Hewitt defends flexible working law

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Hewitt defends flexible working lawOn 15 Apr 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt talks to Personnel Today aboutthe effect she hopes the Employment Act will have in encouraging employers toimprove the work-life balance of their staff. The Act, which came into force on6 April, gives the parents of children aged under six the right to requestflexible working arrangementsQ The legislation places a lot of responsibility on both employers andstaff to assess the potential for flexible working. Why is that? A What we are trying to do is use legislation in a new way. Whencreating new rights, the law can create an adversarial situation. We wanted toavoid this by getting the manager and the employee to sit down together andagree on something that will work for both of them. It’s a different use oflegislation and I believe it will work. Q Do you think many employers will comply with the legislation? A Getting a better work-life balance is becoming far more importantfor all employees – men as much as women. The best businesses are alreadyswitched on to this and are using flexible working policies to attract andretain the people they need. As I go around the country, I am struck by thenumber of employers that raise the issue with me, as they talk about the warfor talent. I think the majority of employers will offer family-friendlyworking. Q Won’t some organisations and line managers just go through the motionsthough? A There are still some employers who will say they’re not interested, youcan’t work here if you want to work hours like that. There might be others wholook at the form, tick the boxes and are perfunctory about the whole procedure.I think they will be in the minority and tribunals can look at that. Q How will you know if the legislation is a success or not? A What we are doing is running a benchmarking survey at the moment.That will tell us what employees feel now, if they have satisfactory hours andhow happy they are. We intend to monitor it over the next three years. We willmonitor calls coming into the helpline, tribunal cases, unions, employers andemployee organisations to give us a picture of whether the law will deliver forindividuals. Q Some say the legislation could create divisions within the workplace,with childless workers feeling that parents have access to better employmentrights. Do you think that will happen? A I think a lot of employers are actually saying that if we are doingthis for parents, we don’t want people who don’t have young children to feelleft out, so let’s make this work for everyone. Q Are you saying that the legislation could have a wider effect on theway companies operate, re-assessing the way all of their staff work? A I think we are moving into a completely different system oforganising work, instead of the old nine-to-five standard working hours,full-time life work for men. It will help people get thinking in much moreradical ways. Q Do you not think it would have been fairer to extend the legislation tocover all employees? A As far as the law is concerned, we were right to say it’s aboutparents with young children or children with disabilities, because it isimportant that children grow up well. If we had tried to legislate for everybody, it would probably never havehappened. www.dti.gov.uklast_img read more

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Greencore chief operating officer Peter Haden to leave

first_imgGreencore Group is simplifying its management structure following the disposal of its US business.The company has announced that chief operating officer Peter Haden is to step down as an executive director at the end of this year and will leave the group next April.This follows simplification of the management structure, headed by CEO Patrick Coveney, after Greencore sold its US operations to an affiliate of Hearthside Food Solutions.Haden joined Greencore in 2015 as chief development officer and also held the role of chief executive officer of Greencore’s UK division. Prior to joining Greencore, Haden was a brand manager with Procter & Gamble before becoming a partner at McKinsey & Co.“Peter has made an enormous contribution to Greencore during his five years with us,” said Coveney.“He brought strategic clarity, functional excellence, and a results-driven focus to the group. He did all that while also being driven, collaborative, and great fun to work with. I wish him the very best in his future career.”Greencore chairman Gary Kennedy said the board appreciated the contribution Haden had made to the development and performance of the company over the past five years.“He is an outstanding executive. He will stay in role with his current responsibilities until the end of December and work closely with Patrick to enable the group to transition seamlessly to the new structure thereafter.“Patrick will then assume responsibility for the principal management responsibilities currently held by Peter.”Greencore has reported its full-year results this week.last_img read more

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Jobless and desperate: The post-lockdown reality for many

