Employment Law – Dealing With Employee Absence

It is your duty as an employer to keep a close eye on your employee’s absences from work. This is for two main reasons; firstly, to ensure that your business does not suffer due to staff absence and secondly, to ensure that your staff are well, healthy and happy.

Every company should keep a record of employee absence. Keeping this record will help you identify any emerging patterns of absence or alert you to a member of staff suffering from a long-term illness. Each department within your business should keep its own records, you are then able to compare company absence from sector to sector. Employee absences records should always be managed in light of the Date Protection Act (1998). Any records of employee absence should then be destroyed after 3 years (of the financial in which it was made) and if you are monitoring any statistics then employees should be made aware.

If a pattern of absence appears which is inter-departmental, i.e. one department has a considerably higher level of absence, then you should take the appropriate steps into looking at that departments working environment. Not only this but you should look to your senior members of staff to report on issues within the department, which could be causing the higher levels of absence.

Another good procedure to implement is the ‘return to work interview’. This face-to-face meeting should be done in private with the relevant line manager for that employee. The interview has several purposes; it details why the employee was off work, if they are suffering from something which may cause further absence and most importantly if they are well enough to come back to work. It can also provide the employee with a private outlet to complain about their working environment and/or fellow staff members, which incidentally could be causing their absence.

If you do not deal with employee absence at an early stage you run the risk of the following occurring:

– Low staff esteem due to increased workloads in covering the absent colleague

– Agency staff bills being extraordinarily high

– The company failing to reach targets or provide a good service due to a lack of consistent staffing

In order to deal with an emerging absence pattern there are some steps you can take to ensure that you investigate the problem scrupulously. Firstly, you should compare the employee’s absence over your last 3 years of records to establish any recurring pattern. Secondly, compare the employee’s absence record to that of the other employee’s within the same department, this may identify a work related issue. Lastly, check that the employee does not have an illness which fits the criteria of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The area of disability discrimination is particular complex — don’t risk being grounds for a potentially highly expensive disability discrimination claim — take advice from expert employment solicitors first.

For the first few absences the employee needs to be dealt with amicably. Discuss with the employee the reasons why they have had continued absences or absences which form a pattern. Solutions such as flexible working arrangements, changing work location or job description can offer lower cost results for you and the employee.

If no solution can be found or the problem is merely unauthorised absence, then you have the option of disciplining the employee under capability and/or conduct. An approved disciplinary handling procedure should be used at this time.

If you are in any doubt as to the reason for the employee’s absence or the grounds upon which you are starting the disciplinary procedures, then you should seek legal advice immediately from specialist employment solicitors. A dismissal based upon an employee’s absence has to be legal and if it is not you could face claims of an unfair dismissal via the Employment Tribunal.

Perhaps the very simplest step is to make sure that you have clear policies on employee absence. If you don’t and you are not sure where to begin, contact specialist Employment Solicitors who should be able to provide you with appropriate policies dealing with employee absence at a relatively modest cost.

After 1 Year, Obama Vs. Reagan

As we approach the end of the year, we are also approaching the end of President Obamas first year in office. You might be wondering how he is doing, based on actual numbers (rather than political spin).

Obama clearly inherited a difficult situation economically. Only two others in the modern era came even remotely close. One, of course, was FDR, but unfortunately the data from then is rather sparse, and mostly available on just an annual basis, or at best quarterly (good economic data was one of the by-products of the New Deal).

The other who inherited a difficult economic situation was President Reagan. Granted, the type of difficulty was very different under Reagan, and presidents — like quarterbacks — get too much of both the praise for a good economy and the blame for a bad economy.

Still, I think comparing the numbers for the two during their first “year in office could be instructive. The data I used for the comparison are all available monthly (at least, and if more frequently, I used the monthly data). The source of all data is the St. Louis Fed (except for the S&P 500).

