BBC gender pay gap latest

A review into the pay structure at the BBC has found that there is no gender bias in relation to pay decisions at the corporation. The report, conducted by auditors PwC, was published last week and found a 6.8% gender pay gap among on-air staff.

The gender pay gap identified within the on-air staff was lower than the overall pay gap within the BBC which was 9.3% compared with the UK average which sat at 18%. The report comes on the back of a huge outcry and a lot of negative publicity for the BBC following the release of the corporation’s annual report last year.

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New bereavement leave allowance for parents

The Government has published proposed laws to grant employed parents two weeks’ paid leave if they lose a child under the age of 18. The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill will give a right to parental bereavement leave to all eligible employees. Employees with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be entitled to statutory bereavement pay.

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The types of tribunal claims that are expected to soar in the post-fee era

Following the major decision of the Supreme Court last month to declare employment tribunal fees unlawful, People Management asked some employment lawyers the types of cases the courts are likely to hear more of in the future.

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Increase paternity leave?

As someone who has recently returned to work from paternity leave following the birth of a baby girl, I have gained a new appreciation for this period of leave. At present the current statutory provision in the UK allows new fathers to take 2 weeks of paternity leave paid at the rate of Statutory Paternity Pay which, at the 2017 level, is £140.98 or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

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Japanese firm replaces staff with robots

Robot workers

A Japanese insurance firm has announced plans to replace more than 30 employees with artificial intelligence (AI) robots. Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance will make 34 employees redundant by the end of March this year to be replaced by a system based on IBM’s Watson Explorer.

The tech giant claims the Watson Explorer possesses “cognitive technology that can think like a human, allowing it to analyse and interpret all of your data, including unstructured text, images, audio and video”.

According to a report in the Japanese press, several other insurance companies are in the process of introducing AI systems. Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. has already introduced an AI system to process payment assessment alongside human checks. The adoption of the new technology at Dai-ichi however, has not resulted in any major job losses.

Cutting costs

Fukoku Mutual believes the introduction of the AI system will increase productivity by 30% and provide a return on its investment within two years. The system is expected to cost 200m yen (£1.4m) and save around 140m yen (£1m) per year. Maintaining the new system is expected to cost around 15m yen (£100k) per year.

The future?

A 2015 report by the Nomura Research Institute found that robots had the potential to perform nearly half of all jobs in Japan within the next 20 years. Furthermore, a World Economic Forum report from last year predicted that increased use of AI will lead to a loss of over 5 million jobs over the next 5 years in the world’s 15 leading economies.

The Japanese Government is due to trial the use of AI to assist civil servants in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. According to the Guardian, if the trial is successful, then it could be something that is adopted by other government departments.

Japan is renowned for its ability in AI and robotics technology and the country has long been at the forefront of the development in this field. Added to the fact that Japan has an ageing and shrinking population, it is not difficult to see why there are moves being made for robots to fill possible labour shortages in the country. Although, it may be sometime before we see masses of humanoid robots walking the streets as seen in Will Smith’s i, ROBOT.

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Festive period closure 2016-17

Gravitate HR’s offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow will be closed from 12pm on Friday 23rd December 2016 and opening in the new year on Wednesday 4th January 2017.

On behalf of the team at Gravitate HR, we wish everyone the very best for the festive period.

Backlash over plans to force companies to reveal foreign staff numbers

Recent proposals by the Home Secretary Amber Rudd requiring companies to disclose the number of foreign workers they employ has been met with criticism by business groups and opposition parties.

The plan is part of a number of proposals that came out at last week’s Conservative Party conference and comes on the backdrop of the Brexit vote in which immigration was cited as a key factor for those voting leave. Read more


London care workers paid less than minimum wage

After the controversy surrounding Sports Direct in recent months and the company allegedly paying staff below the minimum wage, the care sector was in the headlines this past week.

£3.27 per hour!

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Brexit – employer implications on the decision to leave the EU

The results of the EU referendum last month caused huge shockwaves across the country as a majority of the UK decided to leave the EU. The outcome led to upheaval in the leadership of the 2 main Westminster parties, the value of the pound and shares in the FTSE skydiving, concern and apprehension amongst businesses, oh and the small constitutional matter of another threat to the very existence of the United Kingdom with a majority in 2 parts of the UK voting to remain in the EU.

The Exit process

There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the exit process with the much-publicised article 50 still to be triggered by the new government which will formally start the procedure to leave the EU. It is worth noting that in the short term, it is still “business as usual”. Despite the chaotic political and economic fallout from the vote, legally nothing has changed. Therefore, it is wise, as some employers have already, to communicate to and reassure staff that there will be no immediate changes. This perhaps is most pressing for companies which employ staff from other parts of the EU.


During the referendum campaign, there was a lot of talk from the Vote Leave camp of the introduction of a new immigration system to end the automatic right of all EU citizens to live and work in the UK. The Australian-style points-based system was mooted as a system that could be followed and there is a possibility that we may see an introduction of such a setup in the UK at some point. There remains doubt about the status of EU citizens currently living in the UK with the government refusing to guarantee their current status. Although it is difficult to envisage that we will see EU citizens already settled in the country being evicted from the UK, it is possible that EU citizens that enter the UK between now and the formal separation will not have a permanent right to live and work in the UK. Negotiations on this will take time so there are again unlikely to be any immediate changes in this area.

Employment Law

A major portion of UK employment law derives from the EU with many laws being enacted through separate acts of parliament and statutory instruments. This means that leaving the EU is unlikely to have a major impact on employment in the UK unless the government amends each individual piece of legislation. It is also worth highlighting that EU rights are essentially a minimum standard and there are some UK rights that go beyond what is required. For example, with paid holiday, the EU requirement is 4 weeks per annum while in the UK the statutory minimum is 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year. There is also plenty of UK employment law that is not in any way connected to the EU (e.g. unfair dismissal, minimum wage, shared parental leave and the right to request flexible working).

In conclusion, it is still early days in post-referendum UK with the dust still to settle. It remains to be seen what shape Brexit will take in the coming years as the UK enters into negotiations with the EU over the terms of the split. However, what we can say, is that we are certainly in significant times of change.

Daniel Barnett has a good article on the HR implications of Brexit.

Image courtesy of Intellectual Property Watch


Working during Ramadan – an employee’s guide

In the second of our series of blogs about Ramadan – the month of fasting, we look at an employee’s guide to working during Ramadan.

The Prophet Muhammad taught Muslims to be balanced in their approach to life in relation to the practice of the religion and work, however during Ramadan it is sometimes hard to achieve this balanced approach and you may feel your productivity or concentration drop.

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