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The 12 months of 2017: December


For our 12 Days of Christmas countdown we look at the most interesting HR happenings over the last year

Minimum auto-enrolment age to be lowered

The government is planning to reduce the minimum age that employers must enrol eligible staff into a workplace pension scheme, from 22 to 18 years.

Pension secretary David Gauke announced that as well as lowering the auto-enrolment age, annual reviews of the trigger point for automatic enrolment will be introduced. The government will also explore the use of technology to encourage the UK's 4.8 million self-employed people to save for retirement.

Overtime pay shrinks

The number of people doing overtime has fallen and the reward for doing so has shrunk, according to research from the Resolution Foundation.

Time for Time and a half? found that the share of employees doing paid overtime has fallen from 17% in 1997 to 10% last year. The premium that overtime brings workers compared to their normal hourly pay has also shrunk.

The best bits of HR magazine in December:

To nudge or not to nudge?

Few in HR seem to be (knowingly) utilising nudge theory. But can and should HR give people just a little push and what are the ethical implications? Our December cover piece explores where nudge theory is already being used – including by government to encourage pensions uptake, organ donation, tax payment and to reduce missed hospital appointments – and where its potential lies in HR.

Quarter would consider AI to tackle unconscious bias

A quarter (25%) of UK companies would consider using artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle unconscious bias in recruitment, with a fifth (20%) of organisations already using the technology, the Adecco Group revealed.

Swap smoking for holidays?

Is it really fair that some staff take regular breaks for a cigarette (or to vape) leaving their non-smoking colleagues working away? In Japan one company is not prepared to allow this. Controversially, this company has sought to give equivalent ‘rest’ to its non-smokers by granting them an extra six days of annual leave.

Should employers change Christmas parties to avoid harassment claims?

It’s the time of year when we usually focus on the dos and don’ts of the work Christmas party. However, with new sexual harassment allegations hitting the headlines almost daily, companies seem to be feeling more anxious about exposing themselves to the possibility of such a claim stemming from festive work gatherings.