News Burst: 5 February 2013

Accenture is the most ‘gay-friendly’ employer in the UK

News Burst: 5 February 2013Global management consultancy firm Accenture has been named the most ‘gay-friendly’ employer in Britain by lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, Stonewall’s annual top 100 Workplace Equality Index 2013.

The ninth annual list, is the definitive benchmarking tool when it comes to evaluating policy and good practice around sexual orientation issues in the workplace.

The Co-operative is the first big brand retailer to ever enter the Top 10, named third on the list. Housing association company Gentoo group, Nottingham Healthcare NHS Trust and the Home Office complete the top five.

As well as Employer of the Year, the index also recognised the Most Improved Employer, which was Nationwide building society. Network Group of the Year is financial services firm Goldman Sachs and Individual Champion is chief constable, Alex Marshall from Hampshire Constabulary.

The top 100 list was compiled from 376 submitted entries from British employers. Another notable entry in the list was legal firm, Simmons and Simmons, which secured the highest place to date for a legal employer, at number nine.

Security services organisation, MI5 rose 36 places from last year to number 26 and is joined in the top 100 by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) at number 40.

ITV is still the only media employer to ever feature on the top 100 list and Rugby Football League is the only sporting organisation to ever feature in the top 100.

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said. “Every employer in the top 100 has performed impressively. These results are significant as it’s just 10 years since we won vital legal protections for gay people in the workplace.

“Britain’s 1.7 million gay staff and 150,000 gay university students can now confidently use the Index to select a welcoming employer, or look further, safe in the knowledge that they are protected from discrimination.”

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Government unveils scheme to tackle long-term sickness absence at work

News Burst: 5 February 2013Employers will be helped to tackle long-term sickness absence in the workplace, after an independent assessment and advisory service aimed at getting people back to work and away from long-term sickness benefits was announced yesterday.

Minister for welfare reform, Lord Freud, unveiled the scheme, and said it will save employers up to £160 million a year in statutory sick pay and increase economic output by up to £900 million a year.

The new service is part of a series of measures announced by the Government to help employers support their staff and prevent employees needlessly going onto sickness benefits.

It is part of the Government’s response to the report The health at work – Independent review of sickness absence, carried out by national director for health and work, Dame Carol Black and former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, David Frost.

Government said only 10% of employees of small firms have access to an occupational health service, compared with more than half of staff in larger firms. It claims this new service will enable employers of all sizes to access expert advice to help them manage sickness absence in the workplace.

Minister for welfare reform Lord Freud said: “Long-term sickness absence is a burden to business, to the taxpayer and to the thousands of people who get trapped on benefits when they could actually work.

“So for the first time, all employers, big or small, will have access to a service that offers the early support they need to keep people in work and fulfil their aspirations.

“It’s further proof that this Government is confronting all the challenges facing Britain and making sure we compete and thrive in the global race.”

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