The 12 months of 2018: July
Rachel Muller-Heyndyk, December 20, 2018
It's been an eventful year for HR-related issues hitting the headlines. Our 12 Days of Christmas countdown revisits each month's most notable happenings
Employers failing to tackle sexual harassment
A report by the Women and Equalities Committee concluded that sexual harassment at work is widespread and commonplace, and that there has been a failure to tackle unlawful behaviours despite the government's obligations under international law. It added that employers and regulators have ignored their responsibilities for too long, and that often legal protections are not available to workers in practice.
Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee MP Maria Miller said that the high prevalence of sexual harassment at work is “utterly shameful”, and that current policies are proving ineffective: “It is utterly shameful that in 2018 unwanted sexual comments, touching, groping and assault are seen as an everyday occurrence and part of the culture in many workplaces. Government, regulators and employers have been dodging their responsibilities for far too long."
Roughly 40% of women and 18% of men have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour at work, according to a poll by ComRes for the BBC.
New Zealand passes bill for paid leave for domestic abuse victims
The new legislation will come into effect in April 2019 and stipulates that any person experiencing domestic violence will be entitled to 10 days' paid leave from work, which will be in addition to their standard holiday and sick leave entitlements.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the developed world; police respond to a family violence incident every four minutes. Family violence is estimated to cost the country between NZ$4.1 billion (£2.1 billion) and NZ$7 billion (£3 billion) each year.
The best bits of HR magazine in July...
Matthew Taylor says that employees’ voices being listened to creates happier workers, 'a more collegiate environment between managers and staff’, and boosts productivity. And there's a growing expectation in our social media-fuelled world from employees that they will be listened to; and growing attention on the topic from government, including pledges around putting workers on boards. But our cover story on the topic found there's no one-size-fits-all method to getting this right.
Before the department store's near collapse we spoke to then chief people officer Michelle Maynard about navigating HR through the toughest of times.
Chronic overwork, an overburdened legal system and cuts to funding pushed barristers to plan strike action over the Summer. What role could HR potentially play in helping to mitigate some of these issues and to stop them surfacing in future?