Expense claims cost business dear

first_imgAs many as2.5 million employees in the UK believe it is acceptable to exaggerate theirexpense claims at work, according to research for accounting systems providerCevas Data Systems. Theresearch, carried out by Gallup, estimates that of the 10 million employees whoclaim expenses, 25 per cent think that it is acceptable to inflate claims someor all of the time. AshleyWhittaker, chief executive of Cevas Data Systems, said, “Clearly expense fraudis too easy to commit. The fact that a quarter of those who claim expensesthink that exaggerating their figures is acceptable is quite disturbing.” Over 27per cent of the 2,100 employees surveyed believe that colleagues sometimesinflate  expense claims, but only 4 percent think that fellow staff claim too much all of the time. Whittakerbelieves that at least £230m is claimed in inflated expenses in the UK eachyear.The surveyalso shows that while 39 per cent of those who inflate their expenses only doso by up to 10 per cent, nearly 8 per cent would be happy to exaggerate by atleast 50 per cent. Furthermore, the younger the claimant the more likely theyare to believe that the practice is acceptable.Whittakersaid, “British industry must tighten up its procedures to prevent such a lossrevenue and a negative culture of petty theft in the workplace.” Previous Article Next Article Expense claims cost business dearOn 6 Mar 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Heart of the matter

first_imgRelationship problems can lead to poor performance and trauma for theaffected worker. New legislation, backed by research, is poised to deal withthe disruption, by Linda Goldman and Joan Lewis Statistics released by the National Institute (Trauma) Personal IndignityCampaign (Nitpic) show that the incidence of absence from work on StValentine’s Day is increasing at the rate of 36.1 per cent per annum. Figures show that there is a combination of lateness and absence at emotiveanniversaries and pagan festivalsgenerally. Latecomers arrive at work offering a variety of excuses to cover the factthat they have waited at home for the post to arrive. This effect may equatedirectly to absence where an employee has a long distance to travel to work. Those who do not receive a love token of any description may not attend workfor anything up to three days. Those who do not receive post of the desirednature may perform poorly at work even when they are able to attend. OH teams have been taking part in the government initiative to combat thecondition known as “Valentabsence” by completing anonymousquestionnaires to provide a factual matrix for dealing with the condition and asound base for the new Prevention of Work Distress (Exacerbation) Regulations2001 (Powder) which, at the time of writing, are about to come into force. Practical effects If the expected results are forthcoming from the Valentabsence trial, thenit is likely that consultation will take place on extending the scheme toinclude wedding anniversaries, birthdays, etc. The Government has indicatedthat a Commissioner for Love Over Trauma (Clot) would be appointed to overseethe new system of rights. The OH department is concerned with the health-related absences that are thereason for the creation of Powder. In dealing with these issues,confidentiality remains paramount, since mere absence without leave is adisciplinary issue, whereas absence for this particular condition maycharacterise a single, short-term episode of illness (ichthyotic transientcardiac haemorrhage – “itch”). The more serious, long-term effects involving three days’ absence or moremust be carefully investigated since, if the party who failed to send aValentine is a work colleague, the incident may have to be reported under theReporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995(Riddor), being of a work-related origin. In rare instances, the condition can become chronic, giving rise tocircumstances in which dismissal on the grounds of ill health may be consideredby the HR department. Hitherto, OH personnel have been able to assist in thehealth issues, subject to the overriding ethical demands. Effect of the new regulations The broken heart syndrome is the commonest cause of exacerbation ofstress-related illness, particularly in mid-February. Powder comes into force at midnight on 31 March 2001 and clarifies theissues which justify absence from work on St Valentine’s Day. It should benoted that they have retrospective effect only for those who have sufferedpreviously. Figures contained in the NITPIC 2000 Report available at www.heartbreak.uk © Humour Resources. Linda Goldman is a barrister at the civil chambers of Bernard Pearl,Lincoln’s Inn. She is head of training and education for ACT Associates &Virtual Personnel.  Joan Lewis is thesenior consultant and director of ACT Associates and Virtual Personnel The main measures of Powder regulations– All working persons must only receive Valentine cards at their place ofwork (the transition period allows for suitable arrangements to be made inworkplaces where private correspondence is not otherwise permitted) – Crown immunity to be removed so armed forces may receive Valentines in thefield – Companies employing 20 or more workers to have qualified OH assistance forthose who have not received a Valentine – Resources to include provision of counselling and surrogate cards forwhich the Government will provide funds. Flowers or gifts are optional and willbe at the expense of the individual company– Waiting at home to receive a Valentine card will be a potentially fairreason for dismissal – Fines for managers or other senior office holders who have either failedto send a Valentine or sent one by e-mail (subject to company policy on thereceipt of private e-mail) Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Heart of the matterOn 1 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Nursing or policing?

