Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Data file: Stakeholder pensionsOn 11 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today The latest in a series of articles that give the basics on key areas ofemployment legislation. This issue we look at stakeholder pensionsThe hard facts From 8 October 2001, most employers have to offer their employees accessto either an occupational pension scheme or a stakeholder pension scheme. Thisis the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 (the “Act”) www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1999/19990030.htm– Section 3 of the Act sets out various requirements that an employer mustcomply with. These include the requirement that an employer must: – Offer relevant employees access to a registered stakeholder pensionscheme, having consulted with relevant employees – Supply basic information about the designated scheme to relevant employeesand allow representatives of the scheme reasonable access to the relevantemployees in order to supply them with information about the scheme, and – Deduct the employee’s contribution to the scheme from his remuneration,where requested to do so by a relevant employee. The Stakeholder Pension Schemes Regulations 2000 (the”Regulations”) http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2000/20001403.htmThe Regulations set out exemptions (section 22) from the requirements of theAct where an employer: – Has fewer than five staff, and – Offers certain personal pension schemes. The Regulations also provide (section 23) that certain staff are notconsidered to be “relevant” staff and therefore employers need notprovide access to a stakeholder pension where an employee: – Can join an existing occupational pension scheme within 12 months ofstarting work with an employer – Cannot join their employer’s occupational pension scheme because they areunder the age of 18 or are within five years of the normal pensionable age forthe scheme – Has not been continuously employed for three or more months – Earns less than the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit for one ormore weeks within the past three months, and/or – Is ineligible to make contributions due to a restriction imposed by theInland Revenue. Reading around the subject General Information: An introduction to Stakeholder Pensions. Anextremely useful general guide to the stakeholder pension, including adefinition of the stakeholder pension, a brief summary of who should have one,as well as details of the regulation of stakeholder pensions and tax andnational insurance: http://stakeholder.opra.gov.uk/general/index.shtml– Employers and Stakeholder Pensions. Another excellent summary detailingthe employer’s duties to its employees to provide access to stakeholderpensions. It covers instances where employers are exempt from the requirementto provide access to a stakeholder pension scheme and those employees who arenot covered by the duty. It also offers guidance to employers on selecting astakeholder pension scheme which the employees are invited to join: http://stakeholder.opra.gov.uk/employers/index.shtml– Frequently Asked Questions. This contains a particularly good section foremployers on what stakeholder pensions are, the employer’s duties towards theiremployees, designating a scheme, consulting the employees and the everydayrunning of the scheme: http://stakeholder.opra.gov.uk/faqs/index.shtml– Employer’s Decision Tree. This online decision tree will help an employerdecide whether to offer a stakeholder pension to its staff: http://stakeholder.opra.gov.uk/decisiontree/index.asp– Stakeholder pensions – a guide for employers. A DSS publication coveringthe employer’s duties, choosing a pension scheme, providing employees withinformation about the scheme and time limits for designating a scheme: http://www.dss.gov.uk/publications/dss/2000/stakeholder_emp/index.htmOther sourceswww.opra.gov.ukwww.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/stakepensionwww.dss.gov.ukwww.legislation.hmso.gov.ukwww.ft.comwww.fsa.gov.ukwww.stakeholderhelpline.org.ukwww.pensionguide.gov.ukUseful contactsOccupational Pensions Regulation AuthorityDetails of the office and e-mail address and telephone numbers for OPRA:http://stakeholder.opra.gov.uk/contact.shtmlThe Inland Revenue Employer’s HelplineHelpline answering enquiries regarding stakeholder pensions 08457 143 143By Catherine Taylor, Rebecca Ford and Robert Hughes at Olswang, www.olswang.com Comments are closed.
