Equal pay revolution feared

first_imgEqual pay cases are likely to rocket if a case awaiting judgement in theEuropean Court of Justice goes against the employer. The warning comes in the wake of proposals by the Government to speed upequal pay claims which include simplifying procedures for group actions andextending the time limit for bringing a claim. These are likely to have asignificant impact on wage bills. But it could be a drop in the ocean compared to the sums involved if a groupof north Yorkshire dinner ladies wins its case. “The potential implications of the case are staggering,” accordingto Malcolm Pike, employment partner at Addleshaw Booth. “On the face ofit, it means any employee in the country who is doing equivalent work tosomeone else, whoever their employer, could be entitled to equal pay with thatperson.” It could even lead to industry-wide bargaining, he warned. In Lawrence and others v Regent Office Care, contract workers whotransferred to a private catering company when North Yorkshire County Councilcontracted out the provision of school meals claim that under article 141 ofthe EU Treaty they are entitled to compare their pay with that of their formerlocal authority colleagues. Under the Equal Pay Act 1970 workers can only claim equal value if theircase involves the same employer. But article 141 sets out no such restriction.The question is whether this article can be directly relied on by the UKworkers. The article has been held to have direct effect in other equal pay cases.But this decision could go either way, Pike said. “The ECJ could decidearticle 141 is simply too vague to be of direct effect in this case.” Previous Article Next Article Equal pay revolution fearedOn 1 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more


