IT sector lobbies firms to support £15m skills planOn 6 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Employers,suppliers and the Government are being urged to back a £15m plan to find asolution to the growing shortage of IT professionals in the UK with e-commerceskills.Theplan, which has just opened for consultation, aims to bring thousands of workersinto the IT profession every year to meet the needs of business to develope-commerce projects.Thethree-year project, coordinated by the E-skills National Training Organisation(NTO), is an ambitious attempt by the IT profession to tackle the UK’s IT skillsshortages.KarenPrice, chief executive of the E-skills NTO, said she is confident thethree-year plan will win financial backing from the Government if employers areprepared to contribute.GillWilson, HR manager for the software and systems engineering firm Amey Datel,welcomed the plan. She said the company had to pay high salaries to attractexperienced IT staff.www.e-skillsnto.org.uk Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article What should an occupational health nurse do when asked to deal with drug andalcohol testing as part of a pre-employment health assessment in the absence ofa company policy? Readers provide the answerQ Last month we asked whatreaders would do when faced with the following problem: I am a newly appointednurse in a transport-related company. In my first induction week with my linemanager, I was advised that the pre-employment health assessment process includesa urine drug and alcohol test. While I feel competent to perform the chain ofcustody procedures, I am concerned that the employer does not have a drug andalcohol policy. I have discussed this with my manager who has told me that theprevious nurse did not question the absence of a policy and that I shouldperform the chain of custody procedure in accordance with the personneldepartment’s request. What is my course of action? A I am very much enjoying the newfeature on professional dilemmas and would like to offer an opinion on thedilemma in the March edition. While I believe it is extremely important to have both a drugs and alcoholpolicy in place, in these circumstances it is not essential to have it alreadyin place. As long as the nurse is competent to carry out the chain of custodyprocedure, and has the written consent of the patient that is all that isrequired. A positive result would make the person unfit to be employed. The issue isentirely different if the company were to decide to do random, or with-causetesting on its employees, both of which are still quite controversial. I would suggest that she/he advises the company to implement a drugs andalcohol policy as soon as possible. Liz Mitchell (Occupational Health Adviser working in industry) Winning answer The clear message should be that drug testing of a workforce should not beundertaken without first implementing a company drug and alcohol policy that clearlydefines the purpose of the screening and its consequences. An employer may havea number of reasons for wishing to introduce drug testing in the workplacewhich may include public safety (as in the transport industry), employee safety(reduction in workplace accidents), public relations and corporate image andthe achievement of a drug-free workplace. Whatever the employer’s objectives, it should be mindful of itsresponsibilities and statutory duties towards employees, the public andemployees of other organisations who may be working on its premises. Ofparticular relevance would be the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, theManagement of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Misuse of DrugsAct 1971 and the Transport and Works Act 1992. Employers must bear in mind the consequences of the above legislation whenconsidering the introduction of a drug and alcohol policy and I think it isfair to comment that it would be unacceptable to expect employees to agree todrug and alcohol testing where no policy is in place. It is my understandingthat where a company is planning to introduce workplace drug testing, contractsof employment must be changed and an appropriate period of notice given. Good planning and the initiation of a clear and concise policy, are thefirst steps to successfully implementing a workplace drug testing programme.The most important stage in the introduction of the proposed policy iscommunication to the workforce, who should understand what is expected of themand the results of non-compliance. The policy should be explicit in itsobjectives, state the expected code of conduct and the date from which it willbe enforced. The reasons for the introduction of workplace drug testing should be clearlystated, what drugs are likely to be detected, when employees will be tested andwhat will happen in the event of a positive test result also need to beprecisely defined. It is also important that employees are aware of the appealsprocedure. In addition, the policy should state the organisation’s intentionsshould an employee voluntarily seek help for a drug or alcohol problem. While to my knowledge there are no legal restrictions on pre-employment drugtesting, it should be remembered that an employee may refuse to be tested. Itis