Tag Archive: #menopause

  • Employment Law Case Update – September 2023

    This month we bring you a plethora of interesting cases centring around dismissal in all its forms – be they agreed, part of a restructure or initiated for a reason.

  • Employment Law General Update – March 2023

    This month the news focuses on some key employment announcements from the Spring budget, changes to work checks guidance, a new proposed UK version of GDPR and a proposed right to request a more predictable working pattern. Lastly a new government employment champion has been announced to urge businesses to take action on the menopause.

    • Spring Budget 2023: Key Employment Announcements
    • Immigration: Revisions made to right to work checks guidance
    • GDPR: Government announces new UK version of GDPR
    • Working Practices: Proposed new statutory right to request a more predictable working pattern
    • Menopause: Czar urges businesses to step up on policies

    Spring Budget 2023 – Key Employment Announcements

    In the Spring Budget 2023, delivered on 15 March 2023, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, announced a series of measures intended to support the UK workforce. Among the announcements were the introduction of a new Health and Disability White Paper on how to provide support and opportunities for workers with disabilities, the planned abolition of the lifetime allowance to encourage workers over 50 to stay in employment, the reiteration of government support for Private Members’ Bills providing unpaid carers with additional leave, parents with greater protections against redundancy, and parents of children in neonatal care with paid statutory leave, and commitments to encourage and facilitate flexible working arrangements between employers and employees.

    In respect of immigration, Jeremy Hunt announced measures to tackle immediate labour shortages and ease business visits to the UK and further support for those who have come to the UK through the Ukraine Visa Schemes. Building off the Autumn Statement 2022, the Budget confirmed the government’s plan to deliver on three of the five key priorities set out by the Prime Minister in January: to halve inflation, reduce debt and grow the economy. The Spring Budget 2023 lists employment, education and enterprises as priorities for delivering on growth and building a high wage high skill economy.

    Back to the top

    Immigration: Revisions made to right to work checks guidance

    The Home Office has updated its guidance for employers carrying out right to work checks. The guidance was updated late in the day on 28 February 2023 to reflect legislative changes and current practice. Examples include clarifying that employers should carry out on an online check for those with a pending Home Office application, administrative review or appeal, circumstances in which an employer should contact the Employer Checking Service and what employers should do if they are presented with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) with an expiry date of 31 December 2024. Similar changes have been made, on the same day, to the right to rent checks guidance for landlords.

    Back to the top

    GDPR: Government announces new UK version of GDPR

    The UK government has announced that British businesses will save billions of pounds through a new version of GDPR, which will replace the EU’s data protection laws after Brexit. The new law will allow UK businesses to avoid costly compliance fees and will maintain high levels of data protection for consumers. The changes are expected to provide a boost to the UK economy and enhance the UK’s reputation as a leader in data protection.

    Back to the top

    Working Practices: Proposed new statutory right to request a more predictable working pattern

    The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill (the Bill) proposes to give eligible workers a new statutory right to request a more predictable working pattern. This follows the Taylor review of modern working practices and the resulting 2018 Good Work Plan in which the government committed to introduce policies to end ‘one-sided flexibility’. Eligible workers (not just employees) will have the right to make a request where:

    • there is a lack of predictability as regards any part of their work pattern (the work pattern being the number of working hours, the days of the week and the times on those days when the worker works, and the length of the worker’s contract)
    • the change relates to their work pattern
    • their purpose in applying for the change is to get a more predictable work pattern

    An application must state that it is a request for a more predictable working pattern, and specify the change applied for and the date on which it is proposed it should take effect.

    The Bill does not contain other earlier government commitments to introduce a right to reasonable notice of working hours and compensation for shifts cancelled without reasonable notice.

    A worker can only apply for a change to their working pattern if they have been employed by the same employer (whether or not under the same contract) at some point during the month immediately preceding a ‘prescribed period’ (this will be specified in regulations and is expected to be 26 weeks ending with the date of the application). There is no requirement for the service to be continuous.

    A worker can only make two applications in any 12-month period. This includes any application under the flexible working provisions if that request is for a change which would result in a more predictable contract.

