News in brief

New employee rules

A raft of new legislation takes effect on 6 April, including the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004, which give many employees the right to be informed and consulted about their employer’s business. Also coming into force are sections of the Employment Relations Act 2004 amending the statutory union recognition procedure and strengthening employee protection against dismissal when taking official industrial action.

Majority for smoke ban

One year after the introduction of Ireland’s smoking ban, public support for smoke-free laws in the UK has increased, according to new research. The latest opinion poll from lobby group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) shows that 78% of the UK public support a law enforcing a smoking ban in all workplaces, including pubs and restaurants.

Employers don’t pay up

Many employers who lose at employment tribunals refuse to pay the compensation awarded, according to Citizens Advice. More than 650 people consult the body about the problem every year – 5% of the 13,000 who win compensation awards. Citizens Advice said the true percentage was probably much higher. It said better enforcement should be included in the forth-coming Courts and Tribunals Bill.

Accent on success

Almost half of the UK’s company directors and senior managers believe that a ‘plummy’ or ‘upper-class’ accent is a hindrance rather than a help when it comes to succeeding in business. Research from communications consultancy The Aziz Corporation revealed that a working-class accent is considered even worse, with 86% feeling it is a disadvantage in business.


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