therefore imperative when testing existing employees that a policy is inplace to give clear guidance on further action. The advice given by the personnel department for the nurse to continue withthe procedure is worrying. What would happen if the test were performed andfound to be positive? It is likely that the employee would seek advice from thenurse on an appeals procedure and again without a policy this is unclear. It is important that when drug and alcohol testing is being carried out we,as OH professionals ensure it is performed to an ethical standard with duerespect for human rights. Lynsey Scott RGN BSc(Hons) Dip HE Cert Hlth Prom Occupational Health Practitioner MTLMedical Services February dilemma Q Our February dilemma page featureda question about whether an occupational health nurse should discloseinformation from a health questionnaire to a manager who is concerned that anew employee may have a pre-existing back problem that she has not disclosed. A The straight answer to yourquestion is No! The employee is entitled to the assurance that the answersprovided to any medical questions are recognised as being confidential tooccupational health and it is not appropriate to disclose them to any otherpersons. In view of the fact that the employee has an established pattern ofill-health-related to back pain after only five months in the job, the managershould be contacted. My action would be to suggest that the manager review thestaff member’s sickness record and with her consent refer her for a routineappointment with the occupational health physician. It will be theresponsibility of occupational health to advise on whether the employee issuffering from work-related ill-health and to recommend an appropriate courseof treatment. It is possible that the employee knowingly withheld the fact that she had anexisting health problem for fear of not getting the job. If it transpires thatthis is preventing her from working to her present job description, managementmay decide that, as a consequence of being untruthful about her fitness forwork, she should be liable to dismissal. Sheila Hobbs Occupational Health Nurse Occupational Health Department, Llandough Hospital Magic of CounsellingIn Occupational Health October we featured a review of some videos entitledThe Magic of Counselling. Unfortunately we had some difficulty finding thesuppliers contact details. Here they are: The Quiet Associates, 35 AudleyGrove, Bath, BA1 3BT, tel 01225 463656, email: [email protected] Apologies for thedelay.This month’s dilemmaSenior managers within my organisation, (a local government department) arebecoming concerned by the amounts being awarded in settlement forstress-related claims, and the evidence that stress related long-term abscencewithin the company is on the increase. As the occupational health adviser, I have been asked to assess the issue onbehalf of the company and devise a strategy for the company to adopt. Inparticullar the company have asked me to devise a mental health risk assessmenttool. I am finding it difficult to write this “tool”. Can anyone helpme before I too go down with stress!What is my course of action?Fax 020 8769 7892 or e-mail [email protected] month’s dilemma does not have a model answer – we are asking readers tosupply the answer themselves. We will publish a selection next month, the bestreply receives a bottle of champagne. This month’s champagne goes to LynseyScott for her suggestions on how to deal with the problem on drugs testingpolicy. Champagne is also on its way to the reader who supplied the real-lifeprofessional dilemma featured above. Pleasesend your replies in to reach us by 12 April. Is a drugs and alcohol policy really necessary?On 1 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Comments are closed. Work permits at a glanceOn 11 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Employers who have recruited, or may recruit, non-UK citizens must notdiscriminate against them because of their nationality. But they must ensurethey don’t breach the Immigration and Asylum Act 1996, says Alison Gurden atBeachcroft WansbroughsWho requires a work permit?Most workers who are not: – European Economic Area citizens – Commonwealth citizens with a right of abode in the UK – Individuals without automatic entitlement to work in the UK should obtaina work permit. The employer should apply for this on behalf of the prospectiveemployee. If granted, the permit will apply to a particular job and employer,and should not be transferred to another employer without authorisation. When will a work permit be granted? In general, permits are not granted for unskilled jobs or forself-employment. The employer must show a genuine vacancy for an employee. Inaddition, it must be shown that the person is suitably qualified or experiencedfor that vacancy, and that there are no suitably qualified or experienced”resident workers”. For intra-company transfers, the employer must show that the post requiresan established employee who has essential company knowledge and experience. For how long will the permit be granted? Permits may be issued for up to five years, and one that is granted forfewer may be extended on application of the employer and the employee. What if