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Whatever the role an OH nurse is expected to take in monitoring employees’sick leave, it is crucial that she is seen to be independent of managementLast month we published a dilemma from a reader who was worried about theway her role in monitoring sickness absence might be perceived by employees.She wrote, “This is my first post since qualifying as an RGN within anoccupational health environment. In controlling their sickness absence myemployer has asked me to become involved in the management of employee absence.In particular they are intending to request that on their first day of absenceemployees contact the OH nurse to advise them of the reason for absence. Theemployer has asked me to discuss the symptoms with the employee and offeradvice in regard to the management of their ‘illness’ and to record theemployee’s cause of absence. “I am anxious to be seen as assisting employees, though ama little concerned that this may be perceived by the employee as a ‘policing’role by the OH service. I would welcome any comments from fellow colleagues.”Winning answer In my experience as an occupational health adviser, the dilemma presented isvery common. Managers do not want to take responsibility for the management ofattendance, and attempt to shift the responsibility on to the occupationalhealth service. It is widely acknowledged that the most effective way for an employer tokeep sickness absence levels to a minimum is by adopting a proactive approachto the issue. To do so, it is important that employers ensure that the stepsthey take respect their employees’ employment rights. If attendance at work is to be managed accurately and effectively it isimportant that there is a consistency in approach. A policy should be developedand effective data collection and analysis carried out. It is the responsibility of management to monitor sickness and where levelscause concern they should be investigated promptly and discussed sensitivelywith the employee, seeking explanation for such absences. This will assistmanagers in determining whether they are dealing with a matter of ill-health,incapability or misconduct. Employers will therefore require training in the management of attendanceand it is here that occupational health departments can assist. They canprovide training so that managers develop the skills and knowledge required todeal effectively with the management of attendance. Training for managers would typically have the following aims: – To describe their role and responsibilities within the management ofattendances well as the interface with other members of the multidisciplinaryteam – To recognise the need to effectively manage attendance and state theimportance of maintaining accurate records. – To investigate and record accurately incidents of injury and dangerousoccurrences at work – To identify the support services available to assist their staff – To conduct a productive return-to-work interview – To develop effective communication and interpersonal skills, so assensitively to address attendance issues with the employee Monitoring attendance and evaluating reasons for absence is an importantmeans of contributing to the business. It is not the function of occupationalhealth nurses to manage attendance but they can be expected to evaluate thereasons, to identify trends and to consider hazards and risks, which may nothave been identified or adequately controlled. The occupational health team should therefore work with management teams toraise the level of awareness on attendance management and give professional advice.Occupational health personnel can make a significant contribution by assistingemployers to demonstrate that they have acted responsibly and have undertakenall that is reasonably practicable in terms of promoting the health, safety andwelfare of their staff. Most employees are absent due to sickness at some time in their workinglives. Clear information should be given to managers identifying that