This week’s letter

Why not compare back office pay?

I was very interested – but not surprised – to read the article on the
gender pay gap in HR in last week’s issue (News, 7 January).

I would like to see a comparison between the salaries in HR and other back
office functions. I bet it would make an equally frustrating read.

Ruth Wood
Assistant personnel officer, London

EAPs are benefits for the employer

I agree with much that Simon Kent has to say in his article ‘How to manage
stress’ (Careerwise, 10 December), but he clearly doesn’t understand the role
and function of an employee assistance programme (EAP).

An EAP is not an employee benefit. It is a service that provides
counselling, information and advice that can help staff cope with pressures
that they cannot change.

This will benefit the employee by reducing their tensions and help them to
avoid a wide variety of stress-related illnesses.

For the employer, an EAP can provide a way of reducing absence and improving

In the report Counselling in the Workplace: The Facts, published by BACP,
the medical director of Chevron Europe claims that "for every £1 spent
through EAPs with workplace counselling, £6 to £10 was being saved for our

EAPs are an employer benefit that also benefits the employee – a perfect
example of a win-win situation.

Ron Scott
Director – strategy and planning

Doctors should pay for false sick notes

Recent reports in the national press suggest that a growing band of doctors
are prepared to help healthy employees take time off work by writing out false
sick notes in return for paid consultations.

Four out of 10 doctors approached by an undercover reporter from The Sunday
Times certified that he was unfit for work even though he made it clear he was
not ill.

More than 33 million sick days were lost through sickness last year,
compared with 18 million in 1995. Surely, it must be time for employers to seek
recompense through the courts from doctors falsely aiding staff to defraud
their organisation.

Colin Rodden
The Mosaic Initiative

Headaches are no laughing matter

Having read through the interesting A-Z of the unions, and enjoyed the
content, I was dismayed to read the danger ratings (Features, 7 January).

I understand that you wanted to convey a little humour in the article about
the level of employer headache each union is creating, but I was disappointed
by your categorisation of a cluster headache.

To say that a cluster headache is only slightly worse than a tension
headache and behind migraine is insensitive – as a sufferer, I know that it is
much worse.

It would be interesting to consider how long employees take off work for
severe headaches and what can be done about it in terms of equal opportunities
and the sickness benefit structure. There are many people who are not able to
hold down jobs due to their illness.

It would raise awareness of the different forms of headache that keep people
out of work for huge numbers of man-days per year.

Charlie Cavendish
via e-mail

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