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HR matters make up employers’ top ten burning issues

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Employment law and the complexity of HR matters make up the top ten burning issues for employers, according to the manufacturers’ organisation EEF.

EEF offers employment advice and support to its membership of more than 6,000 manufacturing companies and for the first time it has analysed the calls to its helpline.

This nationwide analysis revealed more than 30 topics on which employers sought help and will be repeated every six months in its ‘Burning Issues’ report – the first covers the 24,000 calls received from January to June 2006.

The top ten issues were:


  • Disciplinary issues

  • Redundancy and reorganisation

  • Contracts of employment

  • Absence management

  • Termination of employment

  • Ill health

  • Grievances

  • Policies and procedures

  • Family/maternity issues

  • Equal opportunities/discrimination.


The top five issues accounted for nearly 60 per cent of all calls. But EEF reports that the proportion of enquiries regarding discrimination and policies and procedures increased significantly in the weeks before the new age discrimination regulations became law last month.

Disciplinary issues, including compliance with the statutory dispute resolution procedures, accounted for nearly 4,000 calls – more than 18 per cent of the total.

The EEF reports that although they represented nearly 15 per cent of calls, queries concerning redundancies and reorganisation have dropped from previous levels and its high place in the rankings probably reflects difficult manufacturing conditions in 2004 and 2005.

It’s thought that absence management queries have increased because companies are putting in place more proactive policies to manage absence and promote rehabilitation.

EEF director of legal and employment affairs Peter Schofield said: “Employing people is becoming more and more complex in this country. We are not surprised at the rise in calls for advice from companies wanting to avoid the numerous pitfalls.

“Over the next year we expect that calls will increase in response to a number of areas where there is new legislation – from family and maternity issues to age discrimination.”

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