Previous Article Next Article Cutting staff is last resort for struggling firms in USOn 11 Dec 2001 in Personnel Today Companies in the US are looking at all other cost cutting alternativesbefore making redundancies in order to cope with the economic downturn. A survey by the Society of Human Resource Management shows that 63 per centof employers use staff attrition to cut costs and 49 per cent opt for anemployment freeze. A fifth of the 570 HR professionals surveyed say they don’t renew contractsand a similar proportion encourage staff to take holidays. More than half of respondents cite declining profits as the main factor thateventually led to the decision to lay off employees and 45 per cent blamerestructuring for having to make redundancies. Nearly 40 per cent of HR professionals who took part in the survey say thestate of the economy led to a decision to axe staff. Helen Drinan, SHRM president, said, “Layoffs are disruptive anddifficult for everyone and most organisations are taking steps to avoid them ifpossible. The majority of those companies that can’t avoid layoffs are offeringseverance packages that include a variety of benefits.” The research shows that redundancies have a serious effect on staff morale,with 58 per cent saying confidence fell after layoffs were announced and 54 percent of respondents reporting in-creased gossip. To combat this more than halfof respondents indicate they tried to improve communication and 28 per centheld morale-boosting events. Drinan said, “It appears most organisations are missing an importantopportunity. They could and should do more to boost morale for employeesremaining with the organisation to stem further turnover and to increaseproductivity.” www.shrm.orgBy Ben Willmott Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article When England play Argentina on Friday, employers will be looking for thebest way to manage staff desperate to watch the game Many UK employers are taking the issue of World Cup absenteeism seriously,with more than half planning to tackle the problem by allowing their staff towatch England games at work, according to a fish4jobs survey. The study reveals that almost a fifth of employees have flexitimearrangements in place allowing them to take time off work to watch the WorldCup. A total of 12 per cent of staff plan to listen to the tournament on theradio at work and 5per cent of staff intend to work from home. Jon Clark, human capital consultant at Deloitte and Touche, believesflexitime is the best solution for many employers because it allows footballfans to watch the games but does not impose the World Cup on other staff. However, Jonathan Turpin, CEO of fish4jobs, thinks it is in employers’interests to enable staff to watch important England games. “Many employers recognise the World Cup as an opportunity to create afeelgood factor within the workplace. Our study reveals employers providingflexible working arrangements and opportunities to watch the games on TV areless likely to experience unauthorised absenteeism during the World Cup.” Burgess Hill-based Capital International HR Solutions is one of many firmsthat has decided to allow staff to watch important games at work. Capital staff will have access to the company’s wall-mounted televisionscreen whenever there is a televised match and the firm will even providebreakfast for those early birds wanting to watch dawn broadcasts. Karen Silk, CEO of Capital International explained the firm’s approach:”What do we get back from staff you might ask? Well, a happy workforcethat is not booking days off during the World Cup. It also brings an element offun and competitiveness into the workplace, which supports our companyphilosophy.” Although many employers are taking action to enable staff to watch thegames, few have drawn-up formal policies. Three-quarters of the 100 FTSE 500 HR directors, surveyed by Deloitte andTouche, do not have official employee policies for watching the tournament. More than 90 per cent of the HR directors report they would not allowemployees who had watched games in a pub to return to work if they had beendrinking, but five per cent would turn a blind eye if employees had only hadone or two drinks. “HR directors should not forget that football and drinking can gohand-in-hand. All should have alcohol and drug policies in place, giving clearguidance on how to manage this situation, linked to health and safety inparticular,” said Clark. Studies show employers who are not planning to provide staff access to TVsin the workplace or flexitime arrangements to enable them to watch importantgames will suffer high levels of absenteeism during the tournament. Nearly a third of the 700 staff surveyed by fish4jobs report that theiremployer has made no provision for them to watch the World Cup and, as aresult, 14 per cent are thinking about calling in sick to watch key games. According to the survey, more than three-quarters of employees think it isacceptable to call in sick during the World Cup. Figures revealed by the Deloitte and Touche survey paint a similar picturewith almost a third of employees intending to follow World Cup games illicitly,via the internet or radio. The study reveals that 64 per cent of the 500 staff polled are planning towatch games broadcast during work hours. Research by