it istheir responsibility, as part of their normal day-to-day work, to review suchabsence. Managers should also monitor attendance records to see whether apattern develops or if absence becomes more frequent and problematic forservice delivery. Although it is important to consider the particular circumstances of eachcase, setting trigger levels for absence can be useful when deciding whether ornot to take formal action, particularly in the management of short-termcertificated and uncertificated absence. These procedures should becommunicated to each employee and incorporated into individual contracts ofemployment. Personnel, line managers and trade unions all have their own interpretationof what occupational health advice should be. This raises all manner ofprofessional, ethical and legal problems for OH nurses, who are bound by thevery nature of their work to maintain confidentiality and who strongly believethat they should be impartial and objective. It is therefore essential that allorganisations employing occupational health services have an agreed policy forreferring employees for health assessment. They need to be aware of and haverespect for the issues of medical confidentiality and the code of professionalconduct that the occupational health team works within. Although there is no legal requirement to have formal attendance managementpolicies, it may help an employer in demonstrating to a tribunal that it hasacted reasonably. In the absence of such policies there is a danger ofinconsistencies in the management of similar cases. The policy can givemanagers, employees and the occupational staff firm guidelines to work within. To summarise, the role of the occupational health department is purelyadvisory, both to employer and employee and is in no way enforcing ordisciplinary. Its main objective is to ascertain whether or not an employee hasa health problem which is affecting his/her work. It advises employersaccordingly so as to enable them to manage the attendance and performance ofemployees. It is also the role of the occupational health nurse to provide healthadvice and support to the employee, and in some cases this may be the onlysource of support available. It is therefore crucial that the nurse ensuresthat she is seen to be independent of the management structure, so that allparties accept that the advice given is impartial and credible. Goodcommunication and negotiating skills are vital for the occupational healthnurse to be able to remain professional and impartial in absence-relatedissues, which are often difficult cases and represent considerable importance tothe respective interested parties. Valmai Hughes, BSc (Hons), Dip OHN, RGN, MIOSH Occupational Health Adviser, Interact Health Management Information exchange Do you need information or guidanceon a particular topic? Perhaps you want to research a new area and don’t knowwhere to start. Other readers may be able to help. Information Exchange is anew column where readers can contact fellow professionals to ask for advice,share best practice or set up an informal network. To have your detailsincluded in the column e-mail [email protected] fax them to: 0208 769 7892. We work as OHAs for a large publicsector employer. We are a team of three OHAs, three secretarial/admin workersand a counsellor. We would like to introduce performance indicators and would beinterested in learning how others have done this. In particular, the indicatorsused and how they are measured. You can contact us by e-mail at [email protected] Brooks, Rita Fogerty and Kath Griffiths As part of my BSc (Hons) Managinghealth care delivery degree pathway I am exploring clinical supervision as atool for support and development. I would like to hear from any readers withexperiences to share, in particular the current models already in use by OHNs. Linda Lambton Dupont [email protected]: 01642 445555 Nursing or policing?On 1 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Consignia’s deal with CWU safeguards Christmas post

