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12 months of 2021: August

It was another year of turbulence for people professionals. Our 12 Days of Christmas countdown reviews what made the headlines in 2021.

Employers divided over unvaccinated employees

Media company CNN fired three unvaccinated employees who violated company policy in August by coming to work unvaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the Guardian, when CNN’s president Jeff Zucker told staff about the firing, he reminded them that vaccines were mandatory when working in the US office or when they meet other employees.

However the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has warned employers against using 'no jab, no job' policies.

The EHRC said while it understood businesses will want to protect their staff and customers from COVID-19 by requiring employees to be vaccinated, it advised them to take other factors into consideration.

Suzanne Staunton, employment partner at JMW Solicitors, said instead of firing unvaccinated employees, UK companies should prepare for any eventuality by gathering data.


Care for HR teams overlooked during pandemic

More than half (58.6%) of HR professionals in the UK say they are not being supported by their employer and that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased their workload.

Nearly all (95.1%) HR professionals who responded to a survey by HR software company Breathe said their workload has increased since March 2020.

Updating company policies (21.4%) and recruitment-related admin (17.3%) were cited as the two key areas HR staff are now spending more time on.

Maintaining employee records (15.8%) and furlough management (15.1%) came in as the next most onerous tasks.


Employers encouraged to get tough on employees refusing to re-enter the workplace 

Workers ignored Rishi Sunak's call to go back to offices and continued to work from home despite the lifting of government advice in July.

Research by consultancy firm Remit Consulting found only 11.7% of workers were in the office at the end of July.

Founder and managing director at Jaluch HR, Helen Jamieson urged employers to ask themselves who is managing whom when it comes to asking employees to return to the office.


The best bits of HR magazine from August 2021:  

HR needs a summer holiday

How HR can spot the signs of burnout

Lessons from the C-suite: Mark Cowlard, Arcadis