Predicted Workplace Trends
Also on technology, there has been an increased prevalence of data leaks and system hacks reported in the news over the past 12 months. Is this a coincidence, or is the increasing technological capability of disgruntled employees playing its part? It has been suggested that up to 56% of SME employers risk IT vulnerability as a result of failing to shut down ex-employees system access soon enough. In 2014, an ex-employee with in depth system knowledge brought down Sony with the help of a group of hackers, and it is expected that similar incidents will occur in the future.
- Millennials in the Workforce - By 2025 it is believed that Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Employers need to reassess and measure up their offering to top millennial talent, steering away from traditional benefits and into the realms of paid volunteering days, joining bonuses, a company holiday home for use by employees, birthday benefits, and wine clubs. PWC has assessed what millennials look for in jobs, and found that flexibility, autonomy, overseas secondments, customised benefits, and clear development and advancement opportunities are rated as highly important to this generation. Sabbaticals are also increasingly being offered to employees as a reward for a set number of years of service, and to reduce the risk of burnout of high performing, and highly valued, employees.
- Childcare Voucher Changes - The tax-free childcare vouchers scheme has been pushed back to 2017. In a related issue, employers are waiting on the outcome of case-law relating to the provision of childcare vouchers during maternity leave in the case of Peninsula Business Services v Donaldson. Guidance states that childcare vouchers should be classed as non-cash benefits and continued throughout the whole of maternity leave, leaving the employer to pick up the tab when a woman is in a period of unpaid leave. While this has generally become the accepted legal position, it does not have the force of law and the courts are not required to follow it according to the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in Peninsula.
- Maternity Discrimination - A recent study found that 77% of pregnant women and new mothers reported negative or discriminatory experiences at work. Furthermore, 70% of employers feel that women should declare at interview if they are pregnant, and a quarter felt that it was acceptable to question women at interview about their plans for children in the future. 3 out of 4 mothers who interviewed whilst pregnant, and were not offered the job, felt that this had affected their chances.
- Technology and Hacking - The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that employers are able to lawfully snoop on employee’s private emails and messages. A Romanian engineer was dismissed after sending messages to his fiancée whilst working. The Court ruled that it was not unreasonable for an employer to want to verify that their employees are completing their professional tasks during working hours. Employers need to be clear on when an employee is permitted to make personal calls and emails.
Pam Loch, Managing Director of niche employment law practice, Loch Employment Law, HR Advise Me and Loch Training.
For more information on Loch Employment Law please go to www.lochlaw.co.uk, for Loch Training go to www.lochtraining.co.uk and HR Advise Me go to www.hradvise.me