Tag: employees

The cleaners were allegedly underpaid minimum wage rates

The former directors of a cleaning company in Australia have been accused of sham contracting and underpayment of five migrant cleaners, according to the country’s workplace regulator.

Timothy Baxter Chambers and Craig Richard Simpson of ProClean HQ are facing federal court charges after allegedly misclassifying the workers as independent contractors, despite them being subject to company rules and not being allowed to subcontract. Fair Work Ombudsman

Sandra Parker, Fair Work Ombudsman said: “Sham contracting is extremely serious conduct because it involves employers knowingly or recklessly misrepresenting to workers that they have less lawful rights than they actually do, and it often goes hand in hand with exploitation of vulnerable workers”.

The cleaners were allegedly underpaid minimum wage rates, overtime rates, casual loadings, weekend and public holiday penalty rates, shift loading and allowances, and are owed over AUD 125,000.

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The move is part of the company’s “Year of Efficiency” management theme 

 Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced that it will be conducting another round of layoffs as early as this week, with the aim of cutting thousands of employees, this according to various US news agencies.  

The move is part of the company’s “Year of Efficiency” management theme for 2023, according to a statement by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report on February 1. 

The technology firm has already been giving buyout packages to managers and cutting “nonessential” teams, with the largest round of layoffs to date occurring in November 2022 when 13% of the workforce, more than 11,000 employees, were cut. In addition, the company has reduced discretionary spending and extended its hiring freeze through the first quarter of 2023. 

The new round of layoffs was expected after Meta reportedly issued “subpar ratings” to thousands of employees in their recent performance reviews, with approximately 10% of workers receiving ratings indicating that they were underperforming. Furthermore, the social media giant cut a bonus metric to 85% of its target. 

“We’ve always had a goal-based culture of high performance, and our review process is intended to incentivize long-term thinking and high-quality work, while helping employees get actionable feedback,” said a Meta spokesperson in response to the performance review ratings. 

“In this new environment, we need to become more capital efficient,” Zuckerberg said in a letter to employees in November. “We’ve cut costs across our business, including scaling back budgets, reducing perks, and shrinking our real estate footprint. We’re restructuring teams to increase our efficiency. But these measures alone won’t bring our expenses in line with our revenue growth, so I’ve also made the hard decision to let people go.” 

Meta gave many of its employees a month to apply for different positions within the company in September, with re-organizing departments expected to be merely the first step toward larger staff reductions. In July, engineering managers at Meta were tasked with identifying anyone on their team who “needs support” and reporting them in an internal HR system. 

Maher Saba, the company’s Head of Engineering commented: “If a direct report is coasting or is a low performer, they are not who we need; they are failing this company. As a manager, you cannot allow someone to be net neutral or negative for Meta.” 

Meta’s upcoming round of layoffs will continue its efforts to become a more efficient organization and achieve its long-term goals. 

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Businesses less keen to respond

People do not want to use their personal credit cards for work expenses due to their concerns about tight personal finances. Companies, however, are slow to respond to this demand.  This is according to research commissioned by Emburse.

The survey looked at expense processes within UK-based businesses, questioning employees about business policy enforcement about spending and employee preferences around business travel expenses and other related costs.

According to the research conducted by Censuswide, 16-34-year-olds were most likely to prefer corporate cards over personal cards (55%) compared to just 41% of those over 55.

Of these younger respondents, 47% said the cost-of-living crisis is the key factor. This is unsurprising considering that 78% of 16-24-year-olds reported cost-of-living increases, compared to 42% in January/February 2022.

The reasons that 94% of young employees want a corporate card include the following:

  • Long expense reimbursement processing time incurring the risk of late fees
  • Preference for not mixing personal and business spend
  • Streamlining the expenses process
  • Concerns about their own finances
  • Low credit limits
  • Ease in managing expenses at the end of a trip.

The data also revealed a limited desire to use personal cards for air/hotel points which can later be used for personal leisure and travel – only 10% of employees mentioned this as a reason to use personal cards.

According to the survey, only 6% of employees are required to use corporate cards at mid-size and larger companies. The majority of organisations do not use corporate cards. This is likely due to increased fraud cases due to cost-of-living hikes.