The two presidents offered very different prescriptions for the economy. Reagan was all about cutting taxes and less government involvement in the economy. While most of the really big moves of government into the economy in response to the recent economic crisis actually took place under President George W. Bush, Candidate Obama saw them as needed. The Bush Administration was the one that bought the stakes in American International Group (AIG – Snapshot Report), Fannie Mae (FNM – Snapshot Report), Freddie Mac (FRE – Analyst Report) and the banks, while Obamas support for a prepackaged bankruptcy resulted in large government stakes in the Auto industry.

There were no comparable big investments by the government into the private sector late in the Carter Administration, and certainly Reagan did not initiate any. Reagan did not have to deal with a financial meltdown when he took office, but on the other hand, Obama did not have to deal with runaway inflation. Both are serious diseases, but think of it this way: both cancer and heart disease can kill you, but you would not want to give chemotherapy drugs to a heart attack patient. Thus, perhaps it is appropriate that the prescriptions be different.

If one only looks at the unemployment rate (U-3), both did a poor job in their first year, and Obama was significantly worse. The unemployment rate in January 2009 was 7.6% and by November it had climbed to 10.0%. In January 1981, when Reagan took office, the unemployment rate was almost identical at 7.5%, and by November of 1981 it had climbed to only 8.3%.

Private employment actually rose during the first 11 months of 1981 by 0.55%, from 74.671 million to 75.084 million. Under Obamas tenure so far, private payrolls have dropped by 2.95% to 108.495 million from 111.793 million.

So on the employment front, Reagan is the clear winner so far. However, over the course of 1982 and 1983 the employment situation deteriorated significantly. We do not know what unemployment will do in 2010 and 2011, and thus can only judge based on what we have seen so far and in the comparable period under Reagan.

Advantage: Reagan

Reagan also wins when it comes to real disposable personal income, which expanded by 2.3% in the first 11 months Reagan was in office, while it has only increased by 1.0% so far under Obama.

Advantage: Reagan

The dollar was also much stronger during the first 11 months of Reagan, although I am not sure if that is a positive or a negative. During the first 11 months of Reagan, the dollar relative to an index of major currencies gained 9.88%, while under Obama, the dollar has lost 9.70% relative to the same index.

Given that we are running chronic trade deficits now, but really were not back then, I would argue that today a weak dollar is good for the economy today since it will help out on the net export side of things. Inflation is not a big problem today, but was the number one problem with the economy when Reagan took office. The downside of a weak dollar is that it contributes to inflation, so back then having the dollar strengthening was a good thing.

No Advantage to Either

On the inflation front, however, things are far better under Obama. On a headline basis, prices have gone up by 2.39% so far under Obama, while they rose 7.57% during the first 11 months that Reagan was in office. On a core basis (ex-food and energy) the difference is even more stark, rising 8.31% under Reagan and up just 1.51% under Obama so far. Later in the Reagan Administration, inflation fell much more, but even when he left office in 1989 inflation was far higher than it is today.

Advantage: Obama

Industrial production fell slightly more during the first 11 months of Reagan (1.07%) than it has under the first 11 months of Obama (0.68%). Capacity Utilization started out at a much lower level when Obama took the oath than the Reagan did, at 71.1% (an all-time record low at the time) vs. 80.7% when Reagan took office. However, by November of 1981, the total capacity utilization rate had fallen to 77.9%. Under Obama, capacity utilization has actually risen to 71.3%, although it remains at a historically low level.

Advantage: Obama

Interest rates can tell a lot about the state of the economy. For example, the spread between the rate that gilt-edged companies have to pay on their bonds and what normal companies have to pay on their bonds tells a lot about how much bond investors fear companies going belly up. The former is measured by the Moodys (MCO – Analyst Report) Aaa rate and the later by the Baa rate (not to be confused with “junk bond” rates; Baa is still investment grade).

In January of 1981, the best credits in America had to pay 12.81% on their bonds, while normal companies had to pay 15.03%, for a spread of 2.22% (or as a ratio, normal companies had to pay 17.3% more than the gilt-edged ones). By November of 1981, both the best and the ordinary had to pay more — the Aaa rate had surged to 14.22% while the Baa rate had risen to 16.39%, so the spread had fallen ever-so-slightly to 2.17. The ratio had come down a bit more, and the ordinary firms were paying 15.3% more than the best firms.

