News in brief

 Minimum wage no threat

Ongoing recruitment problems mean a modest minimum wage increase is unlikely to have major impact on wage inflation, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s reward adviser Charles Cotton. “While it is true that any dramatic increases in the minimum wage risk damaging business and the economy, the reality is that modest increases are unlikely to be the biggest motivator behind pay pressures at the moment,” he said.

CBI positive about DTI

The CBI has applauded the Government’s five-year plan for the Department of Trade and Industry, saying it “hits all the right notes” for business. The DTI’s programme maps out policy it hopes will make the UK the most attractive place in the world for scientific research. It says the UK is winning in the global knowledge economy, but needs to meet the challenge of rising economies such as China and India.

HSE prosecutions up

Health and safety prosecutions rose 6 per cent to 982 last year, according to the Health & Safety Executive’s Annual Offences and Penalties Report. Fines for breaches of health and safety rules rose to an average of 14,000 per successful prosecution from 8,800 in 2002-03. The HSE prosecuted 17 directors and managers last year, with 11 cases leading to convictions.

Acas work-life guide

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has launched a new booklet to assist employers with work-life balance policies. Parents at Work, explains how helping working parents can benefit the wider workforce by providing a happier and healthier working environment. The booklet outlines different systems that companies can put in place to help working parents, such as flexi-time, annualised hours and term-time working.

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