The CIPD Good Work Index provides an annual snapshot of job quality in the UK, giving insight to drive improvement to working lives
CIPD in the news: championing better support for employee wellbeing and calling for better quality jobs
A round-up of some of the CIPD's latest work to champion better work and working lives
Throughout the month of June, the CIPD has continued to champion the moral and business case for making work better for everyone.
The annual CIPD Good Work Index found that good work is still out of reach for too many people, while the widely reported recruitment difficulties that employers have been facing served as a stark reminder of how important it is for employers to invest in job quality to attract candidates.
Calling for improved job quality
The CIPD’s annual Good Work Index found the Coronavirus pandemic has surprisingly not affected job quality in the UK, however it continues to fall short on a number of key measures. Disappointingly, one in four said work is bad for their physical or mental wellbeing and only half said work offers good opportunities for development. The CIPD has been using the report’s findings to challenge the assumption that certain trade-offs in job quality are inevitable and to encourage employers to double down on efforts to make work better for everyone. The report was picked up by HR media including Personnel Today, Employee Benefits and HR World.
The second Working Lives Scotland report was also published. Mirroring the Good Work Index, it found that people’s experience of work has stayed broadly consistent over the past year. The findings were covered by The Herald (print and online) and Office Insight.
The theme of improved job quality was echoed in senior labour market adviser Gerwyn Davies’s interview with BBC Radio 4’s Money Box. Gerwyn discussed staff shortages in the hospitality industry and how employers can consider job design and improved benefits to attract candidates to these roles.
This month’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) jobs figures showed that the economy is recovering from the impact of the pandemic and also highlighted some employers’ struggle to find staff. The CIPD’s response, in which we called for an emphasis on better quality jobs, not just more jobs, was included in the Guardian’s Business Live blog, the Financial Times (print and online), and HR Magazine.
Championing employee wellbeing efforts as a strategic priority
News of dating app Bumble temporarily closing its offices to give employees a week off to combat stress and burnout captured the attention of the media this month. The CIPD’s chief executive Peter Cheese spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake up to Money (starts around five minutes in) and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (scroll to 16:40) about the issue. In his interviews, Peter stressed the need for organisations to think about how to balance workloads, train managers to support their people, and incorporate mental health and wellbeing into business strategies.
Bumble’s week off coincided with World Wellbeing Week, which was given a spotlight on the CIPD’s social media channels. Posts looked at the topic of what underpins good wellbeing at work, plus a quiz for people managers and a poll exploring how well people feel their manager supports their wellbeing.
The future world of work
The conversation around hybrid and flexible working continued at pace this month. As the easing of restrictions was pushed back in England and Scotland, businesses, government and the media have all been contemplating what the future of work will look like.
Peter Cheese was interviewed by Politico about how the pandemic has offered a ‘generational opportunity’ to work more flexibly. He argued that the last year has shifted the way organisations approach flexible working, arguing that it ‘can and should be seen as just as much an acceptable way of working as a more standard five-day working week’. He repeated this call during interviews with Radio 4’s You and Yours and LBC (scroll 2hrs 37mins in) on the same topic.
CIPD members help nurse win tribunal claim
An Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision made the headlines this month after CIPD members pooled together their expertise and resources to prove that women face an unfair disadvantage because they shoulder more of a caring burden than men. Gemma Dobson, a community nurse, argues she was unfairly dismissed when she was unable to take on weekend shifts due to her childcare responsibilities. Her original employment tribunal ruled that the dismissal was not unfair, but the EAT ruled that the case must be reheard, taking into account the ‘childcare disparity’ that women face.
Gemma’s husband Paul Dobson, a CIPD member since 2015, first turned to the CIPD’s online Community for help with the case in 2016, asking for ‘a bit of advice on behalf of my wife’. Since then, dozens of CIPD members have united in what one member called a ‘marathon effort of determination […] to see fairness, equity and justice applied to the world of work’.
The practical insights offered by CIPD members enabled Gemma’s legal counsel to develop precise and extensive arguments, which are now to be considered by all Tribunals as ‘Judicial Awareness’ when decisions are being made in similar cases.
Paul Dobson commented: ‘The support from the whole CIPD Community, and Peter Cunningham in particular, has been a key factor for us in the success of the appeal and we'd like to thank everyone who has supported us.’
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