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Gloucestershire Business News

Business expert: Looking ahead for 2019

By Cathy O'Donoghue of HR Champions 

Here, Cathy takes a look at what she thinks will be the big issues and what we should be looking out for in the world of human resources and employment law in 2019.

Whilst 2019 promises to be an exciting year as we exit Europe and stand on our own two feet as a nation, I think that there will be a number of issues that employers will need to consider. Two stand head and shoulders above the rest however, as features of human resources that deserve special attention.

Mental health

There's already been a big drive to raise awareness of mental health issues and to overcome the stigma that is so often associated with mental health conditions. I think that in 2019 we can expect to see even more activity to keep mental health awareness at the forefront. The message will be to update our attitudes towards mental health and treat it like we treat our physical health; sometimes it's good and sometimes it's challenged.

Because mental health conditions are treated as disability, they immediately fall under the remit of the Equalities Act 2010. The wrong course of action towards an employee with a mental health condition, such as anxiety or stress, can easily lead to a discrimination claim; potentially ending in an Employment Tribunal.

At HR Champions, we've already put a plan in place to support other businesses with our Mental Health Awareness and Mental Health First Aider courses. These short courses will help your team with their own awareness and, by spotting the signs early and taking appropriate action, will help keep you employees' mental health in good shape.

Look out for our Mental Health Seminar in March where you can learn more.

The Good Work Plan

The government snuck the Good Work Plan under the radar somewhat, when they announced it just before Christmas last year. Based on the results of the commissioned Taylor Report, the Good Work Plan is the government's vision and strategy for the UK labour market as we leave the EU.

The overarching principle of the recommendations from the Taylor Report is that all work should be fair and decent. Looking back over the past 18 months, at stories of challenging working conditions at places such as the Amazon and Sports Direct distribution centres, the latter being nicknamed the Gulag, it's probably fair to say that some reform is overdue.

The government will want to be setting the standards for good working practices and show that it doesn't need laws sent down from Brussels to run a fair and effective economy, where workers get a fair wage for a fair day's work. Expect to see further demonization of zero hours contracts and 'gig economy' type working arrangements, as are imposed by the likes of Uber and Deliveroo. Legislation will be put in place so that workers have more stability in their jobs and rights for part-time, temporary and full-time workers show more cohesion.

Look out too for increases in Employment Tribunal awards against businesses that breach the new contractual arrangements.

As ever we're here to support businesses through the changes. Visit our website at www.hrchampions.co.uk or call us on 01452 331331.

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