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Round-up of the week

Posted on 3rd June 2016

Private sector growth continues

The UK's private sector continued to grow at a steady rate during May, new figures have indicated.

According to data from the CBI, the pace of growth in output was broadly similar to the level recorded in April.

As a result, private sector organisations are generally confident that further growth will be seen over the coming months.

However, the prevailing view is that upcoming growth will be relatively modest in the near future.

Rain Newton-Smith, director of economics at the CBI, commented: "While underlying conditions for the UK economy are looking pretty stable, the risks are clear as day with uncertainty still brewing over the global outlook, and the EU vote around the corner.

"Expectations for growth have slipped and are well below the levels of the last few years, with uncertainty swirling around the pace of output and the impact from risks on the horizon."

Employers 'must be flexible throughout Euro 2016'

Company bosses have been urged to let football-loving employees be flexible while Euro 2016 is underway.

The flagship sporting event gets underway in France on Friday 10th June and runs until Sunday 10th July. 

England and Wales have both qualified for the tournament, so plenty of workers across the UK will be eager to view the action. As a result, a large proportion could potentially be distracted during working hours and productivity levels could plummet.

Acas therefore believes that employers should prepare for any possible disruption, perhaps by allowing staff to work flexible hours. This could enable them to work around key fixtures so the action does not get in the way of people's work.

Another option suggested by Acas is allowing workers to swap shifts, as well as finish early and make up the time later and allow staff to take breaks when matches are underway.

However, it stressed that any changes in hours must be approved beforehand, with benefits applied fairly and consistently across all staff.

Sir Brendan Barber, chair of Acas, commented: "The Euro 2016 tournament is an exciting event for many football fans but staff should avoid getting a red card for unreasonable demands or behaviour in the workplace during this period.

"Many businesses need to maintain a certain staffing level in order to survive. Employers should have a set of simple workplace agreements in place before kick off to help ensure their businesses remain productive whilst keeping staff happy too."

1 in 4 employees 'working through lunch break'

The National Charity Partnership has warned that too many employees are not taking a proper break during the working day.

One in four people were found to work through their lunch break, while half said they spend their lunch hour at their desk on the internet.

For the former, many said it was because they have too much work to do and therefore cannot spend time taking a stroll outside. Others said the workplace culture makes them feel they must work through lunch.

Many in the latter group, meanwhile, simply said they could not be bothered going for a walk at lunch and preferred going online to going outdoors.

Jenna Hall, programme director for the National Charity Partnership, has insisted this much change, saying: "Managers and staff have a joint responsibility to ensure regular breaks are taken during the working day.

“Employers should promote a workplace culture where staff feel able to take breaks."

To discuss conditions in the labour market and operating environment further, speak to one of our experts here at The Maine Group!