the work permit has expired? An employee who is appealing against a permit extension refusal shouldreceive a letter from the Home Office confirming that they may continue to workuntil their appeal is determined. But an employee whose permit has expired andwho is not appealing cannot work after the expiry date. What about people already resident in the UK? Residents of the UK, without permission to work indefinitely, will usuallyrequire a work permit. Asylum-seekers may work in the UK if they have writtenpermission from the Home Office. Employers’ potential criminal liability Under Section 8 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1996, it is a criminaloffence to employ a person who does not have permission to work in the UK. The company or organisation, or individual officers of the company (such asthe HR director or manager) may face personal liability if they have acquiescedin the employment of such a person. The offence may result in a fine of up to£5,000. It may be a defence for the company or organisation, or its officers, toprove that the employee produced documentation showing entitlement to work in theUK (see below). This defence will also apply if an employment agency hadguaranteed that a temporary employee’s relevant documents had been checked, andthe person was entitled to work in the UK. How can an employer protect it’s self? The employer faces two potential liabilities when employing a worker who isnot an EEA citizen: criminal liability under the Immigration and Asylum Act; orcivil liability under the Race Relations Act. An employer refusing to employ an individual because of a belief that theymay not have permission to work in the UK could be subject to a discriminationclaim brought by the prospective employee in an employment tribunal. The Home Office has issued a code of practice for all employers on theavoidance of race discrimination in recruitment, which is intended to protectthe worker, while at the same time prevent illegal working. The code is notbinding on employers, but the tribunal should take it into account in anydiscrimination proceedings. Key elements of the code The code specifies documentation that an employer may request in order toconfirm that the individual is entitled to work in the UK. This includes: – A document issued by a previous employer, the Inland Revenue, the BenefitsAgency, the Contributions Agency or the Employment Service, stating theindividual’s national insurance number – A passport or national identity card identifying the individual as aBritish or EEA citizen, or having the right of abode in the UK – A birth certificate issued in the UK, the Irish Republic, the ChannelIslands or the Isle of Man – A letter from the Home Office indicating that the individual haspermission to work in the UK – A work permit or other approval for employment issued by Work Permits UK The code suggests that the employer should request that all applicantsproduce one of the documents listed. But they should be given a choice of thedocument they produce – to request that each applicant produce a P45 maydiscriminate against those applicants who have not worked previously. Failure to provide proof of employment status will not necessarily preventthe applicant obtaining authority to work. In situations where the applicant isnot able to provide proof of authorisation to work, they should be referred toa Citizen’s Advice Bureau or another such organisation as it may be the casethat they have not applied for authorisation. If the position would have been offered to the applicant had they been ableto show entitlement to work, it should be left open for a reasonable period oftime, if possible, to allow the candidate to apply for permission to work. What other obligations does an employer have towards a worker? An employer should not dismiss an employee due to expiry of their workpermit if that person is still required for the job. It is advisable that theemployer assists the employee to obtain an extension, otherwise an action forunfair dismissal may follow. Suspending a worker, until the determination oftheir appeal against a permit refusal, could be classed as constructivedismissal, particularly if suspension on pay does not include shift allowancesor regular overtime. Alison Gurden is a member of the employment department at BeachcroftWansbroughs Contact 020-7894 6038 Further information – Information on work permits may be found at www.workpermits.gov.uk– Information on the code of practice may be obtained from www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk– Advice on avoiding race discrimination is available from the Commissionfor Racial Equality at www.cre.gov.uk Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article
Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article An East Lancashire council is introducing a package of flexible benefits to help retain staff and extend its hours of operation.Over the next four months, Pendle Council will implement a range of changes to the way its 650 staff work, in an attempt to boost work-life balance.Steve Traynor, the council’s personnel manager, explained the changes will include an extended flexi-time scheme, compressed weeks, term-time only hours and job sharing.“Our staff voted overwhelmingly for more flexibility in a recent staff survey and this will help us retain our employees. There are new challenges facing us in local government and it is clear that the standard nine-to-five working pattern is now less relevant,” he said.The new measures will make the council more flexible by covering more hours and responding to demand for services beyond usual office hours.The changes also include new arrangements for working from home, leave for paternity, adoption or fertility treatment and career breaks. Council benefits package to help boost work-life balanceOn 30 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today
Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Staying healthy at workOn 1 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Howard Popeck reviews RSI prevention software and an online personalergonomics managerWorkPace RSI prevention software The commercial world remains severely lacking in its attempt to offer officeworkers preventative measures and treatment for RSI (repetitive strain injury).But following the introduction of WorkPace, workers are finally being presentedwith help to reduce the risk of RSI injuries associated with long-term use ofcomputers. WorkPace is intended to stop you from getting sore eyes or aches and painsfrom using a computer. The key is pacing your work – maintaining an even workrate, taking regular breaks, and doing exercises to rejuvenate your muscles.Breaks refresh mind and body and are proven to reduce fatigue and enhanceproductivity. Designed to maintain maximum efficiency, productivity and well-being,WorkPace uses a continuous animated status display, with feedback on individualperformance, prompts for on-screen exercises and comprehensive statistical dataon all breaks taken, time worked, typing speed and mouse usage. In addition, the software warns when ‘micro’ pauses and rest breaks areneeded, as well as educating users on posture, ergonomics and RSI prevention.Other features include the printing of graphs, tables and summaries so thatemployers can measure exposure to hazards while checking reports on users most atrisk. Endorsed by the UK RSI Association, WorkPace has been developed inassociation with leading health and safety specialists, and is currently beingused by more than 500,000 PC users worldwide. It has already been adopted bymajor organisations including Shell, Ericsson, PwC, ING Bank, Philips andCoca-Cola. WorkPace will often force a change in working habits and an increase inawareness of the need to take breaks. Some might find it irritating at first,but the makers claim that after a month or so, you will get used to the breaksand the warnings. Recorded WorkPace statistics prove that, in most cases, thepauses and breaks that the WorkPace prompts, don’t take more than five minutesa day in total. For an employer, WorkPace claims to save money by reducinginsurance premiums/workers compensation and reducing absenteeism and sickleave. It enables you to meet health and safety legislation and protectsagainst civil liability. Moreover, it minimises risks of RSI, providesautomatic monitoring of computer use and breaks, and it educates and trainsemployees. WorkPace is an intelligent software response to a real-world problem. Theonly black mark is that is not available for Apple Mac users. The accompanyinghandbook is informative, sensibly indexed and engagingly written. – WorkPace can be downloaded from the Home Working Solutions website for a30-day free trial. Online Personal Ergonomics Manager Smart though WorkPace is, it isn’t the whole story when combating RSI. Withmore and more people sitting in a static position, staring at a computer screenfor long periods of time, it is not surprising that the number of work-relatedinjuries and claims against employers is on the increase. In response,ErgoTrack, a personal ergonomics manager designed to custom-fit a user’s workarea, has been released. Many computer users are unaware of the health risks. Furniture and computerequipment is often not tailored to an individual’s requirements – but with somequick and simple adjustments, it now can be. With ErgoTrack and a tape measure,users can eliminate awkward posture and prevent repetitive motion injuries,headaches, fatigue, eyestrain and low back and shoulder soreness. It’s claimed that ErgoTrack’s Fit Yourself Online and Adjustment programsare based on proven ergonomic design principles and anthropometric data.ErgoTrack recommends or corrects computer workstation layouts to fit yourgender, standing height and job profile. It provides 11 critical dimensions forthe optimal work area, as well as a wide range of information, analysis andreporting facilities. It was developed in association with leading medical andergonomic consultants, and has already been used by thousands of workersworldwide. Changing work patterns mean that many people sit for hours a day in front ofa computer, but the increasing population of self-employed and home workers arenot subject to normal workplace supervision and routines, and are more likelyto be at risk from inappropriate furniture, work layouts and practices.ErgoTrack addresses these issues and helps to eliminate potentially seriousproblems associated with poor posture, such as back pain, RSI and eyestrain. ErgoTrack can be downloaded from the Health Centre on the Home WorkingSolutions website for only £14.95 (US$23.20). Websiteswww.homeworkingsolutions.co.uk