Press gang

first_imgPress gangOn 9 May 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Theadvent of electronic publishing had forced the magazine industry to improve itsrecruitment and retention practices and led to the launch of an HR networkgroup last year.  Veronica Simpsonreports on the network’s progress in raising the profile of HR issuesThe supposed glamour of a career in publishing has often been consideredlure enough to justify a cavalier attitude to staff recruitment, salaries, trainingand conditions among much of the industry. HR has often found it hard to gain afoothold in an industry which traditionally exults in its macho managementculture and hard-nosed business approach. The periodical publishing industry ranges from large companies responsiblefor many of the magazines on newsagents’ shelves to tiny operations publishingspecialist journals for small audiences. Philippa Kennedy, editor of the journalists’ newspaper The UK Press Gazette,says, “The trouble with this industry is that the rewards at the top areso great, young people will put up with shoddy treatment in the hope that oneday they will hit pay dirt. It’s still a very unfair and precarious industry towork in.” But the dotcom explosion two years ago enforced a much-needed reassessmentof priorities in some quarters (although by no means all). Suddenly,experienced staff were jumping ship from old technology to new, and goodreplacements were very thin on the ground. The result was that publishers wereforced to review their approach to training and career progression, recruitmentand retention. Now the industry body the Periodical Publishers Association has launched itsown HR managers network – a regular (three times a year) gathering of HRmanagers to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas and legal andcommercial updates. The PPA’s training officer Felicity Keane says, “It was launchedbecause in many companies there is only one person in charge of HR, and theyfound it quite isolating. You need opportunities to network and mix.” As a result of this group’s existence over the past seven months, severalmajor publishing companies have agreed to cooperate with a full salary survey,alongside a benchmarking study of HR practices, so that direct comparisons canbe made. At the suggestion of the HR Network group, the PPA has also initiateda graduate recruitment fair, which will take place this October. Says Keane, “HR has been raised up the agenda, to the extent that itwas a topic for discussion at the PPA’s CEO conference for the firsttime.” As an indicator of intent, it is a positive move. But this networkis a self-selecting community, as it comes from publishers who belong to thePPA and of representatives from publishers who are progressive enough to haveHR staff in the first place – still by no means common. It mustered 30 representatives for its first meeting but only just over 20for the second. Judy Little, who chairs the HR managers network group and isalso HR director at The Economist, concedes that there is still a long way togo. “HR is still a fledgling discipline in magazine publishing. You haveto remember that magazine publishing is not a homogenous industry. It goes fromthe large, reputable organisations such as The Economist or NatMags to one-offpublications. “And the presence of good HR practice is by no means indicated by thesize or presence of an HR department: small companies will often take quitegood care of their staff but not have the resources for an HR division as such.And there are medium-sized outfits where the HR role is little more thanadministrative – the management has no idea what good HR is and wouldn’tunderstand its importance if you explained it to them.” Little confirms that the big issue in publishing HR, for the past two yearsat least, has been recruitment and retention of staff although, with the recentbursting of the dotcom bubble, she predicts it may become less of a pressingmatter. “However, companies are still concerned that they can attract new,young people into the industry and then hold on to them. And it still remainshard to get good, experienced people in sales and specialist editorial.” One by-product of the recruitment problems in the industry is that it hasput pressure on managers to offer higher salaries. This has caused problems foremployers in an industry where there are no formal job grades and benchmarkingis difficult. The main recruitment vehicle, The Guardian’s Monday Mediaedition, has no salary information in many of its magazine job adverts, forsales or editorial staff. One out-of-London publisher pays rookie salespeople £10,000 a year plusbonuses, while a major rival pays its sales graduates £14,000 basic pluscommission, with structured reviews over 18 months that should end up at£17,000 basic, regardless of inner or outer London location. The company wouldnot, however, give any starting salary for journalists. Another company, whichrecently won IIP status, declares, “There are very few of our employeesearning less than £15,000 a year.” The PPA HR network group plans to undertake a salary survey which will helpto clarify matters, although the information will be kept confidential betweenparticipants. Linda Rogers, the National Union of Journalists’ national magazines andbooks organiser, says union derecognition has made it difficult for publishersto benchmark salaries with competitors. “No publisher has been looking atsalaries in a systematic way,” claims Rogers. “We think it works against the company, as it makes the salary billvery hard to calculate, and the current ad hoc system certainly does not helpline managers to plan their department budgets. We also feel that thissituation discriminates against women, who will notoriously talk themselvesdown, as opposed to men, who will generally talk themselves up.” The lack of information on pay has also made it difficult to attractfreelance and casual staff, who make up a large proportion of the workforcewhere high staff turnover and peaks and troughs in activity are the norm.Freelance rates in many companies have barely gone up in the past 10 years. Access to casual staff is vital to publishers because with continual newlaunches, it is important to be able to assemble skilled staff quickly