s probably the most we could do is around the part-time penalties, and the opportunities for promotion and progression, the cultural stuff.”

It’s a start, but we have a long way to go.


Shared Parental Leave: One Year On

Equality is a long and complex journey in employment. If we had true equality then we’d be $12 trillion better, but it doesn’t only involve recognising female talent, since businesses are already doing their best to help women fulfil their full potential. One of the keys to unlocking the vast pool of female talent available to us is getting more men into shared parental leave.

There’s been three distinct stages of SPL:
1. Putting legislative frameworks in place.
2. Convincing employers to get on board.
3. Convincing men it’s actually fine to take it up and, more importantly, illustrating that shared parental leave is not career limiting for anyone.

The idea of allowing workers to just take time off here and there is a major concern of employers, as well as the certain financial cost of equalising and facilitating shared parental leave. Another challenge that still remains is convincing men to actually take it, and persuading women to share it.


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About the author…

Nicole Debson
Director & Founder

With 30 years in recruitment, a genuine interest in people and a desire to help forge careers, Nicole has built ABL on the principle of making businesses better and that little bit more international. Seeking to help candidates navigate their career path; to help clients find the ideal employee, her hands on approach is what has moulded our company. Fluent in French, with good Spanish, and a Masters in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management, you’ll find Nicole thumbing through her well-worn copy of Jack London’s White Fang, her all-time favourite book.