When Obama took office, the Baa rate was 8.14% while the Aaa rate was 5.05%, for a spread of 3.09. In other words, ordinary firms had to pay 61.2% more for money than the best firms did. Investors were very afraid that companies would go bankrupt, and so demanded a higher rate from normal companies than from firms that seemed to have very little risk of writing a new chapter (the eleventh) in their corporate histories.

Since then, the rate the highest-rated firms have to pay has actually increased slightly to 5.19% while the rate that normal firms have to pay has plunged to 6.32%, bringing the spread down to 1.13% and the ratio down to the point where normal companies are paying 21.8% more for their money than the Aaa firms.

(Given the huge difference in the overall level of interest rates between the two eras, it is important to look at both the spreads and the ratios. Clearly a spread of 2% has a very different meaning and significance if it is between 1% and 3% than if it is between 13% and 15%).

Advantage: Obama

Another important signal that comes from interest rates is the yield curve, or the difference between long-term and short-term interest rates. The curve is measured using Treasury notes or bills, since you only want to be looking at the differences due to maturity, not due to quality (the opposite of the Aaa-Baa spread, which is only looking at quality differences, not maturity differences).

While there are many different measures of the curve, the one that is used the most is the difference between the 2-year note and the 10-year note. Generally speaking, the steeper the yield curve, the better. An inverted yield curve is very bad news, and is probably the best single indicator that the economy is about to go into a recession.

When Reagan entered office, the 10-2 curve was inverted, with the yield on a 2-year note at 13.26% and the yield on the 10-year at 12.57%, for a spread of -0.69. On a ratio basis, the 10-year was providing only 0.95 of the 2-year. By the time November of 1981 rolled around, the curve had returned to normal but was still pretty flat. The yield on the 2-year had fallen to 12.88%, while the yield on the 10-year had increased to 13.39, resulting in a positive curve of 0.51. On a ratio basis, the 10-year was 1.08 of the 2-year.

When Obama entered office, the 2-year was at a very low 0.81% while the 10-year was 2.52%, for a positive spread of 1.71%. On a ratio basis, the 10-year was yielding over three times as much as the 2-year (3.11x to be exact). By the end of November, the curve had expanded even further, with the 2-year virtually unchanged at 0.80%, while the yield on the 10-year had risen to 3.40%, for a spread of 2.60% and a ratio of 4.25x. Again, given the vastly different overall levels of rates, it is important to consider both the spreads and the ratios when making the comparisons.

Advantage: Obama

Mortgage rates were both far higher and moving in the wrong direction early in the Reagan presidency. When he took office they were at 14.90%, and by November they had risen to 17.83%. When Obama took office, the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.06% and has since fallen to 4.88%.

Not surprisingly, then, the housing market was far worse under Reagan than it has been under Obama (at least if measured by direction, not levels). In January of 1981, housing starts were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.547 million, and by November of that year they had plunged to 837,000, a decline of 45.9%. Since January of 2009, housing starts have risen from an annualized rate of 488,000 to a rate of 574,000 in November, an increase of 17.6%.

Advantage: Obama

Similarly, single family new home sales plunged by 25.2% early in the Reagan years to a rate of 382,000. Since Obama came into office, new single family home sales have risen by 22.2% to an annualized rate of 402,000. Existing home sales are not particularly important to the economy (just like used car sales are not very important).

Auto sales also fared worse under the early part of the Reagan Administration than they have so far under Obama (at least as measured point-to-point). When Reagan took office, auto and light truck sales were running at an annualized rate of 11.03 million and had fallen to 9.21 million, a decline of 16.5%. Under Obama, auto and light truck sales have risen from an annualized rate of 9.59 million in January to a rate of 10.89 million in November, an increase of 13.6%.

Advantage: Obama

Finally, while people sometimes make too much of the day-to-day fluctuations in the stock market, it is a good reflection of the overall health of the economy when you look at longer time periods — and almost a year is long enough to qualify there. On that metric, there is simply no contest. Between inauguration day and Christmas Eve in 1981, the S&P 500 lost 7.65%. Since Obama took office, the S&P 500 has gained 39.9%.