    The Bill contains a similar set of rights for agency workers:

    • an agency worker may be able to apply to a temporary work agency for a more predictable working pattern where they have had a contract with the agency at some point in the month immediately before a ‘prescribed period’ (to be set out in regulations)
    • if the agency worker has worked for a hirer in the same role continuously for 12 weeks (within a period of time which will be set out in regulations) they may also be able to apply to the hirer for a contract of employment, or other worker’s contract, which is more predictable than their current working pattern

    There is no definition of ‘predictability’ in the Bill. It does, however, specifically state that workers on a fixed term contract of 12 months or less may request that the term is extended or becomes permanent. Other than that, it seems that a ‘lack of predictability’ will cover any worker whose hours or days vary in a way which provides them with uncertainty, such as:

    • casual/zero hours workers without a guaranteed number of hours
    • annualised hours workers if the employer has discretion over the working pattern
    • workers whose hours are determined by a shift pattern or rota, where that pattern/rota varies unpredictably

    In many ways the process for dealing with requests reflects the flexible working regime. There is no obligation on the employer to agree to a request, but they must deal with the application in a reasonable manner and respond within one month. An employer can only reject an application for one or more of the specified reasons, which are:

    • the burden of additional costs
    • detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
    • detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff
    • detrimental impact on other aspects of the employer’s business
    • insufficiency of work during the periods the worker proposes to work
    • planned structural changes

    If the worker’s contract terminates during the one month ‘decision period’ the requirements still apply. However, there are then some additional acceptable grounds for refusing a request such as the employer having acted reasonably in dismissing for misconduct or redundancy. A worker will be able to bring an employment tribunal claim if an employer fails to follow the requirements set out above which, if the claim is successful, could result in an order for reconsideration of the request or compensation. The amount of compensation will be set by regulations and could be limited to eight weeks’ pay as it is under the flexible working regime.

    There is no timetable for implementation yet and, as noted above, some of the detail of how the right to request will operate in practice still has to be set out in separate regulations.

    The new right will have the most impact in sectors where the use of casual workers and changeable shift patterns/rotas is widespread, and on businesses using short fixed-term contracts or agency workers. It is likely to lead to an increased focus on how best to manage these type of working arrangements.

    The Bill only provides for the right to ask for a more predictable working pattern, not a right to a predictable working pattern. However, organisations which engage individuals on unpredictable working patterns will need to establish policies and procedures to deal with requests. They should also be aware that, if employment status isn’t clear, an individual might claim worker status while making an application for a more predictable working arrangement

    (Content provided to Lexis-Nexis by Julie Keir, practice development lawyer at Brodies LLP.)

    Back to the top

    Menopause: Czar urges businesses to step up on policies

    Helen Tomlinson, England’s first-ever menopause employment champion has called on businesses to develop policies and to normalize discussing the subject, saying that she has witnessed ‘the transformational power’ that talking about the health condition can have in a workplace. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced on 6 March 2023 that it had appointed Tomlinson to the post to raise awareness about the health condition. Tomlinson will also aim to encourage more employers to develop policies so women who experience symptoms are better supported, the DWP added. Tomlinson said that fewer than a quarter of UK businesses ‘currently have a menopause policy, but as I take on this role, I am determined that my generation of women in work will break the menopause taboo and have confidence that their health is valued’.

    The DWP said that she will raise awareness of menopause, while promoting the benefits for businesses and the economy when women are supported to stay in work. Her role could also include advising employers about ‘small but significant’ changes they can make to the workplace, including offering women experiencing the symptoms of menopause more regular breaks and creating cooler spaces in offices, the DWP added.

    The announcement of Tomlinson’s appointment came after the DWP had previously published official responses to two reports on menopause and the workplace. Tomlinson is Head of Talent in the UK and Ireland at the human resources provider Adecco Group. She was appointed to the role on a voluntary basis by the DWP, where she will work closely with Mims Davies, the Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression. Davies said that menopause is a major reason that too many women leave the workforce early, often when they are at the peak of their skills and experience with so much more still to contribute. Tomlinson will also work closely with Lesley Regan, who was appointed as the government’s first women’s health ambassador in 2022.

    According to the DWP, a quarter of women report that they have considered leaving their job due to experiencing menopause. Not all women experience symptoms that stop them from working, but research suggests that those with serious menopausal symptoms take an average of 32 weeks of leave from work over the length of their employment.

    Many women tend to suffer in silence during perimenopause and menopause. Seeing this subject acknowledged at government level, gives hope that it will inspire businesses to do the same – educating and raising awareness about menopause-related issues, whilst also providing assistance and support to those who need it.

