This week’s news covers everything from a survey of CEOs of larger companies showing resistance to remote and hybrid working to a report on the impact of the menopause on women’s career progression.
Nearly two thirds of CEOs of large companies in the UK predict a full return to in-office working by 2026, according to a new report.
The KPMG 2023 CEO Outlook survey, conducted in August and September of this year, is a global survey which included 150 UK CEOs.
It shows 63% of UK CEOs predict a full return to in-office work within the next three years and 83% express a likelihood of linking financial reward and promotion opportunities to a return to in-office working practices.
Jon Holt, CEO of KPMG, said: “This isn’t a one-size fits all approach. And issuing an “all hands on deck” edict is a simple response to a complex issue – it won’t work for all businesses. Some sort of hybrid working is likely to remain a useful way to attract and retain the good people the CEOs know their business needs. Having the right employee value proposition to attract and retain talent is near the top of the priority list for CEOs in our survey.
“The wellbeing of younger colleagues is a particular issue here. They’re a generation whose early work experience has been defined by Covid and the cost-of-living squeeze. As leaders, we have a duty to nurture and support their careers and wellbeing. And spending at least some of their time in the office is likely to be good for those younger colleagues.
“There’s no denying that remote working v back to the office can create tensions between leaders and employees. These are big issues with big impacts on our lives. But CEOs hoping to return to an all-office world will have to work collaboratively and carefully with colleagues to get it right.”
Two in five (39%) working parents of children under 18 say they’d like mental health support in the workplace, according to a new poll.
The YouGov poll commissioned by Working Families and Bright Horizons for National Work Life Week found a new post-Covid workforce who place wellbeing as their biggest concern, with 89% of working parents stating access to flexible working arrangements has or would have a positive effect on their wellbeing.
The findings on mental health are backed up by workingmums.co.uk’s recent annual survey which found 67% of parents said that providing support for their mental health would make it more likely they would stay with their current employer.
The YouGov poll found seven in 10 parents agreed a culture that encourages work/life balance was of major importance – with higher pay (65%), managers with the skills and knowledge to support them (58%) and access to their preferred flexible working pattern (57%) also highlighted as the most important workplace benefits parents wanted.
Meanwhile, a report from GoodShape estimates mental health conditions have cost UK companies £6.9bn in lost working days to long-term illness in the year to August. It says the cost of staff absences of 20 days or more due to poor mental health was almost as high as all long-term time off for musculoskeletal problems, surgery and cancer combined, which cost employers £7.6bn.
The study highlights the scale of the mental health crisis in the UK, with a record 2.6 million people out of work due to long-term sickness, and mental health issues being the largest factor. The average time off due to long-term sickness has risen from 59 to 62 days in the past year, resulting in 147 million lost working days.
Read more here.
A woman who had been allowed to work from home several days a week due to her caring responsibilities for her elderly mother has won a case against her employer after they decided to eliminate all remote working jobs.
Jayne Follows worked for Nationwide and had had her remote working agreed when the company decided to phase out home working contracts because of concerns that junior staff needed more supervision from managers who were physically present. Follows objected and was made redundant in 2018.
She claimed discrimination and unfair dismissal due to her remote working. An employment tribunal ruled that Nationwide had made the decision based on ‘subjective impressions’ which were not backed up by evidence and awarded Follows compensation of nearly £350,000.
In another tribunal ruling a woman was awarded £37,000 in compensation after her employer, Thistle Marine [Peterhead], claimed the menopause was her “excuse for everything” and her boss told her that she should ‘just get on with it’ after she called in sick due to heavy bleeding.
She said this attitude made her position with the company “untenable and intolerable”. The tribunal ruled that her employer was guilty of harassment and unfair dismissal.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission [EHRC] is to launch new menopause guidance for employers in the wake of a recent ruling by the Employment Appeal Tribunal that severe menopause symptoms can amount to a disability. In the first case of its kind, the EHRC is supporting former social worker Maria Rooney against Leicester City Council. She is claiming constructive dismissal due to symptoms of menopause and alleges that she was bullied, harassed and intimidated by her managers, resulting in her resignation. She also claims that the council failed to consider her absence reasons and an occupational health report recommending adjustments.
Meanwhile, lawyers are warning that a Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday in relation to holiday pay and overtime could have significant implications for employers.
In the case of Chief Constable of The Police Service of Northern Ireland [PSNI] and another v Agnew and others, the Court ruled that the PSNI will have to pay approximately £40 million in holiday pay to its officers because holiday pay did not include regular overtime.
Jo Moseley, an expert from Irwin Mitchell’s employment team, said: “Today’s ruling is of major significance and has the potential to cost UK businesses millions of pounds.
“Many businesses will be concerned. Although the decision offers clarity on an issue that many organisations have been concerned about, employers won’t be able to use technical arguments to limit their liability for underpaid holiday pay claims. That said, the situation is slightly different in England, Wales and Scotland because the government introduced legislation to limit how far back individuals can bring unlawful deduction from wages claims, to two years. Northern Ireland didn’t do this. But, even with these restrictions, some employers will still have to pay their staff a substantial amount to settle their cases.”
Read more here.
Over a quarter of middle-aged women workers who have experienced menopause symptoms say that menopause has had a negative impact on their career progression, according to new research.
The survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development [CIPD] also found 36% of women with a disability or long-term health condition say their symptoms have had a negative impact on their career progression, compared with 24% who don’t have one. And 38% of women who identify as from an ethnic minority background say their symptoms have had a negative impact on their career progression, compared with 25% who are white.
Two-thirds (67%) of women with experience of menopausal symptoms say they have had a ‘mostly negative’ effect on them at work. A wide range of impacts are reported, including feeling less able to concentrate (79%) and an increased amount of stress (68%).
However, the survey found feeling supported at work can make a considerable difference. Those who feel unsupported by their employer are more likely to report having felt an increased amount of pressure (55% of those who feel unsupported compared to 43% of those who feel supported) or stress (75% of those who feel unsupported compared to 68% of those who feel supported).
Read more here.