workthing.com predicts that across the UK almost 1.4 million menaged between 21 and 44 plan to call in sick on Friday when England playArgentina, with the cost to business estimated at £128.8m. www.deloitte.co.ukHow HR can handle the World Cup– Remind employees that requests for holiday during thetournament should be made as soon as soon as possible– Make sure you know when matches are being played, especiallypopular ones– Be firm but flexible – where possible, tell staff you arehappy for them to work flexible hours to enable them to watch vital Englandmatches as long as they make up the time– Consider screening popular matches– For games kicking off around midday, suggest staff take along lunch and make up time at the end of the day How to tackle the big matchOn 4 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today
A pilot scheme to help manage stress among staff in schools has helpedimprove productivity, reduce sickness absence and cut costs. The project, conducted across five schools in York, cut absence from 10.1 to8.3 per cent and saved the schools more than £43,000. Mandy Coalter, former HR manager at City of York Council, told delegatesthat stress was a real problem for all school staff especially teachers.”A third of absence is anecdotally linked to stress and the most importantthing for York City Council to do was to improve the performance ofteachers.” The council called in stress specialist Businesshealth to measure the levelsof stress teachers and auxiliary staff were facing. The firm used a questionnaire based on location and job role and found thatstaff had low confidence, were suffering from stress and identified 10 per centas high risk. The council then sent health managers into the schools and set upa network of one-to-one mentoring and counselling support. Managers and teachers were also taught smarter ways of working includingdelegating tasks and dealing with pressure. A second questionnaire later found that job satisfaction and confidence inthe employers had grown. “You have to get line managers’ commitment if the scheme is to work butwhat we did was innovate and it made a huge difference,” said Coalter. “Good health is a business advantage. Boards will take the businesscase seriously if you link health with business.” Scheme to relieve school stress boosts productivityOn 29 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article EC aircrew regulations await approvalOn 24 Feb 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. European Union (EU) ministers have been asked to approve new rules layingdown minimum rest periods and other safety-related personnel regulations forcivil aviation crews. The European Commission has proposed a regulation that would set maximum flighttimes for pilots and cabin crew to 13 hours per day, and 11 hours 45 minutesfor night flights. In addition, the commission’s proposal would also lay down requirements forcabin crews regarding age, medical fitness, training and certificates of professionalcompetence. The commission said its move “meets the concerns raised by the EuropeanParliament, flight crew associations and airlines with regard to the lack ofharmonised detailed rules for flight and duty times and rest periods for crews,particularly as regards air safety and aircraft accidents associated withfatigue. At the moment, national requirements still apply.” The EU has been steadily harmonising European civil aviation regulationsduring the past 15 years. The commission added that the whole package would “make it possible toguarantee a uniform level of safety”. EU transport commissioner Loyola de Palacio, said: “This new regulationwill facilitate the necessary consensus between all the institutions toestablish strict safety rules for all European commercial aircraftoperations.” Related posts:No related photos.
Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that state guaranteeorganisations should be allowed to pay employees of an insolvent company morethan the minimum required to cover their basic needs. In a case brought against Italy’s National Social Welfare Institution(INPS), the court also said national laws should not order deductions fromguarantee fund handouts where a failed business paid its employees some moneywhile being wound up. Specifically, the ECJ judges ruled that Directive 80/987/EEC does not allowgovernments to limit payments to the sum needed to cover basic needs, nor arethey allowed to deduct payments made by the employer to its staff before thecompany was wound up. Previous Article Next Article ECJ ruling stops payment capping on insolvent firmsOn 23 Mar 2004 in Insolvency, Personnel Today
