HR news round-up – Thurs 26 Oct 2017

By October 26, 2017News

Good afternoon, here’s what’s in the news about HR and employment law today.

Mental health problems are forcing thousands in UK out of work – report – The Guardian

About 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year, a review commissioned by Theresa May has found.

The Thriving at Work report, published on Thursday, puts the annual cost to the UK economy of poor mental health at up to £99bn, of which about £42bn is borne by employers.

The authors – the Mind chief executive, Paul Farmer, and the mental health campaigner and a former HBOS chair, Dennis Stevenson – said they were shocked to find the number of people forced to stop work as a result of mental health problems was 50% higher than for those with physical health conditions.

Farmer said the evidence suggested it is still a taboo subject in many workplaces. “The picture is that there are very significant numbers of people in work with mental health problems but there are significant numbers who are not,” he said.

Lord chancellor confirms he wants to bring back tribunal fees – CIPD

The lord chancellor yesterday told MPs that his department intends to bring back employment tribunal fees.

In July, the Supreme Court decided that employment tribunal fees were unlawful and should be abolished.

However, speaking in front of the justice select committee yesterday morning, David Lidington pointed out that the judgment did not rule out charging fees entirely. “We still intend to charge fees,” he said. “I think it is necessary as a contribution to costs. It is also necessary and sensible as a deterrent to frivolous or vexatious litigation and that was something the court itself acknowledged.”

Embargo factories that rip off workers, says director of labour market enforcement – The Guardian

The government should consider imposing an embargo on goods made in factories where workers have been underpaid, a workers’ rights tsar has told MPs.

Sir David Metcalf, director of labour market enforcement, who reports to both the home and business secretaries, said he was looking at new measures to improve adherence to employment legislation.

Speaking to a parliamentary inquiry into the recommendations of the Matthew Taylor review into gig economy workers on Wednesday, Metcalf said as many as 5% of the lowest paid may not be receiving the national minimum wage while holiday pay rules were “simply not enforced”.

B&B owners and cabbies top list of tax shirkers – The Guardian

Bed and breakfast owners and taxi drivers are the British workers most likely to underpay their taxes when filing self-assessments, a new analysis shows.

More than half of taxpayers in the construction, hospitality, and transport industries are found to under-report their income to HM Revenue and Customs, according to a study of official figures by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The analysis comes as HMRC figures show £34bn of tax went unpaid in the UK for the 2015-16 financial year. The tax gap, which estimates the difference between actual receipts and what should, in theory, be collected, stood at 6% of all tax liabilities.

Earnings fall for first time in three years – BBC News

Official figures show wages fell in real terms by 0.4% in the year to April 2017.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said this was the first fall in three years.

It says that although wages rose by 2.2% in the year, inflation rose by more, eroding any gains. The median – middle – amount earned was £550 a week.

Other data shows a narrowing of the gender pay gap to 9.1%, its smallest since the survey began in 1997.

The weekly income figure shows the first recorded fall since April 2014, and follows a rise in inflation in the wake of the Brexit vote in June last year.

Author David Ralph

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