News & Events News News in Brief October 2019 New European Labour Authority begins operation On 17th October the Management Board of the European Labour Authority met for the first time in Brussels, attended by outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who first announced the idea to set up a European Labour Authority in his State of the Union Address two years ago. The new agency will work to monitor and support the enforcement of EU rules on labour mobility and social security coordination across all EU member states, including a focus on tackling bogus self-employment and undeclared work. Progress stalls on gender pay gap New figures from ONS suggest that the gender pay gap among full time employees increased from 8.6% in 2018 to 8.9% in 2019. Though the increase is not statistically significant, it is the first time in six years the gap has grown and represents a continued lack of progress in closing the gap. Among all employees, including part-time, the gender pay gap did narrow from 17.8% to 17.3% due to increases in the national minimum wage, but still remains stubbornly high due to the large number of women in part time work. ONS senior statistician Roger Smith commented, “The gender pay gap has been falling slowly in recent years for full-time employees, but in 2019 it was little changed. However, for employees under 40, the gap is now close to zero; it’s among older workers that the pay gap remains substantial.” Survey finds UK employees welcome AI but want safeguards A new survey of UK employees by Genesys has found that UK employees on the whole welcome the introduction of artificial intelligence into their workplaces, with 64% saying they value AI and 58% suggesting they would like to have a virtual assistant to support them in managing tasks and meeting deadlines. Meanwhile 53% of employees say they would be prepared to use augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) to support them with job training at work, though only 35% would be willing to be trained by an AI-powered robot. Crucially, however, workers feel underequipped to handle the new world of AI, with under half of workers saying they feel they have the right skills and an overwhelming majority of 86% demanding that their employers should provide training for working with AI-based technologies. Nearly two-thirds of workers (64%) also feel there should be legal safeguards requiring companies to maintain a minimum percentage of humans in the workforce.