30 June 2022
Work/Life – 57 of 56 Insights
Welcome to the latest edition of our international employment news update. Given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, we wanted to direct readers to our practical resources aimed at supporting those who wish to understand and help the circumstances of Ukrainian people who want to be able to live and work. Here is the link led by our CE offices:
Europe's leading travel sector operators are posting thousands of job vacancies, including pay rises and referral bonuses at airports in Germany and France. Due to the 2.3 million aviation jobs lost globally due to Covid-19, travellers are now facing disruptions in London, Paris, and Rome as airlines like easyJet are cancelling hundreds of flights due to staffing issues. Lufthansa, the German national carrier, is axing over 3000 flights during the summer holidays. Passengers on other airlines, such as Ryanair, are also facing disruptions due to cabin crew strike action – which is set to increase over the summer months.
In the UK, over 6.5 million employees plan to leave their jobs within the next year, an industry body's Good Work Index reports. Around 20% of staff are set to resign from their current roles in search of an improved work/life balance as well as better pay and benefits, according to a survey of over 6,000 UK workers. The publisher, the CIPD, suggests employers think beyond salaries to retain workers, such as investing in employee development and supporting good health and wellbeing.
The German government will no longer impose sanctions, such as removing benefit reductions, on recipients of basic unemployment benefits if they cannot prove they are actively looking for a suitable job. The reforms, set to last from July 2022 to mid-2023, aim to respond to the increase of living costs in Germany which particularly impact socially vulnerable citizens. However, critics warn that this will deter people from actively searching for employment. The government plans to replace the current basic unemployment benefit with a new system, known as “Bürgergeld“ ("Citizens' Allowance") in 2023.
Tax cuts and pension and wage increases in Hungary will total €8.3 billion this year, its government states. The changes come as a countermeasure to the economic crisis caused by the ongoing war and aims to preserve family support, reduce the public debt, and sustain the value of pensions and wages. The Hungarian government's 2023 budget will be committed to protecting a defence fund and utility fee protection.
Investors such as Coutts & Co and the Coal Pensions board are calling for Sainsbury's to pay all workers the living wage in the face of the cost of living crisis. The supermarket chain recently rejected calls to pay the minimum wage whilst also announcing its chief executive would receive pay worth £3.8 million. Sainsbury's is set to hold its annual shareholder meeting on 7 July, which includes a vote on a commitment to pay the living wage. Throughout the UK, employers face pressure to address the cost of living crisis, with some such as Rolls Royce and Lloyds Bank awarding employees with a one-off additional payment (rather than permanent salary increases) to help workers with rising food and energy costs.
Workers participating in unregulated internet labour, known as "microwork", could be earning less than £4 an hour, researchers at thinktank Autonomy and university researchers suggest. The survey of 1,189 microworkers in the UK suggests that 95% are paid less than minimum wage for performing tasks such as data entry or clicking on ads to drive traffic to websites. Autonomy calls for the UK government to "name and shame" companies who "unfairly exploit" thousands of microworkers in the unregulated industry.
Disney, Netflix, and Meta are among companies who will cover expenses for US employees who travel for abortion services following the decision to overturn Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court. The Court's decision empowers states to restrict or outlaw abortions, with some states now prohibiting abortion in almost all circumstances. Therefore, employees within those states who want to undergo the procedure must travel to states where it remains legal. Companies that offer these reimbursements may begin to face lawsuits and even criminal sanctions from anti-abortion groups and Republican states.
Yelp will close its offices in New York, Washington D.C., and Chicago due to increased remote working among employees. The closures, effective from 29 July, are the most consistently underutilized following an announcement from Yelp in 2021 that its employees can work from anywhere indefinitely. Yelp is one of several companies, including Twitter and Airbnb, indicating that the future of work is remote, as opposed to hybrid or in-office.
Sexual abuse and corruption claims made by employees at the UN must be urgently investigated, according to an ex-senior UN member. The UN confirmed it is focused on ensuring staff feel safe to report abuse after a recent BBC documentary claimed some UN whistleblowers were fired after allegedly exposing wrongdoing within the organisation. While the UN has a protected legal status, and senior staff have global diplomatic immunity, this does not protect staff who commit crimes such as sexual assault. One whistleblower in the documentary claims that a third of UN staff had experienced sexual harassment at work.
Finance and consulting firms are more likely to hire black candidates when using anonymous, skills-based assessments, a new study shows. The study saw over 1,300 applicants take numerical tests, situation judgment questions, and structured interviews where questions on personal interests or "cultural fit" were not allowed. Researchers found that black candidates have more success when such assessments are used, which may help firms who are committed to rebalance diversity in the City. Some financial services firms are pushing to increase diversity, for example, by introducing mandatory unconscious bias training.