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13 May 2022
by Dawn Lewis

Top 10 stories from this week: the implications of excluding the employment bill from the Queen’s Speech

The Queen's Speech left many disappointed this week due to the omission of the employment bill

Houses of parliament


It was hoped that this week’s Queen’s Speech – setting out the government’s priorities for the months ahead – would include the long awaited (and pledged) employment bill. But alas there was no sign of it. 

The bill is expected to cover a range of issues to help improve the employee experience, such as stronger rights to flexible working, better provisions for pregnant employees and carers, and more protections for those on less stable contracts, to name just a few.

In the absence of a bill, the UK’s leading organisations must continue demonstrating best practice for all to follow, while less scrupulous employers are left to adhere to current rules.

As attraction and retention issues continue to plague employers, ensuring that they are offering policies and benefits that go above and beyond what is legally required, could be one way to set themselves apart from the competition until the employment bill eventually surfaces. 

For more reward and employee benefits news you might have missed this week, read our top 10 snippets below.

Omission of employment bill from Queen’s Speech a ‘missed opportunity’

People Management Organisations have criticised the government after the employment bill was omitted from the Queen’s speech for the second year in a row.

The speech, given this year by HRH The Prince of Wales, outlined 38 new bills on a range of policies including data reform, post-Brexit business rules and ‘Levelling Up’, among other things. However, there was outcry from the business community about the dearth of legislation on employment. Read more

Companies failing to provide employees with financial wellbeing support

HR Magazine Businesses aren't supplying their workers with the financial wellbeing support programmes they need, according to research from asset management firm Mercer.

The report found that only 37% of companies had any kind of strategy in place, although this was a marked improvement on the 15% recorded in 2015. Read more

More UK workers seeking counselling for anxiety and job stress, figures show

People Management There has been a sharp rise in the number of people seeking counselling for anxiety and job stress, data has revealed.

Zurich UK has reported a 50 per cent year-on-year increase in calls to its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provided to corporate customers, with anxiety being the most common reason for seeking help. Read more

BBC awards pay increase as pension scheme review launched

Personnel Today The BBC has announced a pay increase and a review of its pension schemes, the latter of which have seen contributions surge to £182m annually.

The broadcaster will award a 4.2% pay rise in August, followed by a further 1% later in the financial year. It said it hoped this would ensure a “motivated, high performing BBC”. Read more

Living Wage employers pass 10,000 mark

Personnel Today More than 10,000 UK employers have now signed up to pay the Living Wage, the voluntary rate suggested by the Living Wage Foundation.

The Foundation said that almost half of that figure (4,500) have pledged to pay the rate since March 2020, the start of the pandemic. Read more

Third of employees offered no wellbeing support at work: Nuffield Health

Cover Magazine A third of UK adults have revealed they were offered no physical or emotional wellbeing support at work, according to a recent report by Nuffield Health.

The survey of 8,000 UK adults in Nuffield's ‘Healthier Nation Index' highlighted that two-thirds of UK adults (66%) have expressed still not feeling comfortable talking about a mental or emotional wellbeing issue with their employer. Read more

Trustees voice concerns for retiring members

Professional Pensions Research reveals the depth of concern felt by trustees for members approaching retirement

The financial wellbeing and retirement specialist said its research - conducted with the Pensions Management Institute - revealed the concerns trustees have for their members in the run up to their retirement and what support provisions they have in place. Read more

MP seeks legal protections for employees undergoing fertility treatment

Personnel Today Employees undergoing fertility treatment could be given new legal protections against discrimination if a private members’ bill expected to be tabled shortly is taken forward.

Nickie Aiken, MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, wants specific protections for workers who undergo treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), including a right to time off work. Read more

Half of women may be forced to work beyond retirement age

HR Magazine Older female workers fear that a state pension may not be enough to live off when they reach retirement age.

Research from job site Working Wise found 50% of women over 45 expect to have to work past retirement age to make ends meet, while 53% revealed that their pension was not enough for them to be financially independent. Read more

Group risk claims paid out in 2021 rose to £2.2 billion

Cover Magazine A total of £2.22bn was paid out in claims by the group risk industry in 2021, rising by £208.4 million compared with 2020 results, according to figures from Group Risk Development (GRiD).

The GriD data found that cancer was the main cause for claiming in 2021, followed by critical illness claims for heart disease, mental illness and heart attacks. Read more

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