first_imgFood bank ‘shame’ To fill the fridge and feed her student son, daughter and grandson, Sonia Herrera has no choice but to rely on the food bank.”It makes me a bit ashamed to ask for help,” the 52-year-old Honduran, who lives in the Spanish capital, said.People look, and there’s the guilt of wondering if “maybe others need it more”, she added.As a domestic worker, she earned a monthly 480 euros until her employers in central Madrid let her go, the day after Spain’s lockdown began.As an undocumented migrant, she cannot claim state aid.The whole family lives on about 600 euros in unemployment benefit that her daughter Alejandra, 32, receives after losing her job as a cook in a nursery which had to close during confinement.With a few savings too, they scrape by. But little pleasures “that you notice when you lose them”, such as occasionally going out for an ice cream, are gone and their cat Bella’s operation had to be put back.”The end of the month scares me more than the virus. You have to eat after all,” Herrera said. ‘Pushed to the bottom’ Mexican tour guide Jesus Yepez has been sleeping at a homeless refuge after being evicted from his rented accommodation in the capital’s historic center early this month.”I was born on a cozy mattress in Coyoacan [a bohemian district of Mexico City where Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky lived] but the vagaries of life have pushed me to the bottom,” the 65-year-old said.Before coronavirus, he would earn 500 pesos (about $22) leading an hour-long tour.But Mexico’s museums and galleries shut at the end of March as high season began and Yepez has struggled like many others in the tourism sector, which makes up 8.7 percent of GDP.Early on, he had some savings, but they’re gone and tourists are not yet back.His qualifications in architecture, international relations, English and French are of little use to him now.”All that I ask is to get through this and find a retirement home to grow old in dignity. I’m not ill, just tired of life.”Topics : Alone at the bar The barstools at Cafe Fili, the Mediterranean restaurant in Washington where Zac Hoffman works, are now mostly empty, as customers prefer to sit outside.”I don’t feel like I’m back to work. I don’t have bar guests. The restaurant’s never full ’cause it can’t be,” the 28-year-old said.Restaurants have been Hoffman’s life since he took his first job as a prep cook aged 15.But six years ago he realized that he preferred working behind the bar, where the customer is always close and making new friends — never a bad thing as a candidate for the local area council — is easy.He used to make up to $40 an hour, mostly from tips.But after a period of unemployment when businesses shut down as the pandemic intensified in mid-March, he now makes at most $25 an hour.What worries him most, though, is whether local businesses will have to close again, in which case he believes most would never reopen, or whether he or his coworkers will be next to get the virus.”All of our interactions are kind of governed by this anxiety of possible death, which is not really where we want to be,” he said. AFP met people in France, Mexico, Ukraine, Spain, Colombia and the United States, who already are, or fear they soon will be, without work and spoke of their despair, sacrifices, dashed hopes and fears for the future. Forced career about-turn With dreams of becoming a pilot, 26-year-old Colombian Roger Ordonez had been working as a flight attendant for Avianca since 2017 but studying to get his wings.”You get used to a certain lifestyle because you have a good salary and you can travel,” he said.He’s visited various countries in the region and the US in recent years and took his family for their first trip abroad.At the end of March, at the airline’s request, he agreed to take two weeks’ unpaid leave, which was then extended.Two months later, he learned that his temporary contract would not be renewed after it ended on June 30.In the meantime, Avianca filed for bankruptcy.Ordonez has had to abandon his pilot studies and can no longer help his family out with the bills.”I’ve looked for work but it’s difficult because my sector is tourism and it’s the most affected by COVID-19,” he said.He’s thinking of retraining, perhaps in management, trade or sales, he says. Many workers’ lives have been abruptly upended by the coronavirus pandemic, as job losses in tourism, air travel, food and drink or other industries hit those both on fixed contracts and in the informal sector.From employees making a comfortable living, to others just scraping by, people around the world are confronting anxiety over how to feed their families and shame at being forced to seek handouts amid growing poverty.The IMF says that world GDP is set to plunge 4.9 percent this year from the crisis sparked by the global pandemic, and warns that low-income households and unskilled workers are most affected. center_img The married, father of two made a monthly 1,800-2,600 euros ($2,062-2,978), and in a really good month could sometimes earn 4,000 euros.But as soon as France locked down, the work stopped and the family is surviving on state aid of 875 euros.He hasn’t been able to meet his monthly rent of 950 euros since March, nor the electricity bill for three months. Although he’s managed to keep up his 250-euro car loan repayments, the family’s holiday in the south west is now off the cards, he said.”We’ve lost everything… Psychologically you have to cope with it,” he told AFP. But his wife is suffering from depression and he is just holding out for September when he hopes business will resume — virus permitting. Living in fear Marie Cedile dreads hearing that she’ll be among those to lose their jobs at French shoe company Andre, which filed for bankruptcy on March 21 before going into receivership.Under the only takeover offer on the table, just half of the 450 staff would be kept on.She’s worried that at the age of 54 and having spent all her working life at Andre, she’ll have trouble finding a new job.”I have customers whom I fitted for shoes when they were little and who come today to get their children fitted,” she said.One of her two daughters died aged 29 last year of brain cancer, she said.”Fortunately I had my work, relationships with the customers, that helps.”After 30 years she still earns the minimum wage — 1,250 euros a month.Just over 1,000 euros goes on rent for their flat in the Morangis suburb of Paris.”You need two salaries to cover it. My husband is unemployed but he’s younger than me, he should find a job,” she said.”I’ll take anything if I’m laid off, even if it means cleaning houses, I’ll find something.” ‘Total shock’ Ukrainian IT specialist Natalia Murashko, 39, was due for a promotion after four years as a senior quality-control engineer at American travel company Fareportal.When the pandemic hit, about 15 employees were dismissed on March 31 but she thought her job was safe as her bosses had reassured her.However, the very next day, she was given two weeks’ notice. “I thought at first it was a stupid April Fool’s joke,” she said.”It was a total shock.”Murashko’s computer skills placed her in a rarefied group that can make several thousand euros a month in Ukraine, compared to an average salary in the country of around 300 euros.  She was able to afford a cleaner, trips to the beautician and new clothes.From one day to the next, her life changed beyond recognition.Now she’s living off savings and odd jobs. Last month, the mum of two teens, who also looks after her 73-year-old mother, made 600 euros.Her job hunting has been fruitless and she limits her spending to the absolute minimum.”One thing I haven’t cut is my psychotherapist,” she said. Since losing her job, she’s had trouble sleeping and suffers anxiety. Plunged into precariousness “I’ve slipped into a state of insecurity,” says Frenchman Xavier Chergui, 44, who for 10 years has been a temp maitre d’, filling in at Paris restaurants when they were short staffed.last_img read more

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