Nothing wrong in asking for a pay rise


 

A recent survey by YouGov for the Sunday Times, found that British women are less likely to ask for either a pay rise or a promotion, than men.

I’m sorry, but this isn’t news to me and the findings don’t surprise me in the slightest.

Although women can manage the household budget and make most of the larger financial decisions at home, they are totally embarrassed about managing their own worth in the workplace.  One friend once confided that if she was worth a pay rise, then her boss would make sure she got one.  I wasn’t sure if she was scared of being told ‘No’ or not confident enough to ask.

Most men don’t seem to have the same reluctance, they also have more confidence to stand up for themselves and on average get paid more than  women doing the same job – (on a personal note, this has always seemed an appalling situation to me, employers should set a rate for the job irrespective of the gender of the person doing it.)

In these uncertain times, hanging on to a job, any job, it a top priority for men and women alike. Unfortunately, most of the low paid, part-time jobs are done by women and when cuts have to be made, this is where the axe usually falls.

I haven’t any solutions and perhaps it is just that women are more interested in the broader picture of life, than the narrow view provided by work; whatever the reason women do need to find more confidence in the workplace.

See the full YouGov survey results here

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Happy Monday? It is now


Two weeks ago we completed a move to new business premises, and what started out as an eagerly anticipated adventure, has turned into a stressful and very time-consuming experience.  I should have expected it. It is like moving home x 25!

Today is the first day that I can walk freely round my new office, all my boxes of files have now been archived and I can actually see the colour of the floor tiles. The staff love their new “home” and have settled in very quickly, while it seems to be taking me a lot longer to adjust. We were 19 years in our previous building, it’s the place where our business first began and although it was old and the walls were a bit uneven, I was quite sad when I closed my door for the last time.

I not usually like this and have been quite annoyed with myself for having a gloomy mood; then today I found this:

and suddenly it is a Happy Monday.

Enjoy your Monday wherever you are 🙂

Working mothers and maternity leave


According to a new report, one in three new mothers thinks that taking lengthy maternity leave has harmed her work prospects. Some think that, when they return to work the relationship they had previously with their boss has deteriorated.The research, carried out by the National Childbirth Trust found nearly four in ten mothers found things were very difficult when they returned to work after spending time off on maternity leave.

At present the amount of paid maternity leave in the UK is 39 weeks and Harriet Harman the Equality Minister is aiming to get this extended to a year. Now, whereas this may sound wonderful to some ears, to small businesses it can sound anything but.  If you own a small business, employing a few people and want to be competitive in your field, you will obviously only employ the number of staff you need for the work you have. Should one of your team become pregnant and eventually take her maternity leave, what options are open to you?

Can her workload be taken on by other members of staff?  Can you find a suitable temp who will fill in while the mother-to-be is off work? Can you add it to your already heavy workload?

If you can share her job between the other staff members, that’s great – but for how long? If she is going to be off for 39 weeks, what happens when your other staff want to take their holiday leave, or fall sick, what do you do then?  What about the temp?  If you are very lucky you may know someone who, after a minimal amount of training can do the job and things go swimmingly! Or you may have to resort to advertising for a replacement and, as we all know advertising is not cheap. If all else fails, you may go to a recruitment agency and ask them to supply a temporary worker to cover maternity leave.  Here you come up against another set of costs all together. Apart from the initial fee, you will be paying in all probability, a much higher rate for your temporary worker than you did for your soon-to-be-mum.

Now, don’t start shouting, I am all in favour of rights for working women; I would love to see every woman paid the same as a man doing the same job, but I also own a family business and have spent many years building it up and can see all too clearly the other side of the coin. While the mum-to-be is off her holiday entitlement still accrues; you have to pay maternity pay and also a salary to her replacement and, after a set time, you have to give them paid holiday leave too. After the paid 39 weeks, in the UK the new mum can opt to take extra unpaid leave of another13 weeks, meaning she could be off for a year.  In the meantime you have to cope as best you can, hoping that she will come back and eventually things will get back to normal.

But what if when she comes back, on her existing contract of employment, she announces that she can’t work full time.  She has problems with childcare arrangments, she has to work because she needs the money, but actually quite likes having an extended weekend with hubby and child, so, please can she work part time?  What do you do?  Under the present legislation, an employee with a child under 16,  has the right to ask for flexible working and, as an employer you have a duty to consider it. You don’t have to approve the request, but there is always the possibility perhaps, of being taken to an employment tribunal if you refuse.  If you have done everything correctly, the case would be dismissed, but there is always the time and worry involved in preparing and defending it. Then when that is over, you have to hope that perhaps the temp, if you managed to find one,will stay, if not you start all over again.

So Ms Harman, on behalf of all businesses, both small and large, I would urge you to think very carefully before adding extra weeks to maternity leave, for it appears that it is not just the business owners who aren’t particularly enamoured with your ideology, the new mums don’t seem too happy either

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1231901/Maternity-leave-wrecking-womens-hopes-promotion.html

A Tale of Two Bridges (with apologies to Charles Dickens)


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times………………”

Earlier in the year, it was announced that the toll on the Humber Bridge was going to be increased. The people of Grimsby and surrounding area, reacted to this news by starting a petition against the increase and getting it signed by 10,000 people!  In the face of this huge opposition, the Minister of Transport refused to increase the tolls.

 In October it was announced that the Government was giving a grant of £6m to the Humber Bridge Company, so that they can freeze the tolls until 2011, the grant will be used for necessary maintenance.  In announcing this, the Minister for Transport, Sadiq Khan, said that “the Government is committed to doing everything it can to protect communities and businesses from economic downturn and to help the country recover”

 The news of the grant was met with an angry response by transport and haulage companies on both side of the Severn Estuary. Many companies who operate across this Welsh-Anglo border, rack up tens of thousands of pounds each year in tolls just to cross the river and though the Government’s commitment to reducing costs is very welcome, it should be applied across the board. The Freight Transport Association responded to the Minister’s comments by issuing a press release calling for the same commitment to be given to Wales and the South-West.

 However, it is not just transport companies who are affected, although the tolls they pay are the highest in the UK. Paying the toll has a knock-on effect for every company who use the Severn crossings in the course of their business. It is seen as huge a disadvantage by many large companies when looking at this part of Wales as a possible business venue.

 Both bridges are owned and operated by Severn Crossing plc, but the ownership of the bridges should not be a reason to do nothing. There is a solution to every problem if you try hard enough to find it.

 The Government, in its’ wisdom, decided to add VAT to the tolls back in 2003. The tolls were not increased, so this slipped relatively easily under the radar and they just agreed with the company to extend their term of ownership.  This has meant that the bridges will not revert back to public ownership now until some time around 2016 and we just go on paying………….

So, although age has curbed my former redheaded temper, I just felt that I couldn’t sit on the sidelines on this one.  I feel that the people and businesses of Wales have enough on their plate at the moment; times are tough out there and we need all the help we can get!  After the initial rise in blood pressure, I decided that I too would start a petition, to ask the Government for help for the Welsh economy too. And, in this highly computerised world we now live in, I chose an e-Petition.

If you feel as strongly as I do about the inequality of this gesture by the Government, then please will you follow the link and sign the petition. I am told that if we get more than 500 signatures the Government has to respond.

 http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/helpWelsheconomy/

Thank you!