    Back to the top

    Further Information:

    If you would like any additional information, please contact Anne-Marie Pavitt or Sophie Banks on: hello@dixcartuk.com

  • Employment Law General Update – November 2022

    This month’s news seems to be full of inequality as we report on the gender pay gap, perceptions and experiences of racism at work, menopause, striking transport workers, bias in recruitment, carer’s leave and new protection from redundancy measures for those on pregnancy-related leave.

    • Gender Pay Gap: ONS 2022 gender pay gap data published
    • Race Discrimination: 2021 survey considers perceptions and experiences of racism at work
    • ACAS: Survey finds 1 in 3 employers feel under-equipped to support women during menopause
    • Trade Unions: New Transport Strikes Bill introduced to House of Commons
    • Technology: Research suggests using AI to reduce bias in recruitment is counter-productive
    • Leave: Government backs Carer’s Leave Bill
    • Redundancy: Government backs Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill

    Gender Pay Gap: ONS 2022 gender pay gap data published

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) releases annual statistics on differences in pay between women and men by age, region, full-time and part-time work, and occupation as compiled from its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. The ONS analysis of the gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men and women as a proportion of men’s average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) across all jobs in the UK. It does not measure the difference in pay between men and women doing the same job and is different from compulsory gender pay gap reporting.

    The ONS encourages focus on long-term trends rather than year-on-year trends. It notes that the data for 2020 and 2021 was subject to uncertainty and should be treated with caution. This is due to earnings estimates being affected by changes in workforce composition and the furlough scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as disruption to data collection and lower response rates.

    Over the past decade, the gender pay gap has fallen by approximately a quarter among full-time employees. In April 2022, the gender pay gap for full-time employees was 8.3%. While this is higher than the 2021 gap of 7.7%, it continues a downward trend since April 2019 when the gap was 9.0%.

    In 2022, the occupation group for managers, directors and senior officials has seen the largest fall in its gender pay gap figure (10.6%) since the pre-pandemic April 2019 figure (16.3%). This reflects signs of more women holding higher-paid managerial roles. In terms of geography, the gender pay gap is higher in all English regions than in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Other trends seen in 2021 remain:

    • The gender pay gap is much higher for full-time employees aged over 40 years (10.9%) than those aged below 40 years (3.2%). 
    • Higher earners experience a much larger difference in hourly pay between the sexes than lower-paid employees.

    Back to the top

    Race Discrimination: 2021 survey considers perceptions and experiences of racism at work

    Following a survey of 1,193 UK employees (507 White, 419 Asian, 267 Black), Pearn Kandola, a business psychology consultancy, has published a new report, Racism at Work in the UK 2021. The survey replicated the approach previously taken by Pearn Kandola in 2018 (see Racism at Work Survey Result, 2018), asking participants about their perceptions and experiences of racism at work and actions their employers have taken to combat racism.

    Of the employees surveyed, 74.8% considered racism to be a problem in the workplace. Of the 52.2% who had witnessed racism at work, 29.8% confronted the perpetrator, 22.4% reported the incident to a manager or HR department while 28.3% took no action.

    Racism at work was experienced by 34% of the respondents. Black respondents were 15.1 times more likely than White respondents, and 1.9 times more likely than Asian respondents, to experience workplace racism. Asian respondents were 8.1 times more likely to experience racism at workplace than White respondents. These results suggested that the likelihood of Black and Asian employees experiencing racism at work had generally increased between 2018 and 2021. For White respondents it had decreased.

    Almost half of employees worked for organisations that had taken action to promote greater racial equality at work (49.7%). Most frequently this involved anti-racism training and general awareness raising. Internal policies and procedures were changed both to make them more inclusive and to make it easier to report racism to senior colleagues.

    The report recommendations include recognition that experiences differ both between and within racial groups, and for employees to be trained to become active bystanders who know how to challenge racism.

    Back to the top

    ACAS: Survey finds 1 in 3 employers feel under-equipped to support women during menopause

    ACAS has reported on the outcome of a survey in which it commissioned YouGov to ask British businesses how well equipped they felt their workplaces were to support women going through the menopause. Responses indicated that while 46% felt either very or fairly well equipped, 33% considered that they were either not that well equipped or not equipped at all, and 21% of respondents did not know. With regard to confidence in managers having the necessary skills to support staff, 46% felt either very or fairly confident, 37% were either not very or not at all confident and 17% did not know.

