13 February 2020
Work/Life – 13 of 14 Insights
"Good work" is so much about health. Usually we think about long-term productivity, wellness, balance (as in the title of this publication). But sometimes it can be a matter of life and death.
Al Jazeera recently spotlighted China's informal workers, who are struggling to make a living in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. These workers, such as those working at makeshift food stalls, say that the fear caused by the outbreak has led to empty streets and almost no customers.
The Health Foundation reports that 36% of workers are in jobs that risk their health. This includes physical risks from manual labour, but also more acutely, mental health risks connected to treatment of such workers by superiors and a lack of job security. Young adults and workers from ethnic minority backgrounds were among the worst affected.
The BBC has disclosed that 8.6 million workers took unnecessary sick days last year because they found their jobs "too painful". The research was conducted by Insight, which has called for greater focus on culture within organisations and on flexible working. On the other hand, the report revealed that that 37% of those surveyed admitted to going into work despite being unwell.
California's law designed to give gig economy workers such as Uber drivers the same protection as employees has come into force. The legislation requires these workers to receive sick leave, holidays and health insurance by the companies that they work for, for the first time.
Unemployment in France is at a 10 year low of 8.5 %. It is reported that there are a predicted 3.7 million roles that need to be filled in the first half of 2020. This unemployment figure is still above the government's target of 7%.
The UK is planning to announce an accelerated visa program to attract the world's best scientists after Brexit. Officials predict a rise in skilled migrants, with an increasing number from outside the EU. The British Chambers of Commerce recently announced that the UK is facing a serious skills shortage, with 73% of businesses struggling to hire skilled workers.
A government-backed report has revealed that 31 out of the 83 (37%) of the FTSE 100 companies it surveyed have an all-white board. While this represents a reduction from 50% of those surveyed reporting an all-white board in 2017, critics are calling this slow progress and argue that far more needs to be done to improve the ethnic diversity of UK boards.
The controversial scheme to publicise breaches of minimum wage laws is to be resumed after a gap of nearly a year. But where the breach is caused by a salary sacrifice for other benefits, there will be no penalty.
Compared to other countries in Europe, Poland’s significantly lower wages haven given it an edge when attracting foreign investors. However, this year the minimum wage was increased by around 16% compared to 2019 and will continue to rise in 2021. Furthermore, the hourly minimum wage will go up as well. These changes will have an enormous impact on payroll costs of companies operating in Poland.
Swedish clothing retailer H&M is suspected of having massively spied on its employees in a customer centre in Nuremberg, and to have stored sensitive data about them. Hamburg’s data protection commissioner has launched an investigation into H&M. The authority is currently evaluating hard drives with a total of approximately 60 gigabytes of data material. These allegedly contain detailed records of health data of the employee. Superiors are also accused of having stored information about employees’ personal data – from social disputes to deaths in the family. (Original article in German).