Jamie Anderson, Chief Revenue Officer at Emburse, commented: “We’re all feeling the impact of rising prices, so it’s more important than ever for companies to listen to employees and understand how best to support them. This is even more important for younger employees who often earn less and may not have large amounts of credit available. When almost half of young workers say that the cost of living makes them want a company-paid card for their expenses, it’s something that companies should seriously consider. It’s an easy – and free – way to show employees you care.

 “Giving employees credit cards also makes sound business sense. By setting restrictions on how and when, and where they can be used, it’s much easier to control purchases in advance, instead of having to wait for expense claims to come in after the fact. They also give much easier, accurate and timely insight into corporate spend, and the rebates that come back will also benefit the corporate coffers.”

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Why women are taking strain at work

A new study has revealed that female employees are 54% more likely to suffer from anxiety and twice as likely as men to work through illness – an issue known as presenteeism.

The study revealed that, during the last year, female employees experienced more work-related health implications than men. In addition to their raised anxiety levels, they are also 17% more at risk from excessive stress due to work life. In addition, 35% said that their mental health had worsened in the last year because of the workplace.

With International Women’s Day (IWD) being observed on 8 March, these statistics put a spotlight on the disproportionate health implications that women face due to their workplace. This year’s IWD theme is #EmbraceEquity, to encourage employers to support women’s health and well-being in the workplace.

According to the survey, 27% of female employees have experienced insomnia, making them 42% more susceptible to sleep deprivation. This is important to note, considering that the first signs of burnout, anxiety or depression are insomnia and trouble sleeping, according to the NHS.

A study of over 1,000 employees also found that sore backs, shoulders, or necks are experienced at a rate 58% higher in women than men. In addition, other physical health concerns were 60% more likely in women.

These results suggest that employers aren’t doing enough to support women in the workplace. In further support of this indication, a recent study across the UK-wide study into employee health and well-being found that 85% of employees would like their company to be more proactive in boosting employee health, well-being, and healthy habits. The study also found that:

  • Training managers to provide better support will help (33%).
  • promoting the use of sick leave when people are struggling with physical or mental health is important (32%).
  • employees want access to stress management training (25%).

It is not a benefit for employees to feel supported; companies benefit too:

  • 38% of employees feel more productive at work.
  • 33% of employees feel engaged with the work they do.
  • 31% say they’re less likely to seek job opportunities elsewhere.

Kate Palmer, HR Advisor and Consultancy Director at Peninsula, says: “Equality should be at the forefront of employers’ priorities and, as recognised by International Women’s Day, the only way to achieve this is through equity. Widespread prejudices against women and damaging biases such as: they’re unable to juggle a career and family, or be as resilient as men in the workplace, can often lead to women having to work longer and harder than their male counterparts just to access the same opportunities, even if it means working when they are unwell.

 “ All employers should consider offering an employee assistance programme and trained mental health first aiders to help identify individuals struggling with their mental health at an early stage, and signpost them to professional resources. Knowing women may be more at risk should be a prompt for employers to proactively implement these measures.”

Ruth Tongue, director of employee wellbeing company Elevate, says: “Equity is not something to only be addressed once a year – companies must think strategically about how to support women in their workplace.

 “Employers should offer emotional and mental wellbeing support for everyone via counselling, supyesport sessions with experts on stress management and championing women in the workplace by offering recognition not only financially but also visibly through promotions and praise.”


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57% of candidates said no feedback from interview was their greatest demotivator

SRG, a UK scientific recruitment organisation surveyed 754 candidates on their biggest blockers to motivation in their job-search. 

According to the survey results, over half (57%) of candidates cited no feedback from a job interview as their biggest blocker. 24% of candidates cited burnout and 10% said staying on top of managing job applications was their biggest blocker as a candidate. Meanwhile 9% said not knowing where to find jobs posed the greatest challenge to maintaining motivation. 

Hannah Mason, Principal Resourcer at Search by SRG said: “In this candidate driven market, businesses often forget the ‘two-way street’ and their interview processes are like interrogations. It is key that businesses are selling themselves to candidates throughout the process as well as highlighting their Employee Value Proposition and culture accurately. Senior and executive candidates are more selective than ever in the opportunities they pursue, and the current model of one-way interviews seldom meets the expectations of high-level candidates.” 

As economic uncertainty in the UK continues, access to best-in-industry talent is more critical than ever to maintain business continuity and futureproof organisational success. 