    ACAS advises that employers:

    • Develop a menopause policy that explains how the menopause can affect people differently and what support is available.
    • Provide awareness training for managers on the menopause and how to deal with it sensitively and fairly.
    • Consider making practical changes at work to help staff manage their symptoms, such as the availability of cold drinking water and temperature control.

    Back to the top

    Trade Unions: New Transport Strikes Bill introduced to House of Commons

    On 20 October 2022, the Transport Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons. The Bill is intended to balance the right to strike with ensuring people can commute to work and make vital journeys to access education and healthcare during strikes. It will enable employers to ensure minimum service levels in specified transport services during strikes by requiring sufficient employees to work.

    The Bill sets out the legal framework through which minimum service levels will be achieved using minimum service specifications, which include minimum service agreements, minimum service determinations and minimum service regulations. Employers and trade unions may negotiate and reach agreement on minimum service levels by entering into a minimum service agreement. Where the parties have failed to reach an agreement after three months, the matter will be referred to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) which will make a minimum service determination. The Bill provides that the Secretary of State may set minimum services levels through minimum service regulations which will apply where an agreement has not been entered into and a determination has not been made.

    When a union gives an employer notice of a strike which relates to a specified transport service, and the employer and union are bound by a minimum service specification as regards the employer’s provision of that service, the employer may give a work notice to the union. That notice will identify the people required to work during the strike in order to ensure that minimum levels of service are provided and specify the work they will be required to carry out during the strike. Where an employer has given a work notice and the union fails to take reasonable steps to ensure that those identified in the notice do not take part in the strike, the union will not be protected from an action in tort by the employer.

    The Transport Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2022, which will extend to England, Scotland and Wales, will come into force at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which it is passed.

    Back to the top

    Technology: Research suggests using AI to reduce bias in recruitment is counter-productive

    Cambridge University researchers have suggested that using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reduce bias in recruitment is counter-productive in their report Does AI Debias Recruitment? Race, Gender, and AI’s “Eradication of Difference”.

    The research considered the suggestion that using AI in recruitment can objectively assess candidates by removing gender and race from their systems and, in doing so, make recruitment fairer and help organisations to achieve their DEI goals and establish meritocratic cultures. The researchers built their own simplified AI recruitment tool, to rate candidates’ photographs for the “big five” personality traits: agreeableness, extroversion, openness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. However, they found the software’s predictions were affected by changes in people’s facial expressions, lighting and backgrounds, as well as their choice of clothing.

    Recommendations made as a result of the research include developers shifting from trying to correct individual instances of bias to considering the broader inequalities that shape recruitment processes. Those, such as HR professionals, tasked with using technology must understand the limitations of AI and need suppliers to explain where AI is being used in their systems and how it is being used to evaluate candidates. The research also suggested that there remains an insufficient contribution from AI ethicists, regulators and policymakers in the scrutiny of AI-powered HR tools.

    The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s Resourcing and talent planning report (September 2022) found that only 8% of employers used AI to interpret job requirements and scan databases or the open web for relevant candidates and that 5% of employers used AI to either screen candidates (shortlisting based on a job description) or select them (through analysis of interview responses to match hiring criteria or using chatbots for first-stage interviews).

    Back to the top

    Leave: Government backs Carer’s Leave Bill

    On 21 October 2022, the government announced that it was backing the Carer’s Leave Bill, a Private Members’ Bill sponsored by Wendy Chamberlain MP. The Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on 15 June 2022 and its second reading was passed with government support on 21 October 2022.

    The Bill will introduce a new and flexible entitlement of one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees who are providing or arranging care. It will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment. They will be able to take the leave flexibly to suit their caring responsibilities and will not need to provide evidence of how the leave is used or who it will be used for which, it is hoped, should ensure a smooth process. Employees taking their carer’s leave entitlement will be subject to the same employment protections that are associated with other forms of family-related leave, meaning they will be protected from dismissal or any detriment as a result of having taken time off.

    Between 16 March and 3 August 2020, the government consulted on its proposal to give employees who are also unpaid carers a week of unpaid leave each year to provide care. On 23 September 2021, the government response to the consultation confirmed that it would introduce a statutory right of up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave when Parliamentary time allowed.

    Back to the top

    Redundancy: Government backs Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill

    On 21 October 2022, the government announced that it was backing the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill, a Private Members’ Bill sponsored by Dan Jarvis MP. The Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on 15 June 2022 and its second reading was passed with government support on 21 October 2022.

