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People Matter August 2017

The gender pay gap under the spotlight

Gender pay gap issues have blighted industrialised nations for decades. Over in the UK, the BBC’s publication of its on-screen talent’s pay showed the lack of progress that appears to have been made.

RTE recently revealed that their top earners list was also dominated by men, with only three women appearing in the top ten. The state broadcaster’s report showed that Late Late host Ryan Tubridy came in at the top of the list, earning €495,000. The highest paid woman was Miriam O’Callaghan, who earned €299,000 for her summer chat show, Prime Time.

As a response to this, RTE has now initiated a review of role and gender equality across the whole organisation, as well as looking into greater representational equality.

Gender discrimination such as a pay gap is against the law. But the damage a pay gap can cause goes beyond legal liabilities such as fines and penalties. Such unfairness is bad for staff morale and can result in heated disputes or industrial action. In a free market, top talent will ultimately go elsewhere in return for a fair wage.

There is a suggestion that sentiment is building for meaningful change – so organisations that have a pay gap issue would be wise to ensure they’re not behind the curve.

Women’s equality groups, trade unions and opposition politicians are now hoping to fast-track legislation and force companies with more than 50 employees to report on any pay differences between male and female staff.

Organisations which pay employees unequally based upon gender or any other protected characteristics are at risk of being penalised by a tribunal. Alongside this, no organisation wants a reputation for not paying people on merit. That is bad for business in the long run as it diminishes the chances of recruiting and retaining the best staff.

Do you have a gender pay gap problem? To ensure you are adhering to the Employment Equality Act 1998, contact The HR Dept. Our expert advisers will offer you all the guidance and support you need.


How autumn can affect employee productivity

The varying seasons affect the way many of us function. As the days get shorter and nights get longer, you might find that the upcoming autumn months have an impact on the workplace too.

Some employees become more efficient as there is no glorious sunshine to distract them from their daily tasks. But on the other hand, it’ll come as no surprise that cold weather often leads to increased rates of illness and sick days.

Rainy days may affect the mood of your staff – particularly those who commute in cold, wet weather. And when the daylight really starts to diminish, some find SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) kicks in.

If you need any advice on keeping your employees happy and productive throughout the next few months, contact The HR Dept.


Employers recount the worst interview candidates

A recent Reddit post asked employers to reveal some of their most painful experiences with interviewees. And the results might astound the most seasoned of hiring managers. We selected some of our favourites to highlight just how interesting the world of HR can get!

One manager asked a candidate, “What would you do if you had a conflict with another co-worker?”. The applicant responded with an anecdote about how a previous co-worker had had an affair with his then-girlfriend and he’d had to encounter him every day at work and “resist beating his ass”. The candidate then felt the need to follow this statement with, “I mean, I got him outside of work, but I never touched him at work!”.

Another hiring manager reported the downright brashness of one candidate who said, “You guys would be lucky to have me. Google is trying to recruit me too!”. The manager promptly wished him the best of luck at his job at Google.

During an interview for a restaurant position, one candidate was asked to give an example of his leadership abilities. The candidate replied by telling the interviewer how, in his previous job, he disliked the head chef so much that he organised the kitchen staff to walk out during the Friday night rush. There’s no denying this shows leadership qualities – but maybe not the right kind!

The hiring process can be just as frustrating for those on either side of the table. If you need advice on how to avoid car crash interviews, contact The HR Dept.


It’s a busy time for holiday requests

Managing conflicting holiday requests, ensuring your business is adequately staffed during busy periods… It’s enough to make you want to take a holiday yourself!

Next up it will be the Christmas period, so check out our HR Dept Toolkit quick!

It’s a cloud-based, simple platform that can be used by you and your employees.  The Toolkit manages a variety of HR tasks such as staff holidays, employment contracts, inductions, appraisals and sickness.

A key feature of the Toolkit is that it has three tiers of access – owner, manager and employee.

This means that everyone in your organisation can control and view information at their appropriate level.

So, if you would like to find out more about this stress-free, low-cost way of managing your HR, contact us and we’ll be happy to arrange a demo for you.


Gender pay gap update

The BBC (public broadcaster in the UK) gender pay gap has been well publicised.

At the time of writing, the latest news was that female stars were calling on the BBC to take action.

Of course, the BBC isn’t alone in having a gender pay gap. In the case of the screen stars, the BBC may not be breaking the law.

But generally, not only is it illegal to pay employees differently based on gender, it can result in low morale and employer/employee trust issues, as the BBC is discovering.

More work needs to happen on abolishing the gender pay gap.

At the current rate of progress it’ll take 62 years to close it fully.

For help getting this right, give us a call.


Latest update on tribunals

News from across the sea: The UK Supreme Court has ruled fees for employment tribunals are unlawful because they restrict access to justice a basic principle in UK law.

The introduction of fees of up to £1,200 saw a 79% drop in tribunal claims in 2013. The government immediately stopped charging the fees and are looking at refunding the £32m charged in recent years.

The big question now is will they allow people who did not make a claim because of the fees to make one now even if technically out of time.

Undoubtedly, more employees will now take their bosses to a tribunal even though it is thought a lower fee will be introduced.

Many of our UK clients have expressed concern about the increased risk posed by increased tribunals. Sound, practical and pragmatic  professional advice is the answer.

Our Advice Line service – which covers unlimited telephone and email support – is backed by our market-leading tribunal insurance. So, if you follow our HR professional’s advice, you’re completely covered from any award at a tribunal.


T H E  I N D I C A T O R
Employment and litigation issues

Maternity pay – Paid for 26 weeks by Dept Social Welfare. Addtional Maternity pay – Further 16 weeks unpaid Additional Maternity Leave. Adoptive leave – 24 weeks unpaid, unless contractual, and may rules to qualify for adoptive benefit. AAL – 16 weeks unpaid.

2 Week’s pay per year of service plus 1 week, from age 16. Capped at €600 per week gross. SRP is tax exempt.

Hourly pay rate – €9.25 experienced adult workers, €8.33 over 18 and in second year of employment, €6.48 for workers under 18 and €7.40 from first year from date of first employment aged over 18.

Hourly pay rate – €6.94 for employee over 18 in structured training during working hours 1st one third period, €7.40 2nd period, €8.33 3rd third period.



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