Supermarket chain Tesco is testing a scheme where workers are not paid forthe first three days they are off sick. The trial is taking place in 20 selected stores and is part of athree-pronged strategy to reduce ‘sickies’. The other two strands are offering staff extra holiday, which it is hopedthey will use for the odd day off when they might otherwise have called insick, and a voucher scheme to reward people who do not take time off sick. A spokeswoman stressed the trial was not about penalising workers who weregenuinely ill. “It is about helping colleagues in the workplace to takeplanned absence whenever they can,” she said. If workers are ill for more than three days, they can revert to claimingsick pay, as well as getting compensation for the previous unpaid days. But the Work Foundation warned that, while Tesco’s scheme could be effectivein tackling short-term absence, it was still long-term absence that was thereal worry in the workplace. Stephen Bevan, director of research, said: “The Tesco’s scheme won’tdeal with long-term absence. It may well cut down on the irritation factor ofstaff throwing ‘sickies’, but it won’t necessarily cut down on the overallcosts of managing absence by that much.” Tesco testing scheme to cut absenceOn 1 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. If you’re planning some outside-work training then sporting venues provide unusual and inspiring settings. We look at what eight have to offer.SCOTLANDThe Gleneagles HotelPerthshire, Scotland Facilities: Gleneagles offers 13 private venue rooms varying in style, capacity and technical facilities. It can accommodate small boardroom executive meetings, large business conferences and gala dinner events. Parking: Parking in the grounds. Accommodation: Gleneagles is a five-star, 232-bedroom hotel. Rate: Day delegate rates start from £68.51, while a 24-hour conference rate starts at £288.72 per person, per night. Typical dinner menu: Smoked Scottish salmon, roast of the day and the Gleneagles cheese box.Sporting heritage: One hour’s drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, the 850-acre Gleneagles estate offers three championship golf courses, including the PGA Centenary Course where the 2014 Ryder Cup is due to be played. It is also renowned for offering some of the best facilities for country pursuits. Trainers can combine a meeting with a teambuilding event based on archery, trout fishing, clay-pigeon shooting, falconry lessons or gundog demonstrations. THE MIDLANDSSilverstone CircuitsNorthamptonshire Facilities: The circuit has five buildings of various sizes, including the famous British Racing Drivers Club House, that can host training events. The largest room can accommodate up to 300 delegates.Parking: Unlimited. Accommodation: Nearest hotel is the four-star Whittlebury Hall. Rate: Day delegate rate is £50 (+VAT), including lunch.Typical dinner menu: A choice of hot or cold buffets. Sporting heritage: Widely-recognised as the home of British motor racing, Silverstone is the venue for the British Grand Prix, where last year Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag. The venue offers trainers a host of possibilities when organising a bespoke event, such as combining a conference or seminar with a tour of the circuit or some serious fun with one of the venue’s driving experiences. SOUTHThe All England Jumping Course, HicksteadWest Sussex (15-minute drive from Gatwick and Brighton)Facilities: 100mx50m outdoor, all-weather arena with adjacent clubhouse, which seats 60 to 80 people. Parking: Unlimited Accommodation: There’s a Travel Lodge within walking distance and a 50-room hotel a mile away. Numerous hotels in and around Gatwick and Brighton.Rate: Hire of clubhouse starts at £500 (+VAT). Typical dinner menu: All needs catered for from hog roasts and barbecues to buffets or four-course dinners.Sporting heritage: Credited with a major role in creating today’s sport of show jumping, Hickstead will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2010. Its centrepiece – the International Arena – has recently undergone a £100,000 overhaul and is widely rated as the best outdoor equestrian facility in the world, receiving as much care and attention as Wimbledon’s Centre Court. The training facilities cater for complete novices up to advanced level. Polo lessons are also available from one of the venue’s three resident instructors. NORTH WESTAintree RacecourseOrmskirk Road, Aintree, LiverpoolFacilities: The venue offers a range of facilities from boxes overlooking the racecourse to the Aintree Pavilion, a huge arena that can accommodate up 5,000 people. AV equipment can be hired on request. Parking: Free for up to 800.Accommodation: The nearest is a Premier Travel Inn opposite the racecourse.Rate: Delegate day rates start at £95 a day.Typical dinner menu: On-site caterers can provide anything from a buffet to a three-course dinner.Sporting heritage: Aintree Racecourse has been the site of some of the most memorable moments in horse-racing history. Who can forget Red Rum’s third Grand National victory or Aldaniti romping home ridden by Bob Champion? A £35m redevelopment