• More than one in ten UK workers do not receive their legal holiday entitlements. Are you or your clients creating productivity problems for yourselves with the way they manage leave?
• Only a small minority of businesses are ready for IR35 rules. Why are so few prepared for the significant changes to tax status?
• Workplace NDAs are under the microscope. The government will change the way they are used – but do new rules go far enough?
1 in 14 do not receive correct holiday entitlements
A TUC Study finds millions of Britons are missing out on leave.
As Britain basks in the hottest weather for years, spare a thought for the millions who may be missing out. According to a study by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), more than a million UK workers are not getting their full holiday entitlement.
According to TUC figures, almost two million (1.96 million) employees are not receiving the paid annual leave that they are allowed. Of those, more than half (1.145 million) receive no paid holiday at all.
Fewer holidays for some – but who misses out?
An analysis of the data shows that many missing out on paid holiday leave can be found in surprising sectors.
Women comprise the greater part of those unable to take paid leave. 8.3 per cent of female workers never receive their annual leave entitlements, compared to just 5.9 per cent of male workers.
And the industries most impacted by lost holidays may be surprising too. Overall, those working in education were most likely to miss out on annual leave. A standard misconception about teachers’ leave is that they get a good deal. This is due to the six week gap between summer and autumn terms at the end of each school year. The TUC data should dispel any myths about teaching being a time-rich profession.
In total, 341,000 teaching professionals were missing out on paid leave. Other sectors impacted by the loss of leave were retail (302,000) and social care (264,000). The figures will be a matter of concern for policymakers who see rest and free time as critical to quality of care within the profession.
How Loss of Free Time Impacts Productivity and Health
The situation demonstrates that the removal of holiday rights is more than a legal consideration. A lack of “downtime” has strong links with falling productivity – as this blog post from 2017 explains. With UK industry continuing to experience sluggish output, redressing the imbalance may be a key factor in business leaders’ productivity plans.
Increasingly, a poor work-life balance is also linked to long-term health complaints. The TUC highlights serious health and well-being concerns for workers unable to access holiday time due to them. A poor work-life balance is linked to heart disease and stroke; type 2 diabetes; stress, anxiety, and mental illness.
The TUC would like HMRC to be given special powers to tackle workplace pressure being placed on staff to forego their annual leave.
Frances O’Grady, the TUC General Secretary, said that “The government must toughen up enforcement”, and “stop bosses cheating working people out of their holidays”. Ms O’Grady also warned the government against the reintroduction of tribunal fees. Since fees were abolished in 2017, successful claims against unscrupulous employers have more than doubled. More than half of all claims are resolved in favour of the claimant, with payouts ranging from £18.94 to £11,000.
Businesses not ready for IR35 changes, warned APSCo
Of-payroll tax statuses in the private will change in 2020. So why is nobody getting ready?
Most businesses are not ready for private sector roll-out of new IR35 rules, a professional body has warned.
The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) reported this week that as few as ten per cent of businesses will be able to cope with changes if they are brought in in 2020.
The proposed changes will impact medium and large enterprises within the private sector.
Under the updated regulations, businesses will be responsible for setting the tax statuses of off-payroll independent contractors.
In a survey of UK recruitment personnel, APSCo asked if client companies had made preparations for the changes. Only 10 per cent of those surveyed could confirm that they were recruiting into firms which were ready for the tax rules. 69 per cent of those surveyed said that they “did not know” if clients were ready. More than one in five (21 per cent) said that their clients were definitely not ready for the rules changes.
Furthermore, there was little hope for improvement closer to the deadline date of May 2020. Fewer than half (39 per cent) of respondents believed that client companies were working towards IR35 readiness. Just 12 per cent of agencies said that they were making placements in firms that had a readiness scheme in place.
The data will give further cause for concern to HMRC, which has received ongoing warnings from professional bodies concerning the implementation of IR35. The latest set of data may mean that, even if rules are updated in nine months time, few companies will be in a position to implement them effectively.
Workplace NDA Review: CIPD Responds
The professional body has reacted to government proposals to change the way non-disclosure agreements are used in the workplace.
The UK government has unveiled its overhaul of Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), and the way they will function in future. The new legislation will seek to prevent the misuse of NDAs in a minority of cases.
NDAs form a legitimate part of operations for many businesses and organisations. They protect sensitive information regarding business objectives, research and development. But a small minority of unscrupulous enterprise owners have used NDAs as a way to silence whistleblowers or prevent the reporting of illegal activity.
The new set of laws will safeguard employees’ rights while preventing abuse. Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst has published plans to prevent companies from using NDAs in a way that will stop the reporting of crimes. Under new rules, victims or witnesses to workplace illegality will not be in breach of a NDA if they make a police report.
However, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has issued a statement in response to the changes. While broadly supportive, the organisation suggests the rules changes seek only to tackle the symptoms – not the causes – of workplace harassment.
Writing for Onrec this week, The CIPD head of public policy, Ben Wilmott, said:
“We welcome the Government’s plans to tackle the minority of cases where NDAs are used unethically to potentially prevent victims of alleged harassment or discrimination from speaking out about their experience. We particularly welcome plans to make clear the limitations of a confidentiality clause so individuals signing them fully understand their rights. Proposals to ensure that individuals signing NDAs will get independent legal advice on the limitations of a confidentiality clause are also a positive step.”
“However, changes to the law alone will not help to prevent harassment and discrimination from occurring in the first place. There needs to be far greater recognition in some organisations that their culture has to change. This change starts with leaders and managers role-modelling the right behaviours and a greater focus on boosting diversity and inclusion.”
Mr Willmott’s concerns highlight a blind-spot in current regulation. Without appropriate support mechanisms to protect vulnerable or victimised workers, the updated NDA rules may fall short of their objectives. When it comes to tackling the wider issue of workplace harassment, it is clear that broad cultural changes may be required within offending firms.