Monthly Archives: February 2016

UK Government Announces Plan to Reduce the Gap in Gender Pay

download (5)The UK government has recently announced that there will be a £2 million fund spent on initiatives aimed at reducing the gender pay gap between males and females. The funding will be spent on training, events, and monitoring programmes to help females move from low paid and low skilled work into jobs that are higher paid and higher skilled.

The measures will also hopefully help female employees in the event that they need to hold their company or employers to account over equal pay, or the lack thereof.

Currently the overall, average pay gap is 19.7%, and though this figure has been reduced from 25% in the last ten years, it still reflects unfair treatment of workers – in particular elderly and part-time employees. One reason for the gap is that there are more women, on average, in low paid jobs. The scheme will be looking to offer the necessary training to aim to help them move into the higher paid positions, careers and professions.

The initiative is to be carried out the by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and will target women working in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), retail and hospitality management, and agricultural sectors in particular.

The government will also:

• Publish guidance that will help women to compare their pay rate to their male counterparts.
• Invest £50,000 into further guidance to enable female employees to hold their companies to account in the event that they feel that they’ve been underpaid or paid incorrectly.
• Create and launch free pay analysis software to be made available to all companies and businesses so that they can calculate their gender pay gap.
• Implement extra measures to reinforce the existing Think, Act, Report initiative.

The minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, stated that: “The measures we’re announcing today will help to tackle the pay gap head-on. We will support women to move out of low paid, low skilled work, into high paid, high skilled work, through providing better training and mentoring.” She added that: “We will also give both women and employers the tools to assess and address unfair pay.”

The measure will hopefully make it far easier for female employees, as well as the employers themselves, to identify pay gaps and issues with pay within their company, and also it will make it easier for them to bring the issue up with their bosses.

 

Injury by Accident V. Specific Traumatic Incident

imagesThere are generally two requirements for an employee who is injured at work, to qualify for Workers’ Compensation: (1) the employee must suffer by accident; and (2) the injury must arise out of and in the course of employment.

As a general rule, employees must suffer an injury by accident in order to give rise to a claim under the Workers’ Compensation laws. The term “accident” has been interpreted as an “unlooked for and untoward event which is not expected or designed by the injured employee.” For example, injuries by accident often arise in the construction context. An employee that falls from a ladder or trips into a hole would likely be able to claim any injuries resulting from that accident under the Workers’ Compensation statute. Likewise, a welder who is injured due to an equipment malfunction or a supermarket worker who slips on a wet floor could also claim. Satisfying the injury by accident standard does not automatically result in a claim being valid. However it is an essential element. On the other hand, an employee who claims a workplace injury but cannot reproduce any details regarding when, where, and how the accident occurred will have an uphill battle in bringing the claim.

Furthermore, this claim cannot arise based on something that occurs in the normal course of an employee’s work. For instance, if an employee normally lifts boxes and places them on a truck, an unforeseen knee injury resulting from that lifting likely will not qualify as an injury by accident.

As an exception to the injury by accident standard, back injuries-only require a “specific traumatic incident.” The principal distinction between both are that the specific traumatic incident can occur within the employee’s normal job duties. Here, the unforeseen, unusual aspect of the injury is not required, but it does have to be specific. Returning to the hypothetical above, if an employee lifts boxes onto a truck bed everyday as a part of their normal routine and injures his back while lifting one day, that claim could likely be brought as a specific traumatic incident. The employee’s injury occurred during a specific instance at work.

It is often frustrating for claimants that the types of injuries covered under the specific traumatic injury standard are so limited. Every case is very fact specific. If you feel like you have been injured at work, you should consult a workers compensation attorney in your area for an objective evaluation of your case.

 

Should Restaurants Ban Tips?

download (4)Tipping is unspokenly mandatory. So much so that waiters have been known to chase after diners who leave less than the expected 15% of their tab. And this is with good reason. Federal law basically allows waiters to be paid below minimum wage – with tips meant to make up for the difference. This is why waiters are paid as low as $2.13 per hour in some areas. Even in New York, the starting pay is only $5.00 an hour in restaurants.

However, more and more restaurants are starting to ban tips. It has become common for some restaurants to include the tip for groups of six or more. Others are now including it for all tables and in their menus. Admittedly, this makes a restaurant seem more expensive than one that has lower prices on the menu but fully expects a proper tip left behind. People just generally don’t think of the tip as a real amount to factor into a meal’s price.

Why ban tips?

There are several reasons for eliminating tips. First of all, the amount of tips left by people varies widely, and is largely affected by things as arbitrary and discriminatory as a server’s physical appearance, gender, race, and age. Other factors include things that are beyond the waiter’s control such as the quality of the food. Diners often think that the amount they leave is up to their personal judgment. In reality though, leaving a lousy tip is tantamount to stealing from the waiter’s wages.