However, 70% of senior leaders report a lack of confidence in their organisational agility, and just 29% have enough employees to meet current performance requirements. As digitalisation continues to impact industries across STEM and beyond, skills gaps are widening, heightening the competition for talent. 7 in 10 leaders are experiencing major staff shortages and finding recruitment challenging. 

In this climate of scarcity and competitivity, a strong talent attraction strategy is vital. 

Alison Jones, Operations Director at SRG also commented: “Businesses need to hire people, not CVs. Companies need to move beyond approaching CV screening with a tick-box to strategically assessing capability. If a person’s CV meets most of the technical remit, interviewing that individual will extend and improve your talent base. I’ve lost count of the number of applicants rejected on something innocuous, who our consultants have persuaded the client to reconsider, only to go on to be successful for the very role they were rejected for. Our talent pool is diverse; therefore, CVs will be.” 

SRG is the UK’s leading scientific recruitment organisation. SRG provides market-leading services

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Will the popularity of the four-day working week increase the number?

More than 58% of UK workers plan to take on a side hustle in 2023. This is according to the latest findings from CV-Library.

According to the research, side hustle plans are driven by job security (62%) and earning more money (38%). With the increasing cost of living continuing to take its toll, 76.6% of those considering taking on a side hustle this year said they are doing so because they want/need more money. A further 23.4% said they are looking for additional job security in these unpredictable times.

Following the world’s biggest trial of a four-day working week, more companies are predicted to move in this direction. The trial was hailed as a massive success, with 56 out of 61 companies saying they would continue offering a shorter week.

Employees following this working arrangement will gain an extra day per week, which could see people turning their hobbies into side hustles. This allows people to enjoy the security of a main job while pursuing their personal passions and supplementing their incomes.

Lee Biggins, Founder and CEO of CV-Library, comments: “As the economic uncertainty looks set to continue, it’s understandable that so many employees are considering new ways to supplement their income while prioritising their job security.” 

“With unemployment levels at record lows, supporting employees’ side hustles could boost staff loyalty and help retain key talent. However, there are grey areas that businesses need to be mindful of, particularly for those operating a four-day week. The benefits of increased motivation, productivity levels, and mental health along with reduced sickness levels could be counterproductive if staff are dedicating their downtime and attention to a side hustle.”

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There’s been a 13% in reported bullying in the workplace post-pandemic  

Twenty-three percent of employees worldwide admit to having experienced workplace bullying – a behavior that goes well beyond the office walls and into the remote work realm. What’s even worse, workplace bullying has been on the rise since the pandemic – there is a 13% increase, in fact, compared to pre-pandemic numbers. The practice also accounts for 23% of resignations in the U.S., further expanding the skill gap in the labor market. 

Remote bullying is one of the driving factors in toxic workplace behavior. In contrast to real-time workplace bullying, which might manifest in more recognizable patterns like the assertion of power, intimidation techniques, intruding on colleagues’ privacy, making offensive remarks, or belittling others’ opinions, to name a few, remote bullying might be a more delicate issue.  

Diana Blažaitienė, a remote work expert and Founder of  Soprana Personnel International, which is a recruitment and personnel rent solutions agency, commented: “One of the crucial aspects of remote bullying is that everyone in the team may be an online bully, it is not limited to higher-ranking colleagues. That is why organizations should create processes that would help everyone in the team – both the potential bully and the victim – to identify certain toxic behaviors in professional setting.”  

Staving off remote bullying behaviors 

The expert lists certain red flags that hint at remote bullying—exclusion from virtual conversations or activities, constantly increasing workload, and creating a hostile cyber environment through emails and remote work platforms. 

“The signs of remote bullying are not always clean-cut and can gradually worsen up to a point when a remote worker feels their work motivation and efficiency are significantly impaired. Setting up boundaries is one of the most essential moments in breaking off remote bullying behaviors,” Ms. Blažaitienė added. 

For employers, she suggests establishing clear policies on remote work practices and expectations for employees to prevent unwarranted behavior. Promoting honest and open conversations within the remote teams and implementing regular virtual check-ins also allows staff to nurture trust in the employer. Encouraging remote staff to report any cases of virtual bullying and together navigating how to best respond in such cases ensures the employee that the employer has their back. 

“Besides more strict measures like creating anti-bullying guidelines and procedures, team leaders can take more interpersonal approaches like team building activities that prompt deeper connection and understanding between remote staff members,” the remote work expert maintained.  

