This week’s news in brief

Fines for hiring illegals

Employers who hire illegal workers could be fined £2,000, the government has announced. Anyone knowingly employing illegal workers could be jailed for two years or face an unlimited fine. However, the most recent Home Office figures show that only two people were prosecuted for employing workers in the UK illegally in 2003.

Army signs EOC deal

The Equal Opportunities Commission and defence secretary John Reid have signed an agreement to confront sexual harassment in the armed forces, after official figures revealed a quarter of Navy women had been sexually harassed. Reid said: “A great deal of work has been done to get our diversity and equality policies right, but we recognise more needs to be done.”

Sickie surge surprise

There has been a dramatic increase in employees ‘pulling sickies’. Law firm Peninsula polled 1,000 employers and 927 employ-ees from a range of industries and found that 94% of staff admitted to faking illness to take time off, compared to 62% in the same survey in 1998. Most employers find it difficult to identify genuine absence from those skiving.

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