Kavitha’s keynote: Pay, stress and work-life balance

Kavitha's keynote

On Wednesday, trade union Unite orchestrated demonstrations at more than 30 restaurants in the TGI Friday’s chain across the UK, deliberately choosing the Independence Day date to have the biggest impact on the American organisation.

Unite members and employees of TGI Friday’s staged the demonstrations in order to draw further attention to the ongoing battle over the organisation’s tip policy, which sees 40% of waiters’ tips from card payments being garnished for redistribution.

According to Unite, this is in lieu of raising wages for kitchen staff, and costs minimum wage workers an estimated £250 per month.

In a time when pay fairness and transparency are becoming ever more prominent in the public eye, it remains to be seen whether the union will be successful in convincing the restaurant chain to change its pay policies.

On a more positive note, retail organisation The Co-op is working to decrease the financial stress placed on its employees through high-cost lending, by introducing a payroll loan benefit. This has been made available to 63,000 UK staff as of June 2018.

A spokesperson from the organisation explained that this move was taken as part of an effort to reduce the impact of personal debt issues on home and working life.

Financial stress can impact on many aspects of an employee’s life, and it makes sense for organisations to consider it as a factor when building holistic health and wellbeing packages. This also fits with the ever-increasing focus on mental health resilience in the workplace.

CMS UK has recently introduced a new benefit aimed at improving wellbeing and work-life balance. Employees can now take up to one month of paid time off per year, no questions asked.

In a similar vein, CA Technologies has launched a new global parental leave policy, allowing 11,000 male and female employees worldwide to take advantage of a minimum of 12 weeks’ paid leave within the first 12 months after the birth or adoption of a child.

There are many ways in which modern organisations are working to understand and tackle stress, improve employees’ work-life balance, and increase their flexibility around workers’ needs, showing that the face of the average workplace is constantly evolving.

This continues to be true when it comes to healthcare benefits, which is currently an important topic for Employee Benefits, as our research on the subject is in full swing. Have your say and be in with a chance of winning £100 of retail vouchers here. The survey closes on Monday (9 July) so be quick!

Kavitha Sivasubramaniam
Tweet: @kavithasiva_EB