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The UK govt. opened a consultation on introducing minimum service levels in education services in England, Wales and Scotland. If implemented, an employer in this sector could issue a work notice to implement minimum service levels to apply on days when strike action is taking place. Due to devolution arrangements, it is not clear whether the proposals would be implemented consistently across GB at this stage. The new proposal for minimum service levels is aimed at minimising disruption to learners across education settings in reception year, schools, further education and higher education. The consultation also recognises that strikes in this sector impact working parents in other sectors due to care arrangements needed during strike action. Consultation closes on 30 January and employers in the education sector and employers who have faced workforce disruption due to education sector strike days may wish to respond. Coinciding with the consultation is the launch of a Parliamentary Education Committee inquiry into the impact of industrial action on university students, including mitigations that have been put in place by universities. There is a call for evidence which closes on 5 January and university employers may also wish to respond to this.
The Home Office published its annual statistical report for the year ending September 2023 on why people come to the UK to work. The report contains a multitude of immigration statistics and infographs, but Shara Pledger, Senior Associate and immigration specialist, has created her own visual summary in a bite sized format for employers with business immigration needs.
A new report outlining survey results aimed at developing understanding around employees’ experiences of menstruation and support at work was issued by CIPD. Around seven in 10 employees surveyed who have experienced symptoms from menstruation reported that they have had a negative impact at work, including tiredness and difficulty concentrating. Where time off work was needed, around half of employees surveyed said they never tell their manager it’s related to their menstrual cycle, and although there were a number of reasons for this, the most common were concerns around privacy and embarrassment or that the problem would be seen as trivial. Just over one in 10 employees reported that their organisation provides support for menstrual health. The report makes recommendations which aim to normalise menstruation at work and tackle stigma. It suggests approaching menstrual health as a fluctuating health condition and drawing on principles used to manage long-term health conditions. Despite the findings of this report, employers’ awareness of how menstruation impacts working life has grown over the last few years and Spain became the first European country this year to pass laws for “period leave” giving time off work because of menstrual pain.
A new report by the European Central Bank claims that reports of AI ending human labour may be greatly exaggerated. This follows the UK hosting the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park in early November, which garnered significant media attention to comments by event interviewee Elon Musk that “[T]here will come a point when no job is needed”. Although the report notes that it is too soon to reach a conclusive verdict, research showed that AI-enabled automation was associated with employment increases in Europe – mostly for high-skill occupations and younger workers. Employers with AI strategies may find the report helpful, but may also want to assess the workforce impact of AI in their own business specific applications to manage legal risk and workforce relations. We were delighted to host our own AI in HR Decision Making conference this month and would be pleased to provide you with our summary sheet of key themes discussed. Please get in touch with your usual Pinsent Masons contact.
Pinsent Masons is pleased to be marking International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Positively Purple day which falls on 3 December 2023. #PositivelyPurple is a global movement that celebrates and draws attention to the economic contribution of the 386 million employees with a disability, long term health condition or neurodiversity around the world. Since 2017, #PositivelyPurple (previously known as #PurpleLightUp) has been driving momentum across hundreds of organisations, reaching thousands of employees in different ways. This includes lighting up iconic buildings purple, holding events, developing workplace policies and sparking conversations about inclusion worldwide. Events will get everyone involved this week and next, including lighting up our London and Luxembourg offices purple and a video sharing colleagues’ experiences of disability, neurodiversity and ill-health, how our Disability & Wellbeing Group has supported them, and what we are looking to achieve as a business. We look forward to seeing your #PositivelyPurple actions on socials.
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