Comments are closed. This week’s lettersRecord debate is just goodsenseThe debate on employee sicknessrecords being kept by employers continues (Letters, February 6).If the rule goes on the statutebooks, but with a clause that allows a contract of employment that includes theemployee’s permission to keep records of sickness absence, a precedent will beset so other exceptions for contractual clauses to overrule statute will bepassed until suddenly, contracts will be all-powerful and the statute bookweak.This will lead to unionsstriking for fairer contracts which will lead to poor industrial relations,more statute to redress the balance and lots of fees for the lawyers. Alternatively, managers canintroduce a stick-on star system for their monthly multi-purpose planners ñgold stars for an individual’s full attendance for the month, silver for oneday off, all the way down to black. Where will it all end?Can we please see a Ministerfor Using Common Sense in Employment Law in the next Parliament?Stuart Mallinson, Personnelmanager, J&G CoughtrieWhy do we needto ask ‘How old?’I was heartened to read thatthere is to be a code of practice aimed at abolishing age discrimination in theworkplace, “European code aims to curb ageism” (News, 23 January). I hope the article hasopened a few eyes to the need for action.However, the response by DeniseWalker, head of corporate personnel at Nationwide building society, troublesme. She was involved in creating the code, but tells us “it is notsomething that can be brought in overnight”.In my opinion, it can be ñsimply stop asking the age of anyone and everyone. I know we have to ensurethat people are old enough to be employed and if they qualify for developmentgrants due to their young age. But why ask for the age of someone who is over18 (or 21 for some legislation)? There should never be any needfor an upper age restriction. Too many skilled and experienced potentialemployees are “filtered out” by this method ñ which is why we areseeing reports of skill shortages. There is a significant pool ofwilling, capable and experienced workers who want to work with you ñ just givethem the chance.Michael Perry, Principletraining designer and senior trainer, WiltshireAdult joke brokeall your own rulesI am writing to express myserious concern at the article in Guru (23 January), which mentioned thewebsite adultstaffing.com.While it highlighted the typeof site it might be, in a journal that frequently highlights the problems ofstaff visiting porn sites on the Web, an invitation to readers to visit anassociated site is very unprofessional. I would contend that even putting it ina humorous section is wrong for these reasons:– It makes light of a problemarea– It encourages readers to visit a site which may quickly link to others (Ionly visited the home page to check out my concerns)– It may put people visiting it at work in a dangerous position re theircompany’s IT policy.I normally appreciate thebalance between articles, advertising, news and humour. I believe on thisoccasion you have made an error of judgement.Jonathan Napper, Farnham, Surrey”Nuisance”factor must be removedHaving read the letter from JimHoggart, “Keep tribunals in perspective” (5 December), I cannot butwonder if he is living in the same world, never mind planet. I am the senior partner for apersonnel outsourcing company running the personnel function for 45 small andmedium-sized organisations and am regularly involved in responding to tribunalapplications. I also take up claims, without fees, for employees who have beentreated poorly. I have recently dealt with aclaim of constructive dismissal where an employee was issued with a writtenwarning for a confrontation that occurred with the applicant. Subsequentlythree witnesses came forward to say the applicant incited the other employee,and the warning was withdrawn. While the company had everyopportunity to take disciplinary action against the applicant, it felt thathaving behaved fairly by withdrawing the warning, it would let sleeping dogslie. The applicant then walked out, claiming her position had been underminedby the warning being withdrawn, and this was the basis for her claim. After three days at tribunal,at a cost to a small business of the equivalent of £600,000-£800,000, her claimwas dismissed. This does not take account of the affect on the morale of thewitnesses, who were obliged to confirm on the stand that the applicant waslying on aspects of the claim.It is only right that there areappropriate remedies for cases of unfair treatment, but this and similar casesshould be deterred from blatant abuse of the system. While agreeing with some of thecomments made by Mr Hoggart regarding the excessive use of legal support, thereis no substantial deterrent for people who have nothing to lose by taking aclaim, often on the basis of obtaining a “nuisance” payment. I