Advantage: Obama

Weighing these different economic indicators is inherently subjective, and thus I am not sure that one can come to a clear-cut case that one has done a better job than the other — at least so far. This is also far from a complete list of economic indicators and I focused on only those that were available at least monthly, and many of the most important economic numbers come out quarterly.

Arguably, the economic mess that Obama inherited was worse than the one that Reagan inherited, although both were pretty nasty — yet very different. The U.S. economy is more of an oil tanker than a speedboat, and does not turn around on a dime, so it really is too early to tell how Obama is doing.

However, the indicators that are most forward-looking and leading for the economy (stock market, yield curve and quality spreads, housing starts) are the ones that favor Obama over Reagan. Overall, 11 months in, one must conclude that Obama is doing at least as good a job on the economy as Reagan did in his first 11 months.

Citation Employment Law Over 300,000 Working Days Lost Due to Disputes Last Year

Disputes with your workforce are both time consuming and costly, not to mention potentially damaging to your business, reputation and productivity.

Having procedures in place to deal with conflicts which may arise with employees will help minimise any cost and potential damage to your business. Conflicts should be addressed and resolved as quickly and amicably as possible.

New figures reveal the number of working days lost through industrial disputes in the UK has rocketed in recent months.

According to the Office for National Statistics, around 374,000 working days were lost during the 12 months leading up to October 2009, with 90 separate stoppages occurring mainly in the public sector.

-Employment disputes and conflicts have a huge impact on small to medium sized businesses, not only financial but they are increasingly more damaging to staff morale and productivity. Creating a culture with open dialogue and issuing employee handbooks and contracts of employment are all steps Citation advise its clients take to create a happy workforce and limit the potential for disputes,- says Andrea O’Hare, Head of Personnel and Employment Law at Citation.

In recent months all organisations have been directly affected by the postal workers’ strikes. These account for the majority of the days lost in 2009, although there were also disputes involving council and transport workers that led to industrial action last year. It is estimated that around 200,000 workers took industrial action during the 12-month period, including 177,000 in October alone at the height of the postal dispute.

Citation can help you limit the soaring solicitor’s fees you are faced with when dealing with an employee dispute. Citation gives you the confidence your business needs to limit any associated damage and follow the correct procedures.

For further information on how we can help contact our Personnel and Employment specialists on 01625 415 500 or e-mail .

——————- Hit Search Contact
Press release produced and promoted by Hit Search. Find out more about us and our services at http://www.hitsearchlimited.com. Tel: 0845 643 9289

——————– Unique reference
HSLP0101AA130

What It’s Really Like To Work On A Cruise Ship

There are many benefits to working onboard a ship. They include visiting numerous ports of call and learning about the history and customs of our worlds many different cultures. As a crew member, you will sample different foods, experience a simpler way of life and meet a myriad of interesting people. You will achieve independence and gain an adventurous spirit because your eyes will be opened to so many new opportunities and possibilities. Your fellow crew members will become like family to you and youll gain friendships with people from all corners of the world. Even though the pay will vary for each position, you will always have free room, food and medical coverage so it is very possible to save money. If your schedule allows, youll be able to take free or reduced-rate shore excursions while in port. If your family enjoys cruising, they might even be able to take a discounted cruise within the same line.

However, there is a possibility that at some point during your time aboard you may feel like jumping ship. This is a term used by sailors to describe a deliberate move to break your employment contract. By requesting to leave before your contract is completed or by purposely remaining ashore while the ship sails is asking to forever end your employment with that cruise line. If you ever decide to quit, please realize that this decision could very well mean a permanent end to your cruising life. For that reason, it is important to realize that while ship life can be fun, it certainly isnt glamorous and should never be taken lightly. Strict maritime laws make for a military-type atmosphere that must be respected at all times. On the ship there is no such thing as a forty-hour work week. You will work seven days a week for months at a time. This is not a job for those that are prone to seasickness because youll see many types of weather conditions and it will not be possible to call in sick. If youre claustrophobic you may want to know that your cabin will likely be small and without a porthole. If youre someone who needs a lot of privacy you should realize that youll likely share a cabin, bathroom and sometimes even a dresser or closet with one or more cabin-mates.

