Sabbatical leave offered in lieu of redundancy

BT staff offered a year’s sabbatical on 25% pay to stave off redundancies. Plus other news.

Staff at BT have been offered a year off on 25% pay as a way around the recession.
The move to introduce year-long sabbaticals is designed to avoid further redundancies. The company has already announced 15,000 job cuts after announcing it had made a £977m loss in the first three months of the year.
The sabbaticals will not be compulsory and are being rolled out as a pilot programme initially.
The company has also just launched an HR consultancy service to spread best practice to other employers. The Sustainable Workforce Assessment will suggest ways of boosting productivity and reducing absenteeism through flexible working. BT says it has increased productivity by 20% and reduced staff absence by more than a third in the last six years.
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Half of employees working more overtime due to recession

Almost half of staff are working overtime, with over a third feeling they have to due to the current economic climate, says new research from BT Business.
Most are working on average seven hours a week more than before the recession.
The findings also show a clear gender split with men more likely to be putting in the extra hours, including 66% of men stating they are working over the recommended 48-hour week.
More than a third (37%) of the 4000 survey respondents put in extra hours to cope with growing workloads. Colleagues being made redundant (41%) and a renewed focus by companies on improving customer service (35%) were cited as the top two reasons for this. However, over 40% also cited that this situation was being exacerbated by time being wasted in the work place because staff are not equipped with the right tools to do the job.
The research also revealed a drastic change in the office atmosphere with 37% of workers stating there is less laughter in the workplace compared to over a year ago and greater pressure on staff to perform. 43% of respondents believe that the offer of flexitime would help to create a better working experience. Flexible working including the option to work
from home and improved technology (33%) also equally factored highly in people’s aspirations on how they’d like their workplace to change.
Workers showed a clear willingness to go that extra mile to impress the boss. 43% of respondents admitted to being motivated to work harder to keep their jobs, with 60% feeling very lucky to have a job.

Government should consider new scheme to stave off redundancies, says CBI
The Government should consider an Alternative to Redundancy scheme which allows employers to put employees “on hold” for up to six months, says the CBI.
It says the employers could then avoid making someone redundant while they are going through the worst part of the recession. After six months the employee could go back to their original work or be made redundant with full redundancy rights intact. The CBI says the Government and employer could share payment of an ATR allowance, which would be twice the rate of Jobseekers’ Allowance.

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Financial services recover a little
Financial services recruitment has recovered a little since the first quarter of 2009. accordiing to pre-employment screening firm Powerchex.
It found that, compared to the second quarter of 2008, there were 81% fewer jobs for investment bnkers, 26% fewer for insurance firms and over 40% fewer for managers, hedge funds, stockbrokers and IT contractors who provide services to the industry. However, comparing the first quarter of 2009 to the second quarter, jobs for stockbrokers were up 77% and 8% for insurance firms and investment managers. Hedge funds and IR contractors for the industry saw only small falls in recruitment.
Meanwhile, The Report on Jobs by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG shows the slowest rate of decline in people getting jobs in 13 months. The number of vacancies declined at a slower rate in June than the previous month and the number of people looking for work has fallen too.
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Reminder to renew tax credits
Working parents are being reminded renew their tax credits.
The Government advises that they get their tax credit renewal forms in by the end of July so they have enough money to see them through the summer months.
Working mums’ kids ‘more likely to be overweight’
Children of full-time working mums on low incomes are more likely to be overweight than other children, according to Australian research.
The research found children of full-time working mothers who earned less than $1,000 a week are up to 12 per cent more likely to be overweight than those of stay-at-home mums.
Researcher Anna Zhu from the University of New South Wales’ Social Policy Research Centre put the reasons down to mums requiring time and money to maintain a healthy family lifestyle.
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Consider term-time working, expert tells employers
Term-time working should be offered by more employers, says an expert from Working Families.
Rachel Hadwen, an adviser for Working Families, said many companies offered flexible working, but relatively few promoted term-time only working. She called for “creative” employers to look at term-time working as a way round the recession.
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