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Joe Vallender

Sift Media

Production Manager

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Member wire #78 – HRZone competition: Christmas party clangers


HR Zone Members Newswire Issue 78
14 December 2004

1. HRZone competition: Christmas party clangers
2. Editor’s Comment: The folly of presenteeism
3. Focus On: HR Specialists – Sandra Beale
4. The Couch?! Gets stressed
5. Any Answers: regional weighting, staff retention, emp law

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Editor’s note
Policing the office Christmas party isn’t an easy job for HR.
We’re sure you’ve got some stories to share with us so in the
spirit of yuletide cheer we’re offering a bottle of champagne to
the most amusing office party tale.

Whether it was a ‘Bridget-Jones’ karaoke nightmare, a ten-to-two
romance with a colleague or telling your boss just what you
think of them – then share it with us.

The most outrageous story will win!

Enter here – remember if
you’re feeling shy you can use the anonymous function – Good


Annie Hayes

Is sickness absence a concern in your industry?
At HSA Personal Medical Plans we understand that the success of
your company relies on the talents of your staff. Therefore,
recruitment, retention and sickness absence issues are critical
areas of consideration for most businesses. For key absence and
retention information in your business sector please click on
the relevant newsletter below.

Welcome new members
This week, HR Zone welcomes members from the following
organisations, among others, to the site:

The Learning Connection; Esteem Systems; Call-Systems Technology
Ltd; Eurostar; Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust; Alliance
Trusts; CIPD; Bradford Metropolitan Council; Lear Corporation;
Charles Russell; Jones Lang LaSalle; Emap; Snowdrop Systems;
Rubicon Corporation; Pro Consulting; Sullivan consultancy;
Department of Work and Pensions; Environment Agency; DHL; Alpha
Retail; Radio Taxis Group Ltd; Education Department; Berwin
Retail Ltd; Optimum Executive Coaching Ltd; Newcastle City
Council; Electoral Office for NI; T-Mobile (UK)

Job Centre Plus – Recruit the right people
At Jobcentre Plus, we want to help you find the right person for
your job. We’ll work to get to know you so we can achieve the
best results – we already place over 20,000 people into work
every week. To see what we can do for your business visit

HRZone competition: Christmas party clangers
Share your most amusing office party story with us and you could
win a bottle of champagne.

Editor’s Comment: The folly of presenteeism
This week the rise of ‘presenteeism’ as a workplace issue is

Focus On: HR Specialists Sandra Beale, HR & Training Consultant
After more than seven years in the public sector, Sandra Beale
(MCIPD) decided she needed to be exposed to new challenges and
different cultures.

The Couch?! Gets stressed
Check out our list of stress characters – which type are you?

Mistletoe could lead to sexual harassment claims
Leave the mistletoe is amongst this year’s advice from the
Trades Union Congress who have compiled an office party guide.

Seasonal workers in high demand
Retailers fear that customer service levels and the ability to
restock shelves quickly will suffer this Christmas as a direct
result of staff shortages.

CV liars catch bosses out
More than nine in ten people have admitted to lying on their CV
in order to land a better job.

Board X factor revealed
An extensive study has unveiled the required ‘x factor’ that
makes a great board chair.

Pensions report: last chance for voluntarism
The Employer Task Force on Pensions has presented its report
into occupational pension schemes, and warned that Britain is
now in the “last chance saloon” of voluntary pensions

Any Answers answered: Regional weighting
Q – Is there a legal definition of regional weighting and is it
classed as a Genuine Occupational Reason in defence of an Equal
Pay claim?

Stephen Davies
A – There’s no definition of regional weighting as far as I
know. Businesses are free to set wage rates as they see fit,
subject to constraints such as the National Minimum Wage and the
various equality regulations.

The scenario you describe is not uncommon in business sectors
such as retailing, where most staff are recruited from the
locality of the workplace and local wage rates need to be taken
into account.

No equality rules are broken unless discrimination actually
takes place, for instance if men and women in your shop were
paid different rates. Provided everyone at your shop is on a
different rate to everyone in comparable jobs at the other shop,
that’s perfectly acceptable.

Neil Tonks

If you have a question – or can offer an answer – go to

Any Answers
Any Answers is the place to go to share your professional
experiences with others. A selection of new Any Answers
questions posted this week:

Sue Scott is looking for some pointers on how to boost staff
retention levels.

Peter Swanson wants to improve his recruitment processes – can
you offer any advice?

Employment law: can you point out the salient differences
between UK and Irish employment law?

Subscription Information
HR Zone publishes a range of regular newswires, including:
– HR Zone Members Newswire
– HR Briefing

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selecting the “My Services” link.
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Copyright (C) 2004 HR Zone. All rights reserved.
HR Zone, 100 Victoria Street, Bristol, BS1 6HZ
Tel:+44 117 915 9600 Fax:+44 117 915 9630

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Joe Vallender

Production Manager

Read more from Joe Vallender