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CIPD outlines vision for skilled, fair and healthy work

Worker with hard hat looking at a laptop in a modern factory

The UK needs a long-term workforce strategy to drive economic growth, according to the CIPD.

Last week, ahead of the main political party conferences, the HR body published its Manifesto for Good Work setting out public policy changes which it says would help the next UK government address key challenges including stagnating productivity, rising skills shortages and an ageing working population.

The manifesto argues that a joined-up workforce strategy covering three core themes -- skilled work, healthy work and fair work -- is needed to tackle these issues, while supporting the country's transition to net zero.

And it calls for policy reforms to support this new workforce strategy across a range of linked policy areas including skills, innovation, business support, digital adoption, immigration and labour market enforcement.

Skilled work

To ensure the education and training system produces the skills employers need and supports the creation of more high-skilled jobs, the CIPD called for an industrial strategy with a broader focus on improving job quality, innovation and productivity across all sectors of the economy.

A high-quality, locally delivered business support service for SMEs could boost investment in skills development and support digital adoption and the green transition.

Meanwhile, reform of the Apprenticeship Levy into a flexible skills levy could help boost employer investment in technical skills and free up more funding to invest in apprenticeships for young people.

Healthy work

Work should be organised in a way that promotes good physical and mental health. The CIPD's recommendations in this area include ensuring the Health and Safety Executive has the resources to ensure employers meet their legal duty to prevent and manage stress at work, both in workplaces and when people work remotely.

It called for a new taskforce on AI and the workplace to consider changes to employment regulation in light of developments in AI and potential risks to workers' health and employment rights.

To better protect employees during and after periods of illness, it recommended by making Statutory Sick Pay payable from day one of absence, raising the rate to the equivalent of the National Living Wage and making it more flexible to support phased returns to work.

Fair work

To help combat workplace discrimination, the CIPD called for a single enforcement body to oversee employees' rights under the Equality Act. And to promote fairness in the workplace, its recommendations include an increase in statutory paternity leave and a requirement to include basic pay and pension information in job adverts to improve transparency and help reduce pay and pension gaps.

"It's essential the next UK government sets out a bolder, long-term vision for economic growth to raise job quality, innovation and productivity across all sectors," said Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD. "Achieving this requires an inclusive industrial strategy for growth, and a strategy for jobs and good work, together with skills support and investment in the UK workforce to meet the opportunities and demands for the future.

"We must also fundamentally reform our labour market enforcement system so that it can genuinely protect the health and rights of workers and play a stronger role in helping raise overall employment standards and the wellbeing of our workforce. Supporting the development of more flexible and inclusive working practices across the economy will help improve fairness of opportunity and labour market participation for everyone."

Posted by Fidelius on September 25th 2023

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