but on atemporary basis. London-based John Brown Publishing’s HR manager Helen Watson reckonsfreelancers can make up 10 per cent of staff at any one time. “We areputting together an information pack for freelancers so they know about healthand safety issues. It’s very important that they are briefed,” saysWatson. This rapid ebb and flow of the workforce gives HR managers considerablechallenges in internal communications. A former employee in one of the largercompanies says staff learned about the acquisition of an important publicationin the US from the company newsletter, after the line manager failed toannounce the development to the team in person. However, many publishing housesare using e-mail message boards and intranet technology to rectify thecommunications problem. In an industry where managers were traditionally selected because of theirprowess in sales or marketing, there is an increasing investment in managementtraining. Geraldine Pace, managing director of publishing industry trainingcompany Communications Skills Europe, says, “The value of training hasfiltered down as a real advantage, both in attracting and keeping staff, evenin the smallest companies.” However, according to Pace, sales training tends to be the priority, as itbrings faster short-term gains. She estimates that only 10 per cent ofcompanies really base training on individual needs and focus on careeradvancement across all disciplines. Companiesare putting more emphasis on developing staff, however. Two years ago, whenHaymarket, one of the UK’s largest privately owned magazine publishingcompanies, failed its assessment for Investors in People, the company broughtin an HR manager. Helen Tiffany has introduced job descriptions and regularappraisals focusing on training needs and career progression. “Haymarketwas very old-school, very commercially-driven,” says Tiffany. “Personnel was a department you rang to find out how much holiday youhad left. Since the dotcom departures, we have concentrated on making sure weare providing career management in the company. “Almost all staff have job descriptions and we make sure managersregularly appraise their staff, are trained to do so, and through thatappraisal process we provide a variety of different training opportunities. I thinkthese are the basics that everyone should be aspiring to. And we now have 16in-house trainers – senior managers who are willing to train people. That’s ahuge commitment.” Another factor limiting the development of management talent has been thetendency in the past to promote only sales managers to the role of publisher,in charge of overall commercial direction and magazine budgets. Some companiesare trying to open up management careers to journalists. Haymarket’s recentlylaunched publishing training scheme is open to all disciplines, for example. Emap, one of the UK’s largest periodical publishers, has introduced foreditorial staff in two of its divisions a system of coaching, training allsenior managers in coaching and mentoring to keep a focus on developing thein-house talent. All advertising staff go through an induction programme, withextra targeted training thereafter. Other career development initiativesinclude coaching and 180- and 360-degree feedback. Across the industry as a whole, lack of opportunities at senior level is oneof the reasons staff turnover is high in the industry. Many companies estimatestaff churn is about 25 per cent and most employees leave at between 18 monthsand two years. The Economist’s Little says the industry’s new awareness of the importanceof staff retention and career development means it is attracting more skilledHR professionals, “I am encouraged to see that the calibre of HR staff [inmagazine publishing] is improving,” she says. “HR is higher on theagenda but there is still a long way to go.” Case Study: John Brown PublishingHeadline features of HR functionJohn Brown Publishing was started in 1987 with three magazines and is nowone of a growing number of media companies specialising in contract andcustomer magazines. It currently has 15 titles in its portfolio, includingspecialist consumer and business titles. There are 180 staff at the speciallyconverted offices in west London and business is ex- panding in the US. Thecompany’s HR manager is Helen Watson, and there is an HR officer to take careof all personnel matters from payroll to training and development, andreporting to the finance and operations director. The HR function has been in place for seven months but it inherited a fairlymature HR system in terms of training and appraisals. Also, Brown’s accessiblestyle as a director has fostered an approachable and non-hierarchicalatmosphere. Recruitment is carried out on an ad hoc basis. Training is unstructured but responsive to the individual. Training needsare identified through job description and annual appraisal procedures, withmost employees going on at least one training course a year. Training isconducted both in-house and externally. Career development takes place through appraisals. Publishers come from avariety of disciplines. Salaries are discretionary There is a state-of-the-artcanteen, a bar (with regular “happy hours”), a film screening roomand regular on-site visits from a yoga teacher, a masseur and a beautician. An optional pension scheme is open to all full-time staff plus full lifeinsurance from day one, health insurance and worldwide travel insurance. Every month, John Brown hosts a staff lunch where the latest companyactivities are shared, plus any major individual or team achievements praised.Also, the entire company is taken on an annual teambuilding weekend in France. Maternity benefits are currently discretionary or the statutory minimum butthe company is looking to instigate a more generous offer of six weeks at fullpay and 12 weeks at half pay. Job shares and part-time positions are available.HR basics include job descriptions, regular appraisals and mature systems toensure training and career development programmes are provided. “Our systems are good and pretty well established,” says Watson,”although of course I would like to take it further, and will need toexamine our progress as the company expands.” Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