    Currently, the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) allows the Secretary of State to make regulations concerning redundancy “during” periods of maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave. For example, under regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3312), before making a woman on maternity leave redundant, an employer must offer her a suitable alternative vacancy where one is available with the employer or an associated employer.

    The Bill will amend the ERA 1996 to enable the Secretary of State to make regulations providing protection against redundancy “during or after” an individual taking the relevant leave. It will also add a new provision to the ERA 1996 allowing for regulations about redundancy “during, or after” a “protected period of pregnancy”. While the detail will be provided by the regulations, the explanatory notes to the Bill suggest that, by extending protection after a protected period of pregnancy, a woman who has miscarried before informing her employer of her pregnancy will benefit from the redundancy protection.

    On 25 January 2019, BEIS published a consultation on extending this protection to apply from the date an employee notifies the employer in writing of her pregnancy, to six months after her return from maternity leave. The consultation also asked whether this protection should be extended to similar types of leave such as adoption leave and shared parental leave. On 22 July 2019, the government published its response to the BEIS consultation suggesting that it would bring forward legislation when Parliamentary time permitted.

    Back to the top

    Further Information:

    If you would like any additional information, please contact Anne-Marie Pavitt or Sophie Banks on: hello@dixcartuk.com

  • Employment News – April 2022

    This month the news is full of diversity and equality – calls to support and engage on a wide range of matters such as neurodiversity, LGBTQ+ and race and ethnicity.  There is also a focus on health – with updates on fit notes to calls for action on mental health and menopause.

    • Diversity: Neurodiversity in Business forum launched to support neurodiverse employees
    • Diversity & Equality: Government’s LGBT+ Business Champion issues call to engage
    • Equality: Government publishes response to Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report
    • Health: Fit notes may be issued digitally without a wet-ink signature from 6 April 2022
    • Mental Health: DHSC publishes discussion paper and call for evidence  
    • Menopause: Workplace pledge signed by over 600 employers

    Diversity: Neurodiversity in Business forum launched to support neurodiverse employees

    On 21 March 2022, Neurodiversity in Business (NiB) was launched at the Houses of Parliament to support neurodiverse employees in the workplace. Between 15% and 20% of the population are estimated to be neurodivergent. Dan Harris, Chief executive of NiB, states that although employers increasingly recognise the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce, neurodivergent employees need improved support. NiB and founding members, such as Accenture, AstraZeneca, Bank of England, Capita, Network Rail, Sky and Unilever, recognise that reasonable modifications can enable more neurodiversity in the workplace and also benefit sustainability. The new forum will work with organisations that support neurodiversity including Auticon, Ambitious about Autism, the ADHD Foundation, the British Dyslexia Association, Diversity and Ability and the National Autistic Society.

    Back to the top

    Diversity & Equality: Government’s LGBT+ Business Champion issues call to engage

    On 18 March 2022, the government’s LGBT+ Business Champion, Iain Anderson, issued a call to engage to employers, staff networks, trade unions and civil society organisations with practical experience of creating LGBT+ inclusive workplaces, supporting LGBT+ inclusion and improving outcomes and experiences for LGBT+ people. He is looking for practical examples that work of what businesses are doing to improve LGBT+ outcomes and experiences in the workplace. The call to engage is not for personal experiences or views.

    The questions ask for information on the following issues:

    • The collection of LGBT+ diversity and inclusion data and how effective this has been.
    • How organisations have been able to improve the outcomes and experiences of LGBT+ employees in the workplace and how effective this has been. Where possible, respondents are asked to disaggregate measures taken in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans employees.
    • In countries where LGBT+ people routinely experience discrimination, what organisations are doing to support the safety and advocacy of LGBT+ staff.
    • How organisations can have a positive social and economic impact on LGBT+ equality, including in countries where LGBT+ people routinely experience discrimination. In particular, comments are welcomed on impacts outside the organisation, for example, having a positive influence through supply chains, distributors and customers.

    The consultation closes on 28 April 2022.

    Back to the top

    Equality: Government publishes response to Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report

    On 17 March, the government has published its response to the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities made a number of recommendations to address ethnic and racial disparities across society. The response confirms that mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting will not be introduced. However, organisations who choose to publish their figures will be required to publish a “diagnosis and action plan“, setting out reasons why disparities exist and what will be done to address them. Guidance on voluntary ethnicity pay gap reporting, to be published in summer 2022, will be designed to help employers address some of the challenges around ethnicity pay gap reporting. It will include case studies drawn from organisations which have already chosen to report on their ethnicity pay, setting a benchmark for what a good action plan might cover.

