Sick Pay Changes The Wrong Way to Save Money

Sick Pay Guidelines Altered to Save Money

 

At a recent emergency meeting of British union UNISON’s branch executive committee, the union accused its branch Shropshire Council of ‘cheating’ workers over a review into sick pay changes which were brought in last October.

 

The council reportedly altered its sick pay guidelines as part of changes to staff terms and conditions in a bid to save $11 million. The dispute, which saw staff stage a one-day walkout last September, also centered on a 4.4 percent pay cut, over two years.

 

 

Savings Not What Projected

 

UNISON says just $182,000 was saved in 12 months from the new sick pay rules, instead of $1.6 million predicted by the council.

 

UNISON also claims the council has dismissed the findings of the review and plans to make no changes.

 

Alan James, branch secretary at Shropshire UNISON, noted “The reason we ended the dispute in the first place was because we were promised this review would be carried out and the results abided by. We feel cheated and absolutely furious after going along with it, for them to discard it. There will be a number of options – it may be that we work to rule or take industrial action.”

 

UNISON believes that sick pay changes and the fear of being fired or earmarked for redundancy could lead to more employees continuing to work or returning to work while still feeling sick – a concept known as ‘presenteeism’.

 

 

Unison States to Cure Problem, Not Symptom

 

Many research and intervention efforts have focused on preventing and reducing absence from work due to sickness.

 

Although everyone would reportedly like to see reduced absence from work, UNISON believes the best way to achieve this is to tackle the underlying causes of ill health in the workplace, not by forcing employees to continue to work or return to work while still feeling sick.

 

 

Working While Ill Can Have Negative Effect

 

This can result in reduced productivity among people who come to work and are not fully engaged or perform at lower levels as a result of ill-health. It can also actually increase sickness absence in the long term.

 

The three reasons offered most frequently for presenteeism are work-related stress, perceived pressures from colleagues and managers to come to work and personal financial difficulties.

 

According to a discussion paper produced by Business in the Community (BITC) and Centre for Mental Health, employers can save money and improve the health of their staff if they manage presenteeism alongside sickness absence.

 
 
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

Union Opposes Push to Exempt Businesses From Safety Inspections

Push for Workplaces to Be Exempt from Health & Safety Inspections

 
Protecting workers saves money as well as lives, British union UNISON said recently in its response to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announcement that hundreds of thousands of workplaces should be exempt from health and safety inspections.
 
According to UNISON, the government intends to introduce binding new rules on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and councils from April 2013, exempting hundreds of thousands of workplaces that have been designated 'low risk' from regular health and safety inspections.
 
 
Exemptions Include Offices, Schools, Catering & Cleaning
 
Its interpretation of low risk encompasses most of the workplaces where UNISON members are employed including offices and schools, and sectors such as health and social care, catering and cleaning.
 
 
Unison Opposes Exemptions
 
"The government does not take into consideration occupational ill health such as musculoskeletal disorders (aches and pains in joints and soft tissue) and work-related stress, which are the most common types of ill-health in so-called low risk workplaces, and account for more than three quarters of all work-related injuries and illness currently suffered in the UK." commented UNISON assistant national officer James Randall. "It also intends to scrap health and safety regulations which it claims are a burden on business.
 
 
Health and Safety Can Be Driver for Growth
 
However, in 2011 a survey conducted by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health found that health and safety can be used as a driver for growth, given that protecting workers saves money, according to Randall.
 
Work-related accidents and ill health costs businesses nearly $12.83 Billion a year through absenteeism, low productivity and legal bills. The research found the overall cost of health and safety failures to the public purse, including welfare and health bills, is estimated at $35.28 billion.
 
UNISON believes that by reducing inspections by one-third and slashing regulations, business and the taxpayer will face the bigger burden of an injured and unwell workforce.
 
"We must organize and campaign to defend against the government's attack on health and safety at work, added Randall. "If you share our belief that everyone should be able to work without having their health damaged by their job, then join UNISON in speaking up for health and safety."
 
 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Britain Court Says You Could Be Liable For Your Employees Violence

 

Ruled Outcome Depends on Closeness of Violent Act to Employment
 
Great Britain’s Court of Appeal recently ruled that, where an employee inflicts violence on another employee or third party, the vicarious liability of the employer for the employee’s violent act will depend on the closeness of the violent act to the employee’s employment, according to labor union UNISON.
 
The Court of Appeal concluded that a broad view must be taken of the nature of an employee’s employment and what was reasonably incidental to the employee’s duties when considering his or her violent act.
 
 
Danger in Violent Reaction to Lawful Instruction
 
The Court of Appeal acknowledged that the possibility of friction is inherent in any employment relationship. The danger of a violent reaction to a lawful instruction is therefore a risk created by the employment. On this basis, a violent reaction may be connected to the employment rather than unrelated or independent of it.
 
 
Employer Could be Vicariously Liable
 
If an employee inflicts violence on a fellow employee or third party, where there is a sufficient connection between the violent act and the wrong doer’s employment, there is a real risk that the employer will be vicariously liable for the wrong doer’s violent act.
 
 
Should Take Active Steps to Reduce Risk of Violence
 
Safety reps should negotiate to ensure that their employer takes active steps to reduce the risk of violence in the workplace by reviewing their policies on this issue, ensuring that these policies are brought to the attention of all staff and, where there is violence, taking action in line with the disciplinary policy.
 
 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com

VIEW SAMPLES PAGES

MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Social Worker Stabbed by Psychiatric Patient Wins Right to Sue

 

 
 
A British social worker stabbed by a psychiatric patient for whose child she was responsible, recently won her case at the Court of Appeal, giving her the right to sue two health authorities responsible for her attacker’s care, according to UNISON,the UK's largest public service union.
 
UNISON member Claire Selwood was stabbed six times by Graham Burton, of Murton, after he confronted her during a professional conference at his child’s school in County Durham. Just two days earlier he had told medical staff at Cherry Knowle Hospital, Sunderland that he would kill her on the spot if he saw her. This was the last of a number of threats that were not acted upon.
 
Her attacker left the 42-year-old mother of three for dead. She suffered life-threatening injuries and was profoundly traumatized by her ordeal. Meantime, Burton was jailed indefinitely in for the attempted murder of Selwood. An independent inquiry found a ‘complete failure’ by medical staff to warn her of any danger.
 
If the case is ultimately successful, it could result in every NHS Trust and local authority being required to check that threats against the personal safety of social workers and other vulnerable lone workers are made known to all parties, taken seriously and acted on, according to UNISON.
 
Gill Hale, UNISON Northern Regional secretary, noted, “The attack on Claire was shocking, but also shocking is the fact that it could and should have been prevented. Threats had been made by Burton on several occasions but Ms Selwood was never warned that her life might be in danger. We welcome today’s decision, which could lead improved safety for lone workers like Claire.
 
Organizations such as local authorities and NHS Trusts must protect vulnerable workers in the workplace. There must be procedures when threats are made against staff that work for or with them.”
 
According to Selwood, “This has been a difficult time and I am very grateful for the help and assistance I have received from UNISON.”
 
Following the attack, UNISON took up her case and began a claim for compensation against Selwood’s employer Durham County Council, and the Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust and Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.
 
The case against the two NHS Trusts was dismissed by Newcastle County Court on the grounds they did not owe Selwood a duty of care, but she was given leave to appeal.
 
In July, the Court of Appeal accepted it was arguable the two NHS Trusts did owe her a duty of care based on their responsibilities under an agreed protocol. Selwood can now continue the claim against her employer and the NHS Trusts.
 

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