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  • HR Heartbeat: Wages are on the rise but is the sun setting on apprenticeships?

HR Heartbeat: Wages are on the rise but is the sun setting on apprenticeships?

Get insights on how to stay competitive during wage rises, new guidance on how to monitor workers without breaching data protection laws and…

First published on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2023

Last updated on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2023

3 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business, plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.

Wages overtake inflation for the first time in 2-years!

Recent data from the BBC shows wages rose at an annual rate of 7.8% between June and August this year.

People employed in finance and business services saw the largest rise in annual pay. The manufacturing sector was the 3rd highest.

While this is a positive change for these industries some gaps between the private and public sectors remain. And the average wage for construction workers was the lowest at 5.7%.

BrightHR’s salary calculator can help you stay competitive in the hiring market. Find out the market salary rate for any role you’re hiring for. And stand out by knowing every salary band from low to high—so you only need to offer the most competitive rate.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2023! Employers should think about how best to support employees who receive a diagnosis as well as those with a loved one who is diagnosed.

Given that treatments may require frequent medical appointments, offering staff flexible working arrangements could be an easy yet beneficial way to help.

For more advice, ask BrightLightning: How can I support an employee who has cancer?

Apprenticeship uptake on the decline

According to the government, apprenticeship starts were down by 4.6% this year.

The introduction of the apprenticeship levy in 2017 aimed to promote apprenticeships as a pathway into employment. But these new figures suggest barriers like high-grade entry requirements and low wages could be getting in the way of the success of the initiative.

Because of the long-term decline in 16 to 19-year-old apprenticeship starts, there have been calls for a government review in this area—so stay tuned!

ICO guidance on monitoring workers

New guidance has come to light for employers on monitoring workers…

The key takeaways are:

  • A Data Protection Impact Assessment needs to be carried out before certain types of monitoring, and workers should be kept informed.
  • Any personal data captured will be subject to the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR guidelines.
  • Practices must be followed carefully if you’re considering covert monitoring and using biometric data, such as fingerprints, for workers to access parts of the workplace.

And, as the study found 70% of the public would find it intrusive to be monitored by an employer, it’s important you approach the issue sensitively by getting the right advice beforehand to avoid causing any tension with your staff.

And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!

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