first_imgConsignia’s deal with CWU safeguards Christmas postOn 16 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Consignia has signed a three-month no-strike deal with the CommunicationWorkers’ Union in an effort to ensure that this year’s Christmas post escapesindustrial action. Under the agreement, which expires on 12 January, the Royal Mail, which isowned by Consignia, will not implement any changes in working practices atlocal level. The deal is geared towards achieving the lengthy strike-free period that wasone of the recommendations in Lord Sawyer’s report on industrial relationsbetween the Royal Mail and the CWU, published in July. Mick Linsell, managing director of the Royal Mail, believes the agreement isa step towards ensuring better working relations. John Keggie, deputy general secretary of the CWU, added, “Members wantto play a full role in creating a long-lasting period of industrialstability.” Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Open boardroom eyes to overlooked talent

first_img Comments are closed. Open boardroom eyes to overlooked talentOn 27 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article The Government’s equal pay commission has propelled women’s financialinequality up the workplace agenda. But pay gaps don’t just exist between menand women. The magic circle excludes people because of their disabilities,their race and their sexual preferences. Like women, many ethnic communities face two kinds of discrimination in theUK labour market – less access to higher status occupations and lower pay for agiven job. People with disabilities experience above average levels ofjoblessness and when employed their jobs are more likely to be low status. Martin Luther King’s belief that “education is more than ever thepassport to decent economic positions” has been enthusiasticallyrecognised by many of the groups that employers appear to value less. Stayingon in full-time education after compulsory schooling is more common amongethnic community groups than white young people, with ethnic minority studentsmaking up 13 per cent of undergraduate students. But despite fretting over productivity gaps and skills shortages, employersare slow in making use of these educational advantages. Why? Largely because ofinertia and a reluctance to think creatively, which in turn reflects a lazyacceptance of workplace norms. It is not the ability, talent, creativity anddetermination that these marginalised groups clearly possess that employerswant, it is workers who will fit into a prevailing culture where the accent ison conformity and where the implications of diversity seem too challenging. Women often survive in the workplace by seeking out female-dominatedindustries or by modelling themselves on male language and conduct. Many gaypeople hide their sexual preferences, their behaviour reflecting anorganisational culture which explicitly disapproves of their choices. And toofew working environments make provision for the 5.2 million disabled adults inBritain. Nothing illustrates this more than the higher reaches of organisationalhierarchy, where decisions are taken and cultures created. Overwhelmingly whiteand male, boardrooms perpetuate their same old character. To change requirestaking a risk, which is a step too far. It’s a situation that impoverishes all of us – the groups who aren’t allowedto feast at the table, the organisational cultures that overlook talentedpeople and the society that sees but tolerates repeated injustice. The Industrial Society argues that businesses that want to compete in themodern world can’t afford to ignore the skills, talents and perspectives ofthese significant minorities. By Will Hutton, Chief Executive, The Industrial Society Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Man’s work never done… by women

first_imgA female City analyst has been awarded £1.4m in compensation in thehighest-ever payout for sex discrimination. Julie Bower, 35, won the case against Schroder Securities last year. She wasdenied six-figure bonuses for being a woman. Bower was given a ‘lousy’ £25,000 annual bonus while two male colleaguesreceived £650,000 and £440,000. She left her £120,000-a-year job at Schroder Securities, claiming malemanagers were trying to wreck her career. The firm appealed, but last month dropped its challenge opening the way forthe huge payout. The case has prompted the Government to commission a report by its adviseron equal pay, Denise Kingsmill. In a separate case £4-an-hour cleaner Dawn Ruff won £2540 after discoveringshe earned 60p an hour less than male cleaners. A tribunal heard that Hannant Cleaning Services initially told Ruff a womanwould never earn £4.60 and then later that the difference in pay was becauseshe was not trained to use machinery the male cleaners used. A large part of the compensation (£2,000) was awarded for victimisationafter she made the initial complaint. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Man’s work never done… by womenOn 1 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Pensions Bill is HR highlight of Queen’s Speech

first_imgThe Government is ready to introduce a new Pensions Bill to protect therights of employees in company schemes. The Bill, which was announced as part of the Queen’s speech, is designed toact as a safety net for members of final salary schemes. It will mean greater protection for staff of insolvent firms, and establisha pensions regulator. Deborah Cooper, a senior research actuary at consultants Mercer, said theBill should be launched as soon as possible, but warned that it may not provideall the answers to the UK’s creaking pensions system. “The pension protection fund will help to restore faith in pensions,but the level of protection may have been oversold – although this might onlyemerge in the long term,” she explained. The speech also outlined plans to offer same-sex couples the same pension,legal rights and benefits currently enjoyed by married people. The Civil Partnership Bill will also enable gay couples to register forjoint state pensions and other national rights from 2010. Another draft bill will firm up the rights of disabled staff and students. One of the most contentious aspects of the speech was the Governmentdecision to abolish up-front fees for university students, and introducevariable charges. However, the Government programme failed to announce the expected corporatekilling laws or rules forcing public bodies to promote sex equality. Pensions Bill is HR highlight of Queen’s SpeechOn 2 Dec 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