programme has recently been completed resulting in the opening of two new grandstands along with the Aintree International Equestrian Centre. The new grandstands can accommodate up to 600 delegates each, while the Aintree Pavilion has 3,700sq m of exhibition space. WALESThe Liberty StadiumLandore, Swansea, WalesFacilities: The stadium has more than 40 function suites. The largest room can accommodate 330 delegates, theatre-style, while the 29 executive boxes overlooking the pitch can hold up to 10 people in each. Standard AV equipment can be arranged.Parking: 780 free spaces. Accommodation: Numerous hotels in Swansea.Rate: The day delegate rate starts at £31.50 (+VAT), including lunch. A special rate for January is £15 (+VAT) per person.Typical dinner menu: Potato and leek soup, Welsh rack of lamb and a selection of Welsh cheeses.Sporting heritage: Opened in July 2005, the Liberty Stadium is Swansea’s answer to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and offers a first-class, multi-purpose venue. Home to Swansea City football club – The Swans – and Ospreys rugby club, the stadium is also the premier events venue in South West Wales. Catering for both a rugby and football team, more than 60 matches are played at the venue every year. It is also possible to book a stadium tour as part of an event.HOME COUNTIESDorney Lake, Eton College Rowing CentreWindsor, BerkshireFacilities: The famous Eton Rowing Club boathouse offers meeting and conference facilities, while the 400-acre site provides opportunities for land and water-based teambuilding activities.Parking: Spaces for about 200 vehicles.Accommodation: Hotels in nearby Windsor.Rate: Depends on the activity.Typical dinner menu: Lobster and tiger prawn salad, supreme of guinea fowl and Belgian chocolate and praline torte. Sporting heritage: Eton College Rowing Centre at Dorney Lake is a modern, world-class rowing and canoeing centre set in a 400-acre parkland, near Windsor. Opened in 2000, it hosted the World Championships in 2006 and has been designated the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venue for rowing and flat-water canoeing. A number of triathlons are held here each year, as are dragon boating events, which can be used for teambuilding.LONDONLord’s Cricket GroundSt Johns Wood, London, NW8 Facilities: Rooms range from the Victorian elegance of the restored Pavilion, which can accommodate up to 300 people, to the contemporary poise of the Investec Media Centre, which seats 70, theatre-style.Parking: Between 10 and 15 spaces per event, plus additional street parking and local NCP car parks.Accommodation: Local hotels including the four-star Melia White House Hotel and boutique Cumberland.Rate: Daily delegate rates starts from £72 (+VAT), per person.Typical dinner menu: Foie gras, veal wellington and raspberry sorbet. Sporting heritage: Named after its 18th-century founder Thomas Lord, Lord’s, or HQ as it is known, is the most famous and historic cricket ground in the world. And you don’t have to be a fan of the game to appreciate its magic, as its famous pavilion and modern media centre are landmark buildings in their own right. If you want to knock training delegates for six, coaching sessions in the indoor cricket school and private tours of the ground can be arranged. NORTH EASTThe Stadium of LightSunderlandFacilities: The stadium can cater for groups of any size – from one-to-one meetings to a large-scale conferences for 600 guests. Many rooms have projectors and AV equipment installed. Parking: More than 1,000 spaces. Accommodation: There are a number of local hotels. Rate: Day room hire rates start at £275.Typical dinner menu: Asparagus, sirloin steak and Chantilly cream-filled profiteroles.Sporting heritage: Standing on the banks of the River Wear, the Stadium of Light opened in 1997 and is regarded as being among the top tier of football stadia in Europe. Sunderland, once the largest shipbuilding centre in the world, may be a city without a cathedral but with football being a religion is this area the stadium, which holds almost 50,000 people, provides a spiritual home for its people. And although its design is 21st-century, its bowl-shaped lower deck was inspired by the city’s industrial heritage of shipbuilding. Training venues: A little sporty numberBy Ross Bentley on 18 Jan 2009 in Personnel Today