Even with the lack of privacy, chance of seasickness and strict ship rules, life at sea can be a lot of fun. However, you must keep in mind that not everyone is working onboard for the same reasons. You might be there for the excitement and adventure while your co-worker is there to support a family back home that he or she hasnt seen for 8 months. Big difference, isnt it?

You may have heard stories of poor working and living conditions for some shipboard crew, but unfortunately, the fact remains that Canadians working onboard are given higher paying jobs, shorter contracts and better accommodations than crew from non-industrialized countries. I certainly dont want to thwart your anticipation of working onboard, but I believe it is important to know the real story. There is a form of racism that is seemingly acceptable onboard a ship. Why is it that while Canadians, Europeans and Americans have preferable accommodations, wages and working conditions, crew from non-industrialized countries are treated otherwise.

The International Trade Workers Federation is a seafarers guardian angel. They are an organization committed to changing these injustices and are commended for it. They believe in a cruise industry regulated by negotiated trade union agreements based on a respect for human rights and a fair wage.

You may wonder why the citizens of these non-industrialized countries work under such poor conditions. Most of them save every penny to send home, enabling their families to live fairly well by local standards. Others save their money in the hopes of starting a business one day. I think that these crew members are to be admired for their determination and perseverance.

In conclusion, I hope that you werent discouraged by the realities of cruise ship living. I believe that while unjust circumstances remain for some, the chance to see the world while living among so many nationalities is a rare opportunity and I urge you to apply because you have the chance to embark on an amazing learning experience and an exhilarating adventure!

Kistareddypet, Patelgudem And Ayilapur To Appreciate

Ras Al Khaima Authority (RAKIA), and APIIC signed a memorandum of understanding in September last for the development of HEC with a proposed investment of Rs 20,000 crore. This is the largest real estate and infrastructure project coming up in Andhra Pradesh and is expected to provide quality employment to thousands of people. RAKIA is a world renowned and much respected investment body that is cash rich. Executing a project of this magnitude is well within their capability.. The Andhra Pradesh government recently allotted 471 acres of land at Sultanpur village of Medak district for the first phase of Hyderabad Economic city which is being jointly developed by APIIC and RAKIA. Residential areas adjacent to Sultanpur such as Ayilapur, Kistareddypet and patelgudem will be the most sought after destinations and are likely to appreciate in value considerably.

RAKIA is the investment arm of the UAE government which had asked for a total of 2000 acres for the project. The balance land would be allotted in due course according to an APIIC official. It is the government body responsible for the socioeconomic growth of the emirate. The MoU was signed by Wahid Attalla, Member of the Board, Rakeen, the real estate development arm of Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), and APIIC Chairman and Managing Director B P Acharya, in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. RAKIA is also developing several other townships across the country through RAKINDO, RAKIA’s joint venture company in India. Over 3,000 acres of land has been earmarked for various projects in Coimbatore, Chennai, Kumarakom, Hosur and Cochin, each with a projected cost of $2bn.

Sultanpur is situated at a distance of 16 to 18 Km from important hubs such as hi-tech city area, Microsoft campus, financial district etc. With this proposed project in Sultanpur, Medak district will witness a significant change in terms of infrastructure and employment facilities. Sultanpur is located abutting the outer ring road and is presently accessible from the Mumbai highway via the Beeramguda crossing which is two Km after BHEL. A three and half Km drive would bring you to Kistareddypet village. The limits of Sultanpur commence barely half a Km to the right of Kistareddy pet which has already been witnessing real estate development in the form of gated communities, residential layouts and apartment complexes.

Hyderabad would be an integrated financial hub with infrastructure facilities for financial services operations for banking, insurance and asset management companies. The project would also have an integrated health city that would include facilities for clinical and non-clinical services, hospitals, and medical colleges, research services for clinical trials, drug delivery system, stem cell research and genetic research among other things, according to sources.

For Latest Property News in Hyderabad
Visit: http://www.propertydirect.in/newsEvts.faces