Comments are closed. News in BriefOn 4 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article This week’s news in brief…More rail strikes First Great Eastern railway staff are set to strike twice this month overpay. RMT members in most grades – including booking office, cleaners, guardsand platform staff – will take 24-hour strike action on 17 and 31 March.Employees rejected a 3.5 per cent annual pay increase. www.rmt.org.uk Junior leader training UK business is focusing more on the leadership skills of its junior managersthan its chief executives, according to research. A Work Foundation survey, DevelopingLeaders, shows junior managers are almost twice as likely to have receivedleadership tuition. www.theworkfoundation.com Pressure on the cards The Government is set to receive thousands of postcards as part of a protestcalling for the introduction of corporate killing laws. Pressure groups andtrade unions claim Tony Blair and Health and Safety Minister Nick Brown willreceive 40,000 cards, calling for directors to be responsible for safety. www.corporateaccountability.orgRetail wages to rise Employers in the retail sector are increasing salaries to attract and retainstaff in an increasingly tight labour market. A study of 70 leading retailoutlets shows that more than a quarter of HR managers in the sector expect ahigher demand for staff, and are raising base salaries to beat competitors tothe talent. www.haygroup.co.uk Related posts:No related photos.
A reader with international responsibilities, Debbie McCallion, 31, softwarefirm Intentia’s Training and HR director North-West Europe, explains hercommitment to coaching othersHow long have you been in your organisation and this job? Four and two years respectively What does your role involve? Training and HR responsibility for UK, Ireland, Holland and Belgium. Thiscovers both strategic and operational issues. What are the best and worst things about this job? I love the fact that nothing ever stands still and I really enjoy exploringthe coaching side of my role. I work closely with people who give me directfeedback on what’s working well and what could be better. The worst things arethe massive amounts of paperwork and keeping on top of new HR legislation. What is your current major training project or strategic push? The management team are all working hard at getting our key values ingrainedin our culture across four countries. This involves looking at everything we doand making sure we reinforce the behaviours we want to see. What was the best career decision you ever made? To move into HR. I originally began life as a trainee accountant, but aftersix months decided it wasn’t for me and I was lucky enough to be able totransfer internally. What was the worst? I was in HR at another company, but responsible for other support functions.Despite the value this group brought to the company, it did not receive the managementsupport required. How and why did you become a trainer? I am probably more of a coach than a trainer. I love translating theory andtrying out new academic models. At the moment I am looking at combiningperformance coaching, life coaching and counselling ( active listening ,facilitating people to find their own solutions.) Which of your qualifications do you most value and why? I value all of them. The most important thing for me is to feel that I amstill learning. What was the worst training course you ever experienced as a delegate? I’ve been lucky that most training I have attended has been of a highquality. One frustration is to have a mix of delegates with differentexpectations of what a course is trying to achieve. That is why it is importantto set clear expectations and training objectives. Do you believe that evaluation is the Holy Grail or an impossible dream? I prefer to measure the success of the entire business and trainingstrategies together-they cannot be separated. Evaluation has a part to play butyou must measure the success of the entirety. How do you think that your job will have changed in five years’ time? The role of HR and training is becoming broader, and, as a consequence, weneed to think of ourselves as general managers with an HR focus. It isimportant that we are not seen in a bubble just as HR people. What do you think will be the core skills for your job in the future? There will always be a need for business understanding and developing strongrelationships. What advice would you give to someone starting out in T&D? Focus on understanding the business and think carefully about how you caninfluence and improve business performance through others. What is your preferred terminology? I like the words personal development, the individual and feedback. What are your favourite buzz- words? I prefer to stay away from buzz words. Which buzzwords do you most loathe? The words staff and appraisals sound so old fashioned. Are you good at self-development? Yes, I work hard at constantly learning new things. What self-development have you undertaken in the past 12 months? I have recently completed a Diploma in Performance Coaching and I am juststarting a Diploma in Counselling and Certificate in Life Coaching. Also, atwork we have gone through a fairly intense team development process. Thistaught me a lot about my style and how others perceive me. Up close and personalHow do you network?In everything I do. My first choice is always to pick up thephone rather than send by mail. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?Travel writerDescribe your management style in three words or so Energetic, involving, high standards.What did you want to do for a living when you were at school?It changed over the years from a doctor, to a journalist, tothen not having a clue.What is your motto?Live each day to the fullestDo you take work home with you?Mentally work comes home with me, but I’m getting better atcutting it off.How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues?Energetic and passionate, and always there if they need me.Where do you want to be in five years’ time?I couldn’t be specific but it would need to be new, fresh andchallenging.Which courses and learning experiences have been most usefulfor you?Reading the Tony Robbins’ books and attending his seminar. Which is the best management book?Unlimited Power by Tony RobbinsWhich training gurus, management experts or business peopledo you most admire?Tony Robbins and Stephen Covey Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Progress across europeOn 1 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today
Previous Article Next Article Brits among the biggest liars in EUOn 7 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Embellishing the contents of a CV and stretching the truth on an applicationform have long been considered standard behaviour for jobseekers. But newresearch shows that British candidates are among the worst exaggerators in theworld. HR managers in the UK believe that candidates exaggerate the reality oftheir previous job, bend the truth about skills, underplay their weaknesses andlie about why they left their last post. In fact, Irish and British interviewees are the most likely to exaggeratethe content of their previous roles, with 50 per cent and 49 per centrespectively happy to fib at a job interview. UK candidates are also joint world leaders in lying about the level of theirmanagement skills, with 29 per cent perceived to be economical with the truth. The Accountemps poll also illustrated the reluctance of candidates to bedrawn on their previous roles, with two-thirds failing to identify the reasonbehind their downfall, and 22 per cent not fully communicating why they lefttheir last post. The survey of more than 1,500 HR professionals across the globe looked atthe prevalence of interview exaggeration in some of the world’s leadingeconomies. According to HR managers, the best way to leave a lasting impression withthe interviewer is to ask lots of relevant questions (38 per cent) and have agood knowledge of the company (23 per cent). In the rest of Europe, the Germans are most likely to overstate theirmanagement skills (29 per cent) and exaggerate their levels of education (16per cent). The French have a prevalence for over-emphasising their knowledge of otherlanguages (23 per cent), along with the Belgians (18 per cent) and Germans (11per cent). Whatdo interviewees exaggerate? Managementskills (%) The real content of theirformer job (%)Australia 22 33Belgium 14 28France 16 29Germany 29 24Holland 29 24Ireland 21 50New Zealand 24 33UK 29 49Source:Accountempswww.accountemps.co.ukBy Ross Wigham
Comments are closed. The construction of the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the coast of Britain will create hundreds of jobs, although not all will be filled by British citizens, Personnel Today has learned. The £2bn first phase of the London Array will build 175 giant turbines a few miles from the mouth of the Thames river, about 12 miles off the coast of Kent and Essex. The project was announced yesterday (12 May) by energy firm Eon, Denmark’s Dong Energy and an Abu Dhabi company, Masdar, with plans to add a further 166 turbines after the first phase is complete. But an Eon spokesman told Personnel Today that the company couldn’t guarantee all the jobs would be British. “We expect there will be 70 full-time permanent staff upon completion of the wind farm, and there will be hundreds of contractors working on the construction over the next few years, many of whom we hope will be locals,” he said. “We will endeavour to use British workers wherever we can, but can’t guarantee that all employees will be from Great Britain.” The wind farm is hoped to be ready in time to provide electricity for the 2012 Olympics in London. The CBI’s director of business environment, Neil Bentley, said the project showed businesses were embracing a greener future, and were up for the challenge of delivering cleaner energy. In the 2009 Budget, more than £1.4bn was earmarked to support low-carbon jobs, including the development of a low-carbon and green manufacturing sector. Previous Article Next Article Largest offshore wind farm will create hundreds of jobsBy Guy Logan on 13 May 2009 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.