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12 months of 2022: May

As we reach the end of the year, our 12 Days of Christmas countdown revisits each month's most notable happenings.

An eventful May saw progressive policies for women's health introduced abroad; Brewdog's CEO spoke about giving shares to staff following controversy; and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) was put firmly on the government's agenda.

Could menstrual leave policies work in the UK?

Spain became the first country in Europe to introduce menstrual leave.

The new laws included making it mandatory for schools to supply sanitary products, and removing VAT on such products in supermarkets. 

HR magazine asked professionals in the UK if the same policies could work here.


'Long overdue' Statutory Sick Pay reforms brought to parliament

Insurance company Unum proposed reforms to the country's Statutory Sick Pay system.

Unum suggested increasing the proportion of salary covered by SSP from 28% to 63%, with the majority of the benefits going to workers earning below £25,000 a year.

The reforms looked to overhaul a system which has been in place in the UK for 40 years. Businesses and trade unions would keep the pressure for reform on throughout the year, writing an open letter to the secretary of state for work and pensions, Mel Stride, in November 2022.


Brewdog's James Watt: Why I gave away £100m to my staff

Controversy has followed brewing company Brewdog this year after former employees shed a light on a toxic working culture through the Punks with Purpose campaign in June 2021 and a subsequent BBC documentary.

In one of the most popular opinion pieces of the year, Brewdog CEO James Watt shared with HR magazine his thoughts behind giving 5% of the company to employees in the form of shares, worth £100 million. At the time, the shares were worth up to £120,000 per employee.

A desire to do things differently prompted the decision, he said, writing: "To be clear, this is an experiment. It’s a bold move and we’re not 100% sure how it will influence the business in practice. We’ll be looking at things like our rate of staff turnover and sickness rates as well as changes in customer behaviour and the profits of our venues to see what impact the blueprint has had."

The company would find itself in the news again in November 2022, launching its anti-sponsor campaign for the 2022 World Cup which highlighted the controversy surrounding the tournament. Brewdog received backlash for continuing to show matches in its pubs despite its campaign.


Best of HR magazine in May 2022:

The FA on HR in the public eye

Million more disabled people in work than five years ago

Mental health mobile apps: how useful are they?