It remains fundamentally flawed that a few select professions have salaries left to the whims of the clients. If a lawyer charges $60 an hour, he gets paid $60 an hour no matter how his finished work turns out. If a company charges $60 for mowing your lawn, you pay them $60 no matter what. If having your teeth cleaned costs $60, you pay $60 without first judging how much whiter your teeth have become.

In the restaurant business, the “backs” such as cooks and janitors, get paid a set amount for a set number of hours worked. If so, why shouldn’t the “front” of the place – waiters, bartenders, even valet – get the same deal? Just like any other role in a restaurant (or any other job for that matter), the waiter puts in the expected amount and quality of labor, and so should be paid a constant and reliable amount in exchange.

In the first place, the percentage basis is also fundamentally flawed. Does it take less effort to bring you a $2 plate of fries than it does a $20 sandwich? And just how many of us can mentally compute 15% of anything, anyway?

How to Ensure You Are Getting the Benefits You Deserve

download (2)If you are injured at your place of employment as the result of an accident that prevents you from returning, then you are entitled to workers’ compensation. The system is put into place to cover medical costs and protect employees who can no longer earn an income because of injuries they sustain while working. Like most government systems there is a high rejection rate, in part to save money and also because of the many people who submit false claims. Even though the system is difficult, there are some things that you can do to give yourself the best possible chance at receiving the benefits you deserve.

Make Sure You Report Every Injury Sustained

Every time you are injured on the job or get ill because of work, you need to report it to the proper channels. It’s not enough to tell your boss and walk away; you need to have it in writing which means filling out a detailed incident report. If you aren’t given a report to fill out then your employer will have no record of the injury and may deny that you ever complained to them. If there is no paperwork or an insurance adjuster doesn’t call you up to discuss it, then something is amiss. Follow up with your boss or go up the ladder until you get results.

Keep Detailed Medical Records

You should let anybody caring for you know that your injury was sustained at your place of employment so that they can forward your medical bill on to workers’ comp and not to you. If you choose to visit a doctor that is not suggested by your employer then you need to be certain that they are certified for workers’ compensation claims, otherwise you will be stuck with the bill and will have to apply for reimbursement, which can take a long time. Make sure you keep copies filed away in your records of every hospital or doctor’s visit you have made, as these records will come in handy if you aggravate an old work injury and need to prove it.

Be Wary of Employers Who Refuse Your Coverage

In certain cases it’s the employer who is responsible for the employee not getting workers’ compensation, often convincing employees not to make a claim by lying and saying they wouldn’t be approved. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance, which means that even if you caused the accident (within reason) you will still be covered. Some employers convince employees that the accident was their fault and that they will not be covered. This is a way for companies to keep their safety records up by keeping accidents off the books and to save any money they would have to pay in compensation.

There are ways to make sure you get the best possible benefits on your workers’ compensation claim, and they just require hard work, dedication, patience and possibly a personal injury attorney. The biggest thing to know is that lying or cheating is not only illegal, it rarely works. Always be honest. If your claim is valid then you will hopefully have no problems receiving full workers’ compensation for your injuries.

Occupational Health and Safety Industry Best Practices

downloadThe primary objective of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is to ensure that safety at work is achievable in every organization big or small. By complying with this act, you can address issues that may pose danger to your employees, well before any untoward incidents occur.

Workplace inspections serve a critical role in fulfilling this objective and in maintaining a safe, productive work environment where your business can flourish. These are planned walk-through activities carried out in the work premises to critically examine various factors. Some of the aspects that may be covered are materials, buildings, equipment and so on which may potentially pose danger.

One should call in competent, experienced, safety consultants to outline how an effective safety inspection should be carried out for your workplace. Keep in mind that the nature of business, the kind of processes involved here, the kind of equipment being used etc have an impact on which aspects need to be covered during your workplace inspections.

Planning your Inspections

To carry out a truly effective inspection, it needs to be thoroughly planned where every important aspect is taken into consideration. Hiring experienced safety consultants is good move because they can bring in their expertise to point out various aspects that you may not have considered. In addition, you can have your own team enrolled in health and safety officer courses with these experts to learn how periodic inspections should be carried out to curb the risks in the workplace.

Establishing acceptable standards for various workplace activities, processes and the environment, in general, is a key component of workplace safety planning process. With the standards in place, it becomes easier for your employees and your inspectors to quickly identify increased risk in any area well in advance, so that it can be rectified before it causes any harm.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act Guide has been prepared to assist employers, workers, constructors, supervisors, owners, suppliers, and others who have duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The purpose of the OHS Regulation is to promote occupational health and safety and to protect workers and other persons present at workplaces from work-related risks to their health, safety, and well-being.

The occupational health and safety professional plays a major role in the development and application of accident investigations, risk assessments, loss prevention, and safety training programs for workers. They develop programs that will in conserving life, health and property; improve productivity by implementing loss-control programs in consultation with company and labour officials; identify health and safety hazards in the work environment and advise corrective action.