That said, remote workers should check their workplace behavior to create a bullying-free environment. Ms. Blažaitienė suggests always displaying professional conduct towards other colleagues, communicating and delegating tasks with respect, refraining from gossiping or spreading rumors, participating in meetings, exchanging information and resources with all team members, and using professional development and growth opportunities to minimize the outbursts of remote bullying. 

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Saman Farid of San Francisco start-up Formic says one robot arm can do the work of up to eight people 

Joe Biden heralded a “manufacturing boom” in his state of the union speech earlier this month. He said that his policies had unleashed this boom and that companies, apparently, were rushing to build factories and bring home plants shipped overseas in previous decades. 

However, the more sobering reality is that not many people want to work in manufacturing because as of December 2022, 760,000 factory jobs remain unfilled, according to official figures. 

Every day, 10,000 baby-boomers retire — and those who replace them in industry often do not stay. Manufacturing has an annual staff turnover rate of 40%, meaning that every two and a half years, a typical facility’s entire workforce has to be rehired. 

Saman Farid ran Comet Labs before launching Formic two years ago. Comet Labs is a venture capital firm that specialised in robotics start-ups and he believes he has a solution to the manufacturing crisis. The 36-year-old entrepreneur has set up a “robot staffing agency” that brings in machines to do the jobs firms are struggling to fill. He has said that a single robot arm installed by his San Francisco start-up Formic can do the job of up to eight people. 


Scare stories of machines replacing humans have done the rounds for decades — but in manufacturing, Farid argues, the need is pressing. The industry is running far below capacity due to the acute labour shortage. 

Jay Timmons, Head of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group that represents more than 14,000 factory owners, said the biggest problem for “99.9%” of his members is finding people. 

Timmons said: “The typical factory we go to is 50 to 70% under-utilised, and it’s all because there’s just not enough labour.”  

Farid added: “For American industry to be competitive, the only answer is way, way more robots — and not like one here, one there, but how do we get hundreds of thousands of robots into factories?” 

For most companies, though, automation is hard. It entails a granular breakdown of every function inside a plant, deciding which of those jobs can be done by a machine and then spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a robot that may, or may not, work as expected. 

Farid knows this all too well. Before launching Formic two years ago, he ran Comet Labs, a venture capital firm that specialised in robotics start-ups. Time and again, companies he backed would struggle to sign up customers because the risks and complexity of automating their processes were too high. 

That pain point led, Farid said, to the birth of Formic, which has taken a “robot as a service” approach. It maps a company’s operations, figures out the tasks that are best suited to automation, and then installs a robot that is paid an hourly wage. If it fails to perform, Formic doesn’t get paid.  

Farid said: “The tech for very productive robots has existed now for ten years, but adoption is extremely low because there is so much risk and complexity. And so … the typical response of the factory owner has just been, ‘I can’t do this.’ ” 

The problem is not unique to America. The CBI’s employment trends survey last summer found that three-quarters of businesses struggled to fill vacant roles. Perhaps that robot really is coming for your job, after all. 

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Rising global interest rates and talent shortages are driving a need for cost-savings and innovation

2023 will be a challenging year for HR and talent acquisition leaders as rising global interest rates and labour shortages across industries take their toll. To stay ahead of the game, organisations have begun to look at formal upskilling initiatives and internal mobility programmes as key strategies in solving employee retention issues, bridging skills gaps, and streamlining costs. Investing time into these measures could be the difference between success or failure when it comes to securing top performers this year.  


Access to a wider talent pool 

Talent mobility and upskilling programmes can uncover a wealth of previously untapped talent within the organisation. Leveraging this wider pool of candidates, employers can diversify job roles and benefit from an enriched workforce with wide-ranging skillset. Additionally, when employees move internally, they already have an understanding of the company’s culture, making it easier to transition into their new role and “hit the ground running.” At the same time, specialised training ensures employees stay ahead of industry trends while sharpening technical or soft skills—ensuring the business remains competitive as industry trends change over time.  

Drive cost savings 

Internal mobility and upskilling can have a significant effect on cost savings for organisations. By training existing employees, organisations save money on external recruiting efforts and onboarding and training a new hire. Furthermore, when staff are provided with opportunities to work faster and smarter due to training, they become valuable assets to the organisation by working more efficiently and driving down labour costs. This can be compounded over time as staff continuously upskill to take on tasks in new areas of expertise that traditionally cost more. 