recommend that Jim studieshow many cases are resolved by a payment solely to save the excessive fiscaland employee-relations costs that often occur. The modern expression is”get real”, but possibly “check your facts” is moreappropriate, Mr Hoggart.Colin Perkins, Senior partner, PersonnelServices and ManagementGive me achance to fill skills gapI find the talk of staff andskills shortages in the HR sector very interesting (News, 16 January). I am a graduate in business whohas been working for a small engineering company dealing with administration,including personnel and HR software. I enjoy this so much that I have decided Iwould like a job in HR. But where do I find one? I have applied for manypositions but got nowhere ñ because I don’t have enough HR experience.I just hope that the HR sectorrealises it is excluding many excellent candidates for assistant/officer postsjust because they don’t have a lot of HR experience. How are you meant to getHR experience without working in HR?Paula Laite, Via e-mailLow payreflects poor view of HRMaybe “HR profession seessmallest rise in salary” (News, 16 January) reflects the attitude that HRdoes not benefit the organisation and is not a real profession. Too many organisations lump HRin with the overheads, such as accounts and print rooms.HR graduates are often not evenseen as real graduates ñ a real graduate has done a law degree or accountancy.They often don’t get an effective graduate development programme.Iain Young, HR manager, Viae-mailCare should startbefore childbirthIt is a positive step foremployee health that employers are taking the work-life balance seriously.However as far as parents are concerned, the focus seems to be on positivetreatment after childbirth. Companies should also be examining how they treatstaff during pregnancy. Employers have a role to playin supporting the choices employees make about work, health and lifestyleduring pregnancy. The national baby charity Tommy’s Campaign set up thePregnancy Accreditation Programme to improve conditions for pregnant women inthe workplace and commend companies with positive policies. Companies such asMarks & Spencer, Rolls-Royce and the Department of Health are leading theway. An NOP/Tommy’s Campaign surveyshowed that one in four employers is negative or indifferent when a pregnancyis announced and one in 10 women have been forced to cancel an antenatalappointment because of pressures at work. Employers can implement simplesteps to improve their treatment of pregnant employees, thus aiding workforcehealth and the retention of key staff.Claire MacAleese, Accountmanager, Tommy’s CampaignWork-lifescheme is a real bargainI wanted to share a great ideathat our MD Steve Carter announced at our annual Year Start Party. In order to reinforce ourcompany’s commitment to ensuring employees reach a good balance between workand home life, we have all had Tesco Direct installed on our desktops. Thismeans we can shop during work time and ensure our groceries get delivered whenwe get home.It is such a simple, sillyidea, but it has gone down a storm.It would be interesting to seeif other companies are introducing any innovative benefits other than the usualluncheon vouchers and health insurance.Sarah Sable, HR officer, RobertHalf InternationalBruisedand cold, but Army course was well worth itI was one of the hungry,tooled-up Centrefile managers on the North Yorkshire Moors and I thought I’dshare with you what I’ve gained (Guru, 30 January, News 6 February). 1 Some major lessons indiscomfort. I’ve never had bruises on the insides of my thighs before (don’task, but it involved a plank and a climbing frame). Army trucks, Army helmetsand Army rifles are all pleasures to be tried maybe just the once.2 A healthy respect for theBritish Army ñ it brings it home to you that they really do train to fight forlives. It must be frustrating for them to have a bunch of people who, when theysay “jump” don’t say, “How high?” but, “Hang on aminute I’m just checking my messages”. 3 The thrill of abseiling ñ somethingI’d always dreaded, but it was so brilliant I went back for another go.4 The knowledge that beingchest-deep in freezing water in an inch of snow is fine as long as you keepclenching and unclenching your fists5 Some valuable lessons inteamwork and relationships. The Army culture of “your team is only as goodas its weakest member” really does bring out the supportive instincts andsome innovative thinking.For any organisations thinkingof sending their managers on this course, I’d wholeheartedly recommend it (andnot just because those officers look fantastic in their dress uniforms).But what did I lose? Just oneearring on the dance floor of the officers’ mess.Deborah Wylie, Sales accountmanager, Customer HR team, Centrefile Previous Article Next Article LettersOn 13 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.