Fri 15 Mar 2024

Employment Law Round Up - March 2024

Our monthly employment law round up.

Research finds women need to work 19 years longer than men to retire with the same pension pot

Recent research carried out by NOW: Pensions and the Pensions Policy Institute has found that women retiring at the age of 67 will have saved an average of £69,000 in their pension pot, whereas men retiring at the same age will have £205,000 on average.  The reasons for this include career gaps, caring responsibilities, childcare costs and lower earnings.  Currently automatic enrolment for pensions starts at 22 years of age and workers must meet a £10,000 a year earnings threshold. Calls are being made for the earnings threshold to be removed (as it excludes many women who may work part-time, freelance or have multiple jobs) and for the UK Government to make a top-up contribution for periods spent out of work caring for children and family members.

CIPD publish guidance on supporting and managing employees with a terminal diagnosis

CIPD research shows that only one third of UK organisations have specific provision, such as a policy or manager training, on how to support employees with a terminal illness.  The organisation has published guidance that provides practical strategies on how to create a supportive culture and people management framework for employees with a terminal diagnosis.

"Flexible after Fifty" report reveals nearly 75% of over 50s are seeking flexible work

With the proportion of over 50s in the workforce increasing, a report has been published aimed at enhancing flexible working provisions to help employers recruit and retain all workers, but with a particular focus on that demographic.  In advance of the new rules on flexible working coming into effect in April, the report makes a number of recommendations for employers to support greater flexible working for over 50s.  These include the provision of better resources for small and medium enterprises to implement the new legislation, and for employers to proactively promote the availability and range of flexible working options open to employees.

Poor mental health impacting young peoples' work opportunities

A recent report from Resolution Foundation has highlighted the significant increase in the number of young people able to join the labour market due to poor mental health.  People in their 20s are now more likely to be out of work due to ill health than people in their 40s.  The report is the culmination of a three year research programme on how mental health impacts on work outcomes.  It found that over a third of 18 to 24 year olds suffered from a common mental health disorder ("CMD"), an increase of nearly 50% since 2000.  It also found Universities have become hotbeds for mental health problems, with the number of full-time students with a CMD increasing much faster than for working or out of work young people.

New Occupational Health Taskforce launched

Following a 2023 consultation on occupational health provision, the DWP has launched a new Occupational Health Taskforce to improve employer awareness of the benefits of occupational health ("OH") in the workplace, help tackle in-work sickness and drive down inactivity.  The taskforce is to produce a voluntary OH framework for businesses setting out minimum levels of OH to prevent sickness related job loss and to assist employers with workers returning from sick leave.  The framework is expected in the summer.

More Minimum Service Levels (MSLs) Regulations laid before Parliament

Following consultation on MSLs for strikes by the fire and rescue services, draft Strikes (Minimum Service Levels: Fire and Rescue Services) (England) Regulations 2024 have been laid before the UK Parliament. As the title suggests, the regulations only apply in England.  They cover control room services, emergency incident response and fire safety services. The Regulations allow employers covered by the Regulations to issue employees with work notices to ensure that the services are capable of being provided as if no strike was taking place. Should Labour win the next General Election, these regulations will be repealed

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