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May 16, 2014

Also in the news this week – 16 May 2014

World Cup could spark surge in sickies

New research suggests that the World Cup could spark a surge in employees pulling sickies this summer. One in four 25-34 year old men said they may take unauthorised absence from work when the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil, according to a survey by YouGov for Wolters Kluwer. Overall, 13% of working Brits would be tempted to call in sick if one of the England games clashes with work and their boss didn't offer them the option of watching it at work or to work flexibly. So far, only 20% of employers have made arrangements to let staff to watch the World Cup at work.

The little things that drive us mad at work

Being copied in to irrelevant emails; the phone ringing at one minute to five; cold offices, talkative colleagues and cheap teabags – these are just some of the biggest gripes at work, according to a survey of 2,000 workers by animal welfare charity, The Brooke. And there are many more grievances, it has found – including co-workers using other people's mugs; smelly food; and having to listen to colleagues that sing all day.

FSB calls for clarity on HMRC's new proposals

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is asking HMRC for more clarity on its plans to recoup unpaid tax debt from the bank accounts of individuals and businesses from next year. John Allan, FSB national chairman, said: "While the FSB recognises that HMRC needs to collect the tax it is owed, the proposed statutory power of HMRC to access bank accounts and recover tax debt could hurt businesses. The proposals in their current form need greater clarity, in particular about how HMRC will access bank accounts and what right of redress businesses will have to recoup their money, if overcharged."

Zero hours contracts make staff feel excluded, says Acas

Many workers on zero hours contracts feel excluded from the sense of security, fairness and trust associated with permanent employment contracts, an Acas study has found. Acas chair Sir Brendan Barber said: "A lot of workers on zero hours contracts are afraid of looking for work elsewhere, turning down hours, or questioning their employment rights in case their work is withdrawn or reduced. There also appeared to be a lack of transparency on the terms of their contractual arrangements. Many people did not seem to even know that they were on a zero hours contract."

Women now on all FTSE 100 manufacturing boards

All FTSE 100 manufacturers now have at least one woman on the board, but more needs to be done according to a new report by manufacturer's organisation EEF, in partnership with Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Women now account for 21% of directorships in FTSE 100 manufacturing companies – up from 19% last year. And 36% of manufacturing firms are now at or above Lord Davies' minimum 25% female board representation target. But while the sector has made strides, the report urges more action on tackling the industry's outdated "dirty and unglamorous" image and to nurture female talent from classroom to boardroom. The research also looked at SMEs – which employ almost 60% of manufacturing workers – and found that more women are reaching senior posts in small firms as well.