Don't Drop Your Guard on Swine Flu

Don’t Drop Your Guard on Swine Flu

Employers have dropped their guard over swine flu when they should be preparing for staff absence rates of up to 50 per cent this autumn, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has warned. Research from the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) also found that 57 per cent of employers have either ‘weak’ plans in place or no plans at all to deal with the swine flu pandemic. Cases of swine flu are expected to increase as children return to school over the next few weeks. CIPD senior policy adviser, Ben Wilmott, said that the high absence figure was a “worst-case scenario”, based on combining Government swine flu statistics with other types of absence, such as seasonal colds, and parents being forced to take time off to care for sick dependants. But ... »

Government Must Help SMEs Cope with Swine Flu

Government Must Help SMEs Cope with Swine Flu

The Government must take steps to help small businesses through the swine flu pandemic as small businesses are likely to be disproportionately affected, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) stressed this week. FSB national chairman, John Wright, said: “Swine flu is expected to have a serious impact on the UK, with a more than five per cent fall in UK GDP this year alone and up to half the population infected. Small firms, which contribute more than half of UK GDP, will be very badly hit. A small firm employing only three people could expect to have its entire workforce off for up to two weeks this autumn – either due to infection or absences as a result of school closures and transport problems. We want the Government to ease the burden on small firms so that businesses wit... »

Retirement at 65 could be scrapped in 2010

Businesses face the prospect of being unable to compel staff to retire at 65, after the Government brought forward plans to review the default retirement age. Under current retirement rules, employers can require staff to retire at 65 – although workers have the right to have requests to continue working considered by their employer. Businesses can also set their employee retirement age above or below 65, if a change can be justified. The Government was due to review the retirement age in 2011, but the economic climate and concern about pensions have prompted the Department for Work and Pensions to bring it forward to 2010. The Minister of State for Pensions and the Ageing Society, Angela Eagle, said: “The Government is responding to the changed economic landscape. The differen... »

Credit Crunch Worries Cause Staff Sleepless Nights

Employers have been advised to help staff manage stress in the wake of research from hotel group Travelodge revealing that three–quarters of employees are losing sleep because of concerns about the credit crunch. Failure to support employees whose stress levels are rising is likely to lead to reduced productivity and higher levels of sickness absence, according to the director of the Stress Management Society, Neil Shah. Commenting on a the Travelodge survey, which revealed that estate agents are getting less than six hours sleep a night due to concerns about falling high prices, Shah said: “Obviously the credit crunch is putting pressure on individuals, and there has been an increase in stress over the past few months. People are concerned that their jobs may become redundant,... »

CIPD Urges Employers to Use Web 2.0 to Attract Recruits

More employers should take advantage of the recruitment opportunities presented by web 2.0, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), writes Kate Horstead. The CIPD research found that just one in five businesses use second generation Internet technology, so-called web 2.0, to help them hire staff. Web 2.0 includes tools such as social networking, blogging, podcasts and online audio-visual material. However, the survey also revealed that 56 per cent of employers believe social networking websites are useful for engaging potential jobseekers. “Web 2.0 technology provides an opportunity to bring the employer brand to life and allow potential employees to experience what it is like to work within the organisation,” said CIPD organisation and resourc... »

New Guidance to Cut Workplace Stress

A new guide to managing workplace stress offers managers a checklist to determine whether their behaviour is increasing or relieving employee tension. Line management behaviour and stress, published jointly by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), lists a range of management approaches that are likely to influence stress levels among employees. By saying whether the approach is positive or negative, the guide aims to help managers work out what effect their behaviour scenarios might be having on their employees. For example, acting as a mediator in conflicts is considered positive; simply keeping the peace is labelled negative â?? because it can lead to stress. Stress is the leading cause of long-term absence for non-manual w... »

Lack of Lunch Breaks Causes Productivity Slump, Warns CIPD

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has warned businesses they are losing productivity by not encouraging employees to have a proper lunch break. Research for Bisodol health group found that that only 21 per cent of staff take a full lunch hour, and 26 per cent take a 15 minute break or less. “Managers should be aware that if people aren’t taking full breaks it can be a sign that they are suffering from excessive pressure or stress,” said CIPD spokesman Ben Wilmott. “This certainly isn’t good for their productivity and it might mean that over the long term they’ll suffer from ill health and be off work. “Employers have a duty to ensure that employees are taking at least their statutory breaks under the Working Time Regulatio... »

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