‘Recession impact more widespread than thought’

The impact of the recession is more than the bold unemployment statistics suggest, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
It says claims that the recession is over may underestimate the size of its impact. It says 1.31m people were made redundant during the recession – double the net fall in employment and equal to 4.4% of people in work before the downturn. Two thirds of those who found new jobs after being made redundant were paid less in their new job – on average 28% less.
Dr John Philpott, chief economic adviser at the CIPD, says that although the number of job losses in the recession is less than originally feared, the impact has been widespread. He says: “This is likely to have a much greater impact on perceptions of job security and consumer confidence during the recovery than the simple ‘unemployment situation is better than feared’ story of the moment would suggest.”
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Employers warned over agency workers directive
Employers need to start preparing now for the agency workers directive which comes in next October, according to Guy Lamb, head of employment at DLA Piper.
The legislation gives agency workers the right to annual leave and bonus schemes and up to 26 weeks maternity leave without breaking their 12 weeks ’continuous service’record. Lamb warns employers who try to twist the rules, for instance, by moving agency staff around regularly, could face tribunal claims and fines.

Under the directive, agency workers who spend more than 12 weeks with an employer will get the same terms and conditions as permanent staff, including equal treatment on holidays, rest breaks and pay. Pay excludes pension contributions, sick pay and maternity pay, but could include bonuses relating to quality and quantity of work. Breaks of less than six weeks will not invalidate the 12-week qualifying period.
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Support workers ‘less satisfied’
More than a half of support staff have become less satisfied with their job in the last 12 months due to concerns about job security, according to research from the latest SecsLife survey from commercial recruiter Gordon Yates and Guardian Jobs.
The research shows 42% are looking for a new job and 66% learned new skills last year. It also shows a third of employers cut support staff in 2009, but only 9% plan cuts for 2010 with 72% saying they will keep up numbers.
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Employers who voluntarity report gender pay gaps could be given two years’ immunity from formal request for further information, according to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
They will still be liable for anti-discrimination cases. The amnesty period is designed to encourage employers to take their own steps to address the pay gap problems. Under guidelines published last week, the commission is proposing that firms voluntarily report on at least two of the following:
– the single figure difference between the average hourly earnings between men and women
– the difference between the average bais pay and total average earnings of men and women by grade and job type
– the different between men’s and women’s average starting salaries.
Employers also have the opportunity to suggest why there may be gender pay gaps in their organisation. By 2012, companies with over 500 workers would be encouraged to use at least three indicators.
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