Increase in home-working over the past decade – TUC analysis

According to analysis published by the TUC, the number of employees who say that they usually work from home has increased by 19 per cent over the past decade. The research shows that nearly a quarter of a million (241,000) people work from home now. Regular home working has gone up amongst women employees, with 35 per cent (157,000) more working from home in 2015 than in 2005. However, the majority of homeworkers seem to be men – around 912,000 men regularly worked from home in 2015, compared with 609,000 women. Older workers are also more likely to work from home, with 454,000 in their forties and 414,000 in their fifties home-working. The South-West has the highest proportion of home workers in the UK (1 in 12), followed by the East of England (1 in 14), and the South-East (1 in 16). By contrast, Northern Ireland has the lowest proportion of home workers in the UK – just one in 48 employees regularly work at home. In terms of industries, IT, agriculture and construction had the highest share of home workers. TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: “Modern home-working is good for the economy, as it helps businesses hold on to talented staff and boosts productivity…it allows those with caring responsibilities or a disability greater access to the jobs market…Such fundamental change towards home-working is recognised by increasing numbers of inspired, and more trusting employers”


Restaurant tipping practices to face Government regulation

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has launched a consultation that includes proposals to ‘replace the hospitality sector’s current voluntary code of practice of gratuities with statutory regulation’ after investigations revealed that some big restaurant chains had unfair tipping policies, with allegations that management take a percentage of tips meant for staff. Business secretary Sajid Javid said he was disappointed by the tipping practices of some high street chains and is setting out proposals “to make tipping fairer.”

The consultation paper includes proposals to ‘update the current voluntary code of practice and put it on a statutory footing to increase employer compliance, increase transparency for consumers to make it clearer that suggested payment for service are discretionary and prevent or limit any employer deduction from discretionary payments for service.’ Unite’s Dave Turnbull said: “This is fantastic news. It has taken us [Unite] eight months to get this report to a conclusion but at long last it has had come down on the side of the waiting staff.” 


Thousands of new mums ‘forced out of jobs’ every year – Equality and Human Rights Commission

A new research report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commissions (EHRC) for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) revealed that around one in nine mothers (11 per cent) reported that they were either dismissed or made compulsorily redundant or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job – almost twice the number identified in similar research undertaken in 2005. 

The report also revealed that 10 per cent of women said they were treated worse by their employer after returning to work after having baby while one in five new mothers (almost 100,000 mothers a year) experienced harassment or negative comments from colleagues, employer or manager when pregnant or returning from maternity leave. 7 per cent said they were put under pressure to hand in their notice and one in 20 reported receiving a cut in pay or bonus after returning to their job. Despite taking up the option of flexible working after returning to work, half said it diminished their work opportunities and felt that their opinion was less valued. Caroline Waters, Deputy Chair of the EHRC, said the report highlighted “worrying levels of discrimination and disadvantage at work that women still face.”