    The report also tackles the use of artificial intelligence in recruitment processes and automated decision-making. A white paper, to be published later in the year, will deal with how to address potential racial bias in algorithmic decision-making. To ensure technological advances do not have a disproportionate impact on ethnic minority groups, the EHRC will advise on the safeguards needed and issue guidance that explains how to apply the Equality Act 2010 to algorithmic decision-making.

    The government has accepted the Commission’s recommendation that the acronym BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) is unhelpful, and it has stopped using the term in its own communications. It is more productive to consider the disparities and outcomes of specific ethnic, rather than homogenous, groups. Where it is absolutely necessary to draw a binary distinction between the ethnic majority and ethnic minorities, the government will use the term “people from ethnic minority backgrounds“. The response also states that terms such as “white privilege” can be seen as stigmatising and potentially divisive, as they have the unintended consequence of pitting groups against each other.

    The response includes a package of other measures designed to improve diversity and inclusion, including additional funding for the EHRC, an “Inclusion at Work Panel” which will disseminate diversity resources to employers, and updated guidance for employers on positive action, to be published by the end of the year. 

    Back to the top

    Health: Fit notes may be issued digitally without a wet-ink signature from 6 April 2022

    In its July 2021 response to the 2019 consultation document “Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss“, the government committed to removing the statutory obstacles to the digital issuing of fit notes. Currently, fit notes must be signed in ink by the issuing doctor, although given the significant shift to virtual GP consultations since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been increasing demand for fit notes to be provided digitally.

    The Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/298) were made on 14 March 2022 and come into force on 6 April 2022. They amend the Social Security (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1976 (SI 1976/615) and the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1985 (SI 1985/1604). The new Regulations prescribe a new form of fit note, which will be used in parallel with the existing version of the form. The Regulations remove the requirement for the fit note to be signed in ink and the new form of fit note no longer contains a signature box.

    Back to the top

    Mental Health: DHSC publishes discussion paper and call for evidence  

    The Department for Health and Social Care has published a discussion paper and call for evidence on improving mental health and wellbeing, which includes the development of a ten-year plan to reduce the prevalence, incidence and recurrence of mental ill-health.

    The discussion paper suggests compassionate employers are needed, who will protect and promote positive mental wellbeing by understanding and meeting physical and mental needs in the workplace. Two key challenges that were identified through the Thriving at Work are reiterated in the document:

    1. the need for a clear role for employers to prevent the onset of mental health conditions and mental ill-health, and
    2. wider implementation of workplace interventions to support mental health.

    The role for employers to support mental wellbeing is further highlighted in the discussion around early intervention. Employers are identified as an important source of support for employees who may not need “clinical” early interventions. This section also highlights that in those instances, employers may need support and information to provide support for a distressed employee.

    The consultation is open to all, and responses will be collected through an online survey until 11.45 pm on 5 July 2022.

    Back to the top

    Menopause: Workplace pledge signed by over 600 employers

    More than 600 employers have signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge, which is part of a campaign by Wellbeing of Women. In signing the pledge, employers recognise that the menopause can be a workplace issue for which employees need support. Signatories commit to open, positive and respectful workplace dialogue about the menopause and to taking active steps to support employees affected by the menopause and informing them of the support offered. Active measures have already been undertaken by some signatories: the Royal Mail has run an internal campaign to normalise conversations about the menopause, Tesco plans to incorporate a breathable fabric into its uniform to help with hot flushes, and News UK has said it will cover the cost of NHS HRT prescriptions and provide desk fans.

    Last week, a survey of 1,000 HR professionals, (conducted by YouGov on behalf of Irwin Mitchell) revealed almost three-quarters of employers (72%) do not have a menopause policy and that only 16% of employers train line-managers on the menopause. The CIPD has reminded employers that positive action, such as engaging with this pledge and having a policy that outlines available support, must be “underpinned by a culture where people are actively encouraged to have open and supportive conversations“. It has its own Guidance for employers on how to better manage those affected by menopause at work, which can be accessed here.

    Back to the top

    Further Information:

    If you would like any additional information, please contact Anne-Marie Pavitt or Sophie Banks on: hello@dixcartuk.com