No comments yet. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website CPD: Supporting an employee with a learning disability to remain at workBy Lisa Watkins and Anne Harriss on 3 Aug 2018 in Cancer, Cardiac, Continuing professional development, Disability, Research, Return to work and rehabilitation, Occupational Health, Personnel Today View all posts by Lisa Watkins and Anne Harriss → Occupational Health & Wellbeing research round-up: December 2020Fatigue and workplace exercise programmesWork-related fatigue is related to a range of negative consequences, including poor productivity. This study… About Lisa Watkins and Anne Harriss Lisa Watkins RGN, DipHE, BSc(Hons) SCPHN(OH) is lead specialist occupational health nurse practitioner at Orchard Hill College Academy Trust.Professor Anne Harriss MSc, BEd, RGN, OHNC, NTF (HEA), PFHEA, CMIOSH, FRCN, Hon FFOM, QN is Occupational Health and Wellbeing’s CPD editor and professor in occupational health, course director occupational health nursing and workplace health management programmes, at London South Bank University Related posts: Talking toolkits: unpicking Covid-19 return-to-work advice for occupational healthWith the UK now gradually reopening for business, organisations across the workplace health spectrum have been developing toolkits and resources… Previous Article Next Article Occupational health can play a key role in supporting people with learning disabilities to secure and stay in employment Photofusion/REX/Shutterstock People with learning disabilities often struggle to first secure and then maintain paid employment. That puts occupational health in a pivotal position when it comes to supporting health, continuing employment and return to work after absence. Lisa Watkins and Professor Anne Harriss outline best practice you can be applying.For people with learning disabilities, securing and then maintaining paid employment can be extremely challenging.Indeed, statistics published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre suggests that, for regions across England in 2014-15, fewer than 8% of working-age people have such employment; although generally it is less than 5%. And for the West and East Midlands it troughs at 4.3% and 3.2% respectively (Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2015).Therefore, where those with learning disabilities are employed, it is essential they are supported to maintain their employment. Occupational health professionals can be pivotal to this.This case study highlights the holistic assessment of Geraldine, aged 33, employed for the previous six years in a role involving supporting students and staff within a college environment.The occupational health (OH) service support she received resulted from a management referral which was requested to establish if the employee is fit for work and whether any reasonable adjustments are required to support her attendance. It considers the:patho-physiology underpinning of Geraldine’s health needs; andpotential impact of her health on her fitness to work.The referralGeraldine is contracted to work term-time for four days per week from 12pm-2pm. Although her attendance had generally been good, her manager had noted a decline in her wellbeing and there had been a number of incidents of Geraldine becoming unwell during working hours requiring her to leave early.The management referral included a job description and indicated that Geraldine was awaiting bariatric surgery. Her manager was keen to support her wellbeing and attendance in the pre- and post-operative periods.The referral confirmed Geraldine has a known learning disability and was keen to be referred to OH. It included her consent to attend and for the information to be shared with a “third party” (Lewis and Thornbory, 2012). Her job and independence were very important to Geraldine and her family; the organisation was keen further to support any needs she may have during this pre-operative stage in enabling her to maintain her current role, without detriment to her physical health.Wadell et al (2008), Black and Frost (2011), and Lewis and Thornbory (2012) highlight the importance of early referral to OH and the positive impact on quality case management. It was established that her mother was her named family support and she agreed to accompany her daughter to OH appointments.The assessmentOH assessments establish whether an individual is “fit” to undertake their role within their working environment without risk to themselves or others. The Murugiah et al (2012) Fitness to Work model was used to facilitate a holistic assessment of four key areas (personal aspects, the work environment, characteristics of the work and legal aspects).Geraldine’s consent to partake in the assessment and for this information to be shared with her manager was confirmed (Kloss and Ballard 2012). To establish Geraldine’s functional mental capacity to understand the issues around consent and thereafter assessment and recommendations, her mental capacity, as covered by the Mental Capacity Act (2005), was discussed and Geraldine’s capacity assessed.It was determined that she had a cognitive impairment and that she was able to make specific decisions (National Health Service (NHS), 2016). In partnership with Geraldine, her mother and the OH nurse, it was established that she could communicate effectively, understand, retain and act on the information discussed within the