It has been a challenging year for HR, with a growing amount of red tape, a need to improve the bottom line in a tough economic market, and a number of high-profile strikes. Personnel Today looks back at the year
Agency Workers Directive
HR had to watch while the draft Agency Workers Directive became tougher on employers as the year progressed.
The European Commission directive proposed to give agency workers the same pay and conditions as permanent employees. Agency staff would be entitled to the same salaries, work and rest periods, paid holidays, overtime pay and health and safety rights.
As far back as March, UK HR argued that this would raise employers' costs and tie them up in red tape.
The Commission originally proposed the entitlements should come into force after six weeks of employment, but many in Europe - including MEP Ieke van den Burg - were in favour of immediate rights.
In October, 71 per cent of the 1,000 organisations surveyed by Personnel Today and Manpower said that their business would suffer if the EU Agency Workers Directive was introduced. Almost half predicted that it would damage the competitiveness of the UK economy.
HR professionals were angry that rights could be granted from the very start of the temporary worker's employment.
Last month, the European Parliament granted a transitional five-year period for the UK and Ireland to make use of the six-week exemption - but only in respect of pay, not any other terms and conditions, and stated that adequate pay must be provided from day one.
Data protection and internet monitoring
HR professionals were left hanging on a string by confusing and delayed data protection guidance, while internet misuse and problems with new technology continued to escalate.
The Information Commission drip-fed its guidance on The Data Protection Act 1998, which outlined employers' responsibilities when handling staff information.
In July, a Personnel Today and Websense survey revealed that one in four companies had sacked staff for internet abuse, with 43 per cent of firms experiencing web abuse every month.