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Why was the HR Director so unpopular at Christmas?

…because he gave Santa the sack!

It has been a tough year for those in the world of employment and therefore as it’s coming up to Christmas we thought we’d share a couple of the stranger and sometimes controversial employment laws being implemented around the world just to lighten the mood a little.

We’ll be starting with a policy which is suggested to be the next ‘big thing’ for British Employers to consider. We are of course talking about Menopause Policies.

We aren’t pulling your leg as recent cases have seen women, who have experienced serious symptoms from the Menopause; winning disability discrimination claims (Davies vs. Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service).  There is now serious talk of introducing Menopause policies for companies when there is a male dominated environment. These policies would tackle allowing for changes in temperature and alternative working arrangements to allow for forgetfulness or loss of concentration.

Moving across to the land of the rising sun where in 2008 Japan passed the ‘Metabo Law’ as a solution to the epidemic of obesity. Through this act, Employers have to annually measure the waists of workers between the ages of 40 and 75 and they are allowed to measure Employees they suspect of having too large of a waistline. For men anything more than 33.5 inches is considered a breach and for women it’s 35.4 inches. Companies need to maintain 65% Employee compliance with these measurements or else face fines and the company’s health insurers are obliged to run weight loss classes to Employees that have exceeded this threshold.

Japan’s neighbours, China, have taken a different approach to equality as women are prohibited from engaging in any work that the government deems ‘physically demanding’ and this includes mining, logging, any work at high altitude and jobs that require lifting more than 44 pounds.

An interesting law in India means that Employers cannot fire Employees without the government’s permission when they have more than 100 Employees. There is an exception where the Employee is found guilty of criminal misconduct however we’re sure many UK Employers are grateful that this is a regulation that they don’t have to follow.

Finally to end one of the favourite strange employment practices that we came across, we need to head to New Zealand.  Apparently New Zealand Employers faced a ‘funny hat’ epidemic so much so, that employment law was introduced which allows for Employers to enforce a 10% pay cut if an Employee wears a hat to work that results in them breaking the companies dress and uniform code. So no elf hats at Christmas for New Zealand Employees!

Although these may seem odd to those of us in the UK, all of the above (with the exception of the Menopause policy) have been integrated into normal employment practice and even to this day we find strange legacy employment policies when conducting document reviews for our new clients.

If you would like to make sure that there aren’t any legacy or outdated policies in your HR pack contact us on 01302 346 825 and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from ProAktive’s HR Consultancy Team.

By Kris Kerins BSc (Hons) PGC (Tech Mgmt)Risk Services Adviser

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