Blair pledges long-term manufacturing support

first_imgBlair pledges long-term manufacturing supportOn 18 Sep 2001 in Manufacturing, Personnel Today The Prime Minister was set to offer government support to manufacturingstaff made redundant by the deepening recession in his planned address to theTUC Annual Congress. Tony Blair decided not to give the speech following the terrorist attack onthe World Trade Centre, but the transcript has been made available to PersonnelToday. In it he acknowledges that the strength of the pound has hit manufacturinghard and that with export markets shrinking, the situation is getting worse. “I know the pain much of manufacturing is experiencing,” he says.”In the UK, as around the world, jobs are being shed even from the mostseemingly secure of companies. “We shall be increasing the support to employees made redundant andworking with you to provide reskilling and retraining where we can.” But Blair reaffirms his commitment to prudent, long-term handling of theeconomy andhis desire for the UK to join the single currency, given the righteconomic conditions. The Prime Minister is concerned about the productivity gap. “In somesectors, we still lag 45 per cent behind the US and 20 per cent behind France.That is why the investment in education, skills, science and technology is sovital,” he says. In the wide-ranging speech, Blair reiterates the Government’s support ofpublic services, but stresses that reform is inevitable. “Change is never easy. But reform is not the enemy of public service inBritain – the status quo is. We offer a partnership for change andreform.” He praises the unions for changing with the times and embracing partnershipas the way forward. “People want fairness at work. They understand thereare employers who treat employees unfairly, but prefer to regard theiremployers as partners not enemies. “Partnership is not a denial of trade union interests. It is theirmodern expression.” By Ross Wigham Previous Article Next Article Related posts:center_img Comments are closed. Features list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a…last_img read more


Flexitime is still in fashion, despite decrease in programmes

first_imgFlexitime is still in fashion, despite decrease in programmesOn 13 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Flexitime is probably one of the earliest quintessential introductions ofemployee-led flexibility and took off in the UK in the 1970s. Due to the rather bureaucratic nature of many flexitime schemes and, perhapsmore importantly, the fact that the scale of flexibility and choice overworking time is tipped firmly in the direction of the employee, the demise offlexitime schemes have frequently been predicted. This, however, is not confirmed by the Cranet survey. Although only a thirdof organisations in this country are increasing their use of flexitime, thereis no evidence that they have gone out of fashion completely. In the UK there are strong sectoral differences with public-sectororganisations more likely to have flexitime schemes and to have evolved them.The UK has the lowest increase in flexitime in Europe apart from Greece andDenmark. In the Netherlands, 73 per cent of organisations have widened their use offlexitime. Extensive growth has also taken place in Austria, Belgium andGermany – none from a low base. Flexitime was developed in Germany, where it is more widespread than otherEU countries. Administration of schemes is likely to be automated there becauseit is common for non-manual staff as well as manual workers who clock in. One reason for the wider spread of flexitime in many other EU countries isthe fact that working time is more strictly regulated – by statute and bycollective or workplace agreement – than in the UK. British employers can getsignificant flexibility in working time without having formal schemes. This isless likely in countries like Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands orSweden. But while British employers have greater flexibility, they have less of acurb on the long-hours culture and hence less pressure to come up withsolutions that allow a healthy work-life balance. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


Personnel Today campaign wins prestigious prize

first_imgPersonnel Today campaign wins prestigious prizeOn 12 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Personnel Today scooped the Campaigner of the Year Award at a prestigiousmedia ceremony last week in London. The success of our Refugees in Employment campaign was recognised by acelebrated panel of judges at The Work Foundation Workworld Media Awards 2002. Despite stiff competition from Channel 4 News and the Daily Mail, which werealso short listed for the award, Personnel Today landed the prize. The judges said the campaign “displayed very clearly defined aims supportedby consistent and thorough analysis. An excellent and challenging magazinecampaign which was principled and committed to an end-result”. The Campaigner of the Year Award commends investigative, persuasive,sustained campaigns with measurable outcomes. The judges included Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, general secretary ofthe GMB union John Edmonds, deputy chair of the Competition Commission DeniseKingsmill, and CEO of The Work Foundation Will Hutton. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more


Ex-employees granted rights by Lords’ ruling

first_imgEx-employees granted rights by Lords’ rulingOn 24 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article A groundreaking House of Lords decision last week means former employees cannow bring claims against former employers for acts of discrimination orvictimisation that take place after employment has ended. The House of Lords heard appeals in cases straddling all threediscrimination statutes: sex, race and disability. It held that where the alleged discrimination is based on sex, race ordisability, the employee may have a claim if the employer does something afteremployment has ended that amounts to less favourable treatment. Previously, only staff victimised on the grounds of gender had any chance ofsuccess in such a claim. The decision will cover the giving or withholding of references byemployers, or the conduct of appeals against dismissals where the originaldismissal decision has already taken effect. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more


