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News in brief July 2017

Jobs subject to high suicide risk

Following the recent high profile reporting on the issues of mental health, the Office of National Statistics commissioned by Public Health England (PHE), have revealed according to data between 2011 and 2015 suicides are less common among women than men. Women at high risk include those working in culture, media and sport (69% above the national average), primary school teachers (42% above average) and nurses (23% above average). Men in the construction industry faced a risk three times above the national average, while in the care sector, the risk of suicide for men and women was almost twice the national average. 

PHE, The Samaritans and Business in the Community have created a Suicide Prevention toolkit for employers in light of the findings. 

Zero hours workers right to request fixed hours switch

The Taylor review will recommend that zero hours workers be given a right to request to switch to fixed hours, according to reports last month. It is reported that, if the right is implemented, employers would be required to respond “seriously” to the request and provide reasons for the final decision. However, some unions have argued that the proposals do not go far enough. A right to request just as with flexible working regulations, does not mean that an employer necessarily has to say yes to that request.

Silver quota

Major companies including Barclays, Co-op and Boots are set to introduce a “silver quota” to increase the number of over 50s that they employ by 12% in the next five years. It comes as part of a government-led initiative, under which employers also agree to publish the number and percentage of over-50s in their workforce. The aspiration is to secure an extra one million roles for older UK workers by 2022. The scheme follows research undertaken by charity Business in the Community that suggests the UK is facing a jobs gap of 7.5 million unfilled roles by 2022. A total of eight companies have agreed to take part in the scheme.