Well-being watch – four-day working week
The trial – 61 UK companies trialled the “100:80:100” model for six months – that’s 100% pay, 80% hours, 100% productivity. Of those 61 companies, 56 have extended the trial period, including 28 who have made it a permanent arrangement.
Well-being wins – 71% of employees reported lower levels of burnout and 39% said they were less stressed than at the start of the trial period. The trial found a 65% reduction in sickness absence and a boost to retention with a 57% drop in the number of employees leaving compared to the same period the year before.
Poor productivity? – the trial saw a 1.4% increase in revenues with participants (across a wide range of sectors) seeing healthy growth during the trial. Employees were found to be more proactive through their own improved efficiency, whether through technology, fewer meetings, or simply a lower inclination to kill time.
Employment law implications – we are lawyers, after all! If you want to trial a four-day week you’ll want to think about how you’ll treat fairly those already working part-time, what the impact will be on holidays and benefits, and how you’ll give the business flexibility if it doesn’t work out (to name a few).
This update is accurate on the date it was published, but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
Watch out for ‘without prejudice’ label
The employer’s ‘without prejudice’ letter explained that both the employer and the employee had “mutually agreed” to end the employment. But the employee tried to argue the letter was unclear and ambiguous.
Whilst the letter also referred to a settlement offer, the only thing the employer hadn’t decided was what to pay the individual as a goodwill payment – the employer was quite clear the individual’s employment was ending. On that basis, the letter terminated the employee’s employment.
There’s still a place for well-crafted ‘without prejudice’ communications. Here’s what to consider:
Always get your communication checked by a lawyer – there’s plenty of case law in this complex area and the implications of poorly drafted communication can be significant;
‘Without prejudice’ can help protect any settlement offers you make from being used against you in future litigation. But, only where there is an existing dispute (an employee has raised a grievance, for example). Assuming there’s an existing dispute, ‘without prejudice’ communications protect against all claims, including discrimination and whistleblowing.
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (16 March 2023), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
Well-being watch – working with cancer
Pledge – the Working with Cancer pledge supports employers to stand together and provide a supportive, recovery-forward culture at work for people with cancer. Sign up to show your support.
Policy – it might provide a helpful starting point for someone feeling daunted by the prospect of a conversation about their diagnosis. You could include wording explaining how you’ll:
- support individuals with decisions around any communication with colleagues (whether the individual wants to share their diagnosis or keep it private);
- help them deal with not being around so much during treatment;
- approach any physical changes, career reassurance, and the supportive, collaborative approach you’d like to offer.
Proactivity – you’ll want to think carefully about how you share your thoughts on the supportive culture you’re looking to achieve. Consider:
- what support you can offer managers and whether training is appropriate;
- whether counselling can be offered;
- whether you can commit to extra flexible working and days off as a minimum;
- if your leaders can share their thoughts on the support they want to offer.
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (15 March 2023), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
Legal lightbulb – people law, policy and practice
New bill to provide the right to request predictable working patterns
The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill gives workers the legal right to request more predicable terms and conditions from their employer. Targeted at zero hours contracts, workers will have the right to make up to two requests per year if:
- They’ve been employed by the same employer for a “prescribed period” – likely to be 26 weeks’ employment;
- There is a lack of “predictability” in relation to the work they do (yet to be defined); and
- The change relates to their “working pattern”.
There’s no obligation to agree to a request but you’ll need to respond within one month. Any rejection must be for a specific reason (the reasons will be listed by the legislation). The bill has government backing meaning it’s highly likely to become law – we’ll keep you up to date.
Government appoints first Menopause Employment Champion
The government have appointed the first independent Menopause Employment Champion (despite recently rejecting a range of proposals intended to support employees). The role will support employers to create menopause policies and take proactive steps to support those experiencing menopause symptoms. If you need a head start on introducing a menopause policy, Intelligent Employment has got you covered!
People dates for your diary – April
01-30 | Stress Awareness Month – promoting positive mental well-being
01-30 | Active for April – doing something active every day for the month
07 | Walk to Work Day & World Health Day – taking simple steps to improve health
28 | World Day for Health and Safety at Work – promoting positive practices
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (14 March 2023), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
Well-being watch – separation leave
Manager support – whether reviews, monthly catch-ups or something else, regular one-to-one meetings should help managers identify those in need of support, giving them an opportunity to discuss their needs and any concerns.
Flexibility – ensuring employees have access to flexible working arrangements to help manage any changes in their family setup (such as childcare, school pick-ups, and house moves) can make all the difference.
Counselling resources – whether you offer them through an EAP helpline or signpost to other external resources, it’s a valuable opportunity for employees to talk through their personal journey and secure additional emotional support.
Policy – only 9% of employees said their employer had a specific policy to support them through a separation. Creating a policy to encapsulate the support you’re able to offer shows empathy, provides reassurance and support engagement.