consultation.It was agreed by all that Geraldine could participate in the assessment independently. Thereafter, her mother was invited to review the assessment and made aware of recommendations made. The following were established and documented:occupational and social history;past and current health history, and details of absences from work; andher work requirements, responsibilities and working relationship with her manager and colleagues.Geraldine’s employment is an important social outlet for her. Geraldine, and her parents had concerns that she could lose her job because of recurrent absence. It became apparent that Geraldine attended work when unwell for fear of the impact of frequent absences on her future employment. Although Geraldine lives alone, her parents support her with activities of daily living including shopping and financial management. They ensure a supply of ready-meals and snacks that she can prepare independently.Geraldine attends work regularly. A current risk assessment was in place which considered the implications of her learning disability and increased body mass index (BMI) of 53.1. It confirmed that her manager had provided appropriate bariatric seating and safe, manageable tasks for Geraldine to undertake.Geraldine confirmed her responsibility for washing up and clearing lunch-time residue. She socialises and interacts with students conducting gaming sessions weekly. Geraldine prefers to manage life independently; her mother confirming that she attempts to support her but Geraldine refuses her help. As an adult with capacity, she feels she cannot impose herself if Geraldine asserts her independence.Geraldine declared a recent episode of shortness of breath following exertion but had never been diagnosed with any specific cardiac abnormalities requiring treatment. This episode resulted in an emergency admission to A&E she was sent home and advised “to rest”.Geraldine is classified as morbidly obese with a BMI of 53.1 (NHS Choices 2015a). Bariatric surgery is planned for later this year. Her consultant is approaching surgery holistically, inclusive of physical and psychological wellbeing. Investigative preparatory tests have already commenced with a possible “Insulin resistance” underpinning Geraldine’s morbidly obese state.Geraldine reports leg ulcers, cellulitis and lymphoedema of both lower legs. These are managed by her GP practice nurses with district nurses providing additional support regarding her medication needs should antibiotics or analgesics be prescribed. At the time of the assessment she had neither open wounds nor significant swelling. Currently Geraldine takes no regular medication. She sees the college nurses regularly for support when required and reports good, open and supportive relationship with her manager, colleagues and students.Regarding Geraldine’s mental health: she confirms currently feeling happy and her employment supports this. She was cheerful with no concerns regarding her impending surgery as she knows the surgeon well and sees her regularly.Pathophysiology and potential impact on the working environment and rehabilitationThe OHN must evidence clinical knowledge of the employees’ health conditions when establishing whether an employee is fit to meet the requirements of their job description without risk to themselves or others. It became apparent there were a number of health issues, as well as a learning disability affecting this employee which required review in relation to their potential impact within the working environment. These included the:patho-physiology of insulin resistance and obesity;importance of pre-operative health and early intervention; andpotential impact of a learning disability.Pathophysiology of Insulin intolerance and obesityInsulin is produced in the pancreas (Muralitharan and Peate 2013) which Marieb and Hoehn (2010) refer to as containing both endocrine and exocrine gland cells. These produce enzyme rich fluid secreted into the small intestines aiding food digestion. Alpha, beta and delta endocrine cells produce hormones to control blood glucose levels.Alpha cells produce glucagon that breaks down liver stored glycogen into glucose, and promotes synthesis of glucose from fatty and amino acids. This is released into the blood stream – the stimuli to release glucagon are deceased levels of glucose and increased levels of amino acids , conditions which occur after a protein-rich meal.Beta cells are the most numerous and produce insulin that reduces blood glucose levels and assists in the breakdown of, and the metabolism of fat. Insulin promotes the transport of glucose into the cell that produces adenosine triphosphate, the fuel of body cells. Insulin, produced in response to raised blood sugar levels, promotes the conversion of remaining glucose into glycogen, fat and promotes amino acid uptake by muscle tissue.The reciprocal effect of each