HR must focus on the ‘what’, not the ‘how’

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article How many HR professionals are truly focused on service? Typically, many ofus talk of being customer focused – we attempt to shift the emphasis inoperations away from processes, to what the customer wants. But true customerservice is only fully in place when our attention is structured according towhat customers are saying they want and need. The irony is that this is not an exclusive problem to HR. Many organisationsin so-called service industries find it hard to make that change. Be they banksor booksellers, every aspect of operations from the supply chain to corporateculture is deeply rooted in a process mentality, not service. Manufacturing isthe exception. Manufacturers have always been focused on outputs. So, if screwscoming out of machines on the factory floor fail real-time quality checks, themanufacturing process is stopped there and then. Today, it is even the casethat a car does not come off the assembly line unless there is a customer tobuy it. It is for this reason that management methodologies of various sorts,from benchmarking to total quality management, originate in manufacturing bestpractice. How, though, can service disciplines in manufacturing be translated to aback-office function as different from making screws as HR? The key is tointroduce autonomy into service monitoring. On the shopfloor, the qualitymanager has the power to stop production over the operations managers. In themanufacturing context, this sets up a natural tension that works to maintainand drive up quality. So, if a system can be set up whereby service control inthe HR department operates independently of HR per se, then we have taken afirst step in the right direction. Like the quality manager, that HR servicemanagement has no responsibility for actual delivery, but it has everyresponsibility for what the customer wants. Further, it also has the responsibility of informing HR what customers wantand must be involved in the mechanisms for describing and implementing theprocesses that are going to provide it. This is an important point, becauselike the exact metrics by which the quality manager judges outputs, serviceoutputs too cannot just be allowed to evolve but must be determined up front.At Xchanging, we call this service definition. It is a mechanism for breakingdown any particular service so that it can be gauged as precisely as thequality of a screw or the performance of a car. Each customer of an HR service– be it for recruitment, remuneration or absence due to illness – has a similarservice definition. These can then be integrated together so that all HRservices function according to output. Our customers understand what they want;we worry about how to deliver it. By Alan Bailey. Head of business process outsourcing Xchanging Comments are closed. HR must focus on the ‘what’, not the ‘how’On 10 Feb 2004 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Employee absence is on the increase

first_img Previous Article Next Article Employee absence is on the increaseOn 25 May 2004 in Personnel Today Workplace absence rates have increased for the first time in five years,causing companies to lose an extra 10 million working days a year. An annual survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) andinsurance company Axa found that employers believe 25 million days were lostlast year through staff taking ‘sickies’. That accounts for 15 per cent of allabsence, at a cost of £1.75bn. Staff absence cost businesses £11.6bn last year in salary costs of absentworkers, the resulting overtime and temporary cover. More than three-quarters of the 500 companies polled reported a pattern ofincreased employee absence on Fridays or Mondays. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Symptom of insecurity – on sickness absence

first_imgEmployersare reacting in a hysterical way to the problem of sickness absence. TheCBI’s recent survey of more than 500 organisations suggesting that sicknessabsence has risen by 6 per cent to 7.2 days uses dubious, impressionisticresearch to make hugely over-stated claims about the depth of the problem.Meanwhile, Tesco’s much lauded new policy of withholding sick pay for the firstthree days is setting employment protection back by decades. And, if it is truethat 15 per cent of sick leave is not genuine as is claimed, then Tesco isimpoverishing the 85 per cent of its staff whose sickness is genuine.Thehysteria about sick leave is not put into context. It fails to take intoaccount the fact that many employers, such as accountants, still have their workwaiting for them when they return, meaning that productivity is not affected byshort term sick leave. The statistics on lost productivity do not take intoaccount the fact that many people go to work when they sick. And, mostimportantly, the real issue for employers is long term sick leave, not the oddsickie.ManagementToday, July 2004By Richard Reeves Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Symptom of insecurity – on sickness absenceOn 2 Jul 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more