1. Access to Work Scheme – record number of people receiving grant
2.Gender Pay Gap Reporting
3.Launch of the first advice line for workplace sexual harassment
4.The mental health benefits of flexible working
5.Apprenticeship levy shortage leaves SMEs disadvantaged
New figures have shown that record numbers of disabled people have received financial assistance from the Access to Work Scheme over the past year.
The Access to Work Scheme (ran by the Government) provides disabled people or those with health conditions with a grant of up to almost £60,000 in order to assist with workplace adjustments (such as specialist equipment and sign language interpreters).
The latest figures reveal that 36,240 people received the life-changing grant last year, with a total of £129.1 million being spent on the scheme.
Gender pay reporting legislation requires employers with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay figures each year.
Earlier this year the Equality and Human Rights Commission (‘EHRC’) named six organisations who failed to report in time for this year’s April deadline.
The EHRC has now reported that following investigations, the remaining organisations have published their figures. Those organisations who did not file their figures on time have been put on special measures for the next five years, resulting in them having to report their figures on time during this period or face further action and possible fines if they fail to do so.
The first ever free legal advice line was launched on 5th August, offering support and advice for women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace.
The advice line can be used by women in England and Wales who are experiencing sexual harassment at work, with the aim to improve women’s awareness of their legal rights and to assist in navigating around their legal issues. The advice line is run by charity Rights of Women.
Details of what services the advice line offers and their opening hours can be found at: –
Flexible working is a popular topic amongst employers and employees alike recently, and according to a study of 115 companies undertaken by Wildgoose, over 39% of those surveyed who work flexibly have said they think it helps to reduce stress and enables them to better manage their mental health. Interestingly, 43% of those surveyed who cannot work flexibly stated that they believed it would enable them to manage their mental health better if they were given the benefit.
The survey indicates a rising demand for flexible working, with 14.3% of those surveyed stating that they are considering a career move to an organisation that offers flexible working. Flexible working may even increase productivity, with 69% of non-flexible working individuals stating they would be more productive if they could work flexibly as they could work at time better suited to them.
The Apprenticeship Levy is a levy on UK employers that helps to fund new apprenticeships. If an employer has a pay bill of over £3 million each year, they will be required to pay the levy. Each employer should receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment.
The Government’s objective of the Apprenticeship Levy was to create a further 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 when it was introduced in April 2017.
However, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers has surveyed 253 organisations and has revealed that the lack of funding for the Apprenticeship Levy is resulting in SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) being unable to access funding for new apprentices, with three-quarters of training providers being unable to meet SME demand for apprenticeships.
The National Audit Office warned earlier this year that Apprenticeship Levy funds are frequently being used by larger organisations to pay for more costly apprenticeships. This is resulting in organisations that have a pay bill of less than £3 million, and who do not contribute to the levy, being dependent on any money left-over in the fund; 32% of training providers have stated that they prioritise offering apprenticeships to the larger organisations who pay the levy.
For more information, please contact Tom Evans: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 0151 230 1217