Improve collaboration and knowledge-sharing  

Upskilling and talent mobility present unique opportunities for improved collaboration across departments. By giving employees the opportunity to gain experience in different areas of the business, they’ll have a better understanding of how different departments interact and work together towards common goals. In addition, upskilling your staff helps build sound processes that unite the entire organisation.  

Fuel employee retention and reduce turnover rates 

LinkedIn’s most recent Global Talent Trends Report finds that internal mobility is a powerful way to keep employees happy—with up to 87% of employees being more likely to stay at an organisation longer with an internal move. Further, seeking out upskilling opportunities has become increasingly important in candidates’ job searches as they look towards personal development within the workplace. 

Build a culture of growth and learning  

Upskilling and internal mobility initiatives give your employees the tools they need to reach their full potential within the organisation. It sends a clear message that you value their growth and development—creating a culture of learning that will help attract top talent from outside sources as well as retain current talent from within the company. 


Managers may be reluctant to let go of their top performers, but, as explored above, talent mobility is proven to benefit both the organisation and its employees. Instead, organisations should strive to create an internal culture of trust and open communication, wherein everyone feels comfortable exploring new territory or roles within the company. 

Supporting internal mobility isn’t just up to managers; it also comes from peers who offer encouragement when someone is taking on a challenging project or exploring a new role. By creating an environment where everyone feels supported, organisations establish a culture of collaboration and innovation that encourages people to take risks without fear of failure. 

Companies need to have clear policies in place that encourage upskilling and talent mobility while allowing for flexibility in terms of job descriptions or career paths that might make sense for certain individuals. Moreover, open dialogue regarding potential opportunities within an organisation increases transparency so everyone knows what possibilities are available at any given time. 

Providing employees with the freedom to stretch their skills and discover new abilities is an invaluable asset for any workplace. 

Through a careful repositioning of their talent, organisations can open doors for employees to explore different career paths and enhance their leadership capabilities. Plus, proactively providing these opportunities creates an attractive ecosystem where people are driven not just to succeed, but also learn and develop in ways they never thought possible.                                                

LevelUP is inviting HR leaders to join them in London for a networking breakfast and seminar on building successful internal mobility plans. Through this opportunity, you will gain the tools necessary to effectively identify and nurture your current workforce while being able to strategically attract top talent into your business. Don’t miss out—register now at this link. 

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90% of respondents said separation affected their ability to work

Solicitors at Kent law firm Furley Page have welcomed a new initiative by the Positive Parenting Alliance that could see employees being offered compassionate leave from work to deal with the breakdown of their marriage or relationship.

The Positive Parenting Alliance (PPA) initiative urges employers to treat a separation as seriously as other major life events, and is encouraging employers to implement policies specifically aimed at supporting those going through divorce or separation. Asda, Metro Bank, NatWest, PwC, Tesco, Unilever and Vodafone are among a group of major businesses that have already signed up to offer more support.

Josie Triffitt, a Solicitor with Furley Page’s Family team, commented: “It is widely recognised that a separation or divorce can be akin to a bereavement, so the PPA’s new initiative is an important step towards getting employers to acknowledge the impact of relationship breakdown on their employees.

“Anyone who has gone through a separation or divorce will know that it is often a difficult, complex and stressful time and for many who are working during this period, it can understandably have an impact on their performance, especially when the parties are dealing with the settlement financial matters or arrangements for their children.”

In a recent survey by the Positive Parenting Alliance, 90% of respondents stated that separation affected their ability to work and 95% said that their mental health was adversely affected, while more than half of the workers feared they could lose their job or thought about resigning. However, only 9% of employees said that their employers had a specific policy for separation and divorce.

Solicitor Eleanor Rogers, from Furley Page’s Employment law team, said: “In the absence of any such policy, the way that a separating or divorcing individual is treated will depend on their line manager’s approach, which may mean that employees are not treated consistently. Furthermore, in this world of hybrid working, issues such as mental health and wellbeing can be harder to spot.

“Employers can have a huge influence by ensuring that their employees feel supported, which in turn supports productivity and staff retention. The PPA’s new initiative is a positive step in the right direction, and going forward it is going to become more important for employers to put meaningful policies in place to provide assistance and support to staff as they cope with the impact of issues like separation or divorce.”

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