Sex lessons give Danish workers a satisfied glow

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Sex lessons give Danish workers a satisfied glowOn 2 Dec 2003 in Personnel Today The Danish Police Federation has joined the growing ranks of companies inDenmark to offer free sex lessons to their employees. The federation believes the lessons on how officers can improve their sexlives will help over-stressed employees to become more productive. According to the Copenhagen daily Berlingske Tidende, 500 policemen insouthern Jutland will receive advice, starting from next year. Police spokesman Arne Sogaard told the paper: “We discovered anunbelievable number of policemen have problems with their relationships becauseof a daily routine that constantly involves taking positions on serious issues.”There is no doubt this also affects their sex lives, which in turnrebounds on their effectiveness at work.” Other Danish companies, such as Lego, also offer the services of‘sexologists’. According to the paper, Lego’s chief of development Ole Vestergaard, said:”Our workers need to find an inner glow towards their partners and theirjobs.” last_img read more


Share and share alike

first_imgAreview of the second study day held by the Ayrshire Occupational Health Nurses’Group, formed in 1997, to encourage networking and professional development, bySarah AgnewThesymposium, which was open to all practitioners and associates in the field ofOH nursing, was formally opened by Francis Baker, of Napier University, whohighlighted the importance of learning, and questioned whether it occurred as aresult of absorbing knowledge, or by questioning the receipt of knowledge, andwhether it is the experience or the authority that counts when learning. Bakerherself has recently become a member of the Faculty of Homeopathy, in whichthere are only eight registered nurses. PamelaMacRae, from Ayrshire and Arran NHS Health Board, introduced Scotland’s Healthat Work Award (SHWA) and highlighted a framework for health improvement,saying: “Government White Papers are now recognising SHWA as a leading healthpromotion initiative.” There is an online booking system for free information(see weblink). DonMcIntyre, a health and safety consultant from Hodgins Smith Safety Consultants,advised on the recent changes in health and safety legislation, particularlythe asbestos regulations that are due to be fully in force by May 2004. Anotherinteresting subject was the use of mobile phones while driving as a workplaceactivity, and their implications for employers and occupational healthpractitioners (see legal, page 12).HeatherMcKendrick, an ergonomist from Associated Health Specialists, presented apersonal perspective on managing lower back pain.Oneof the main concerns she raised was the lack of risk assessments and controlmeasures within many workplaces – regardless of the recommendations made by OHprofessionals. She reiterated the fact that manual handling training should beseen as a supplement and not as a substitute for risk assessment. Employmentsolicitor Michael Lamont gave a lively presentation on the legal aspects ofmanaging absence, particularly unfair dismissals in the case of both short andlong-term absence. This opened up some debate on how employers managedisability, frequent and persistent short-term absences and capability issues.AnnBarrowman, area nurse manager at BMI Health Services, opened the afternoonsession.AndrewChadwick, director of the RSI Association gave an overview of repetitive strainindustry (RSI) and the cost to business. The RSI Association was founded in1989, and is the only organisation of its kind in the UK. It has a journal anda website giving free and useful information. Chadwickalso gave information on management and treatment for RSI conditions. Inparticular, he discussed the negative cycle of stress and problems withhealing. He also explained the five steps to recovery information, which isavailable on their website. He is keen to get in touch with occupational healthpractitioners, and he promoted the RSI awareness week and conference – 23-29February 2004 (see weblink).JoyceInnes, lecturer Glasgow Caledonian University, presented a literature review on‘Aspects of Health Risk Associated with Call Centre Working’. As the number ofcall centres grows, so do the associated health problem, and Innes pointed outthat there are very few academic papers published in this area. She gave anoverview of health risks including visual difficulties, work-related upper limbdisorders, acoustic shock and mental health issues.JanetteMurray, regional director, Scotland, of Wellwork, delivered a livelypresentation addressing practical challenges for the OH practitioner, whichencouraged debate on professional development issues and the future educationof occupational health nurses, as well as the political agenda.Barrowmanclosed the day by calling for more research and best practice to be shared betweenOH practitioners and concluded that nothing was as constant as change, andchange makes challenges.Duringthe day, stands were available during registration and lunch demonstrating skincare products, developments in IT within occupational health, and variouspieces of equipment and OH recruitment.Overall,the symposium was a worthwhile experience – not just from the point ofattending but the opportunity of networking with colleagues and otherassociations. We are always grateful for feedback from the delegates, and ithas been interesting to read through the evaluations. The fact that we havealready had topics suggested for next year is a positive reflection on thisyear’s study day. I would like to thank the speakers and organisations that madethe day such a success.SarahAgnew is group secretary of Ayrshire Occupational Health Nurse’s Group. If youare interested in attending or speaking at a group meeting, please contact [email protected] Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Share and share alikeOn 1 Jan 2004 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more


Ariana Grande and Compass’ Dalton Gomez engaged

first_imgDalton Gomez and Ariana Grande (Compass, Getty, Instagram/ArianaGrande)She want it, she got it: Pop star Ariana Grande is engaged to Compass agent Dalton Gomez.The 27-year-old singer posted a series of photos of herself side to side with Dalton on Instagram along with a photo of a diamond ring on her hand with the caption “forever n then some,” according to the Los Angeles Times.Grande has posted photos of the two together over the last year or so and earlier this year. Grande’s latest album “Positions” also has “occasional slips of vulnerability that reveal the giddiness and anxiety of new love,” according to the New York Times.Dalton also appeared in the music video for her song “Stuck With U,” a collaboration with Justin Bieber. Gomez, who is with Compass’ Aaron Kirman team, currently has the listing for Bieber’s Beverly Park home.ADVERTISEMENTHe repped actor Kunal Nayyar with his $7.5 million purchase of a home in Hancock Park last year.He has also worked with snowboarder Shaun White and basketball player Chandler Parsons. Along with his work with celebrities, Dalton has been a part of sales for two Case Study houses — Case Study #21 and Case Study #16.It was not immediately clear if Grande told Dalton “break up with your girlfriend” before they became a twosome.[NYT] — Dennis Lynch TagsMetropolitan Transportation AuthorityMultifamily MarketPolitics Share via Shortlinkcenter_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more


$6M Cobble Hill townhouse tops list of Brooklyn luxury deals

first_img Share via Shortlink The priciest property to go into contract last week was a townhouse at 31 Strong Place in Cobble Hill. The five-bedroom, six-bathroom home was last listed at $6.25 million. The renovated Federal-style townhouse has retained some of its historic details, and also comes with an expansive backyard.The most expensive condo unit to go into contract was at One Prospect Park West, which has seen a flurry of activity in recent months. The three-bedroom unit was last asking $4.375 million. If it closes for that price, the deal would pencil out to above $2,000 per square foot, breaking a record for the neighborhood.Contact Amy Plitt Full Name* Email Address* 31 Strong Place and 1 Prospect Park West (Photos via Google Maps; 1 Prospect Park West)Brooklyn’s luxury market saw a slight increase in volume in the first week of February, with 20 contracts inked for a total of $65.6 million, according to Compass’ weekly report. The report tracks contracts signed on properties asking $2 million or more.That’s an uptick from the previous week’s 17 deals totaling $51.7 million, and even an improvement over a similar period in 2020, when just 14 deals were inked.In keeping with the borough’s luxury sale trends from 2020, the deals were split evenly between townhouses and condos — and while the former had a higher median asking price of $3.075 million (versus $2.825 million for condos), the latter had a higher average price per square foot of $1,567.Read moreCenter Slope townhouse leads Brooklyn luxury salesFinancier lists Brooklyn Heights townhouse for $18M$6.5M Fort Greene townhouse sale breaks neighborhood record Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Message* Tags brooklynLuxury Real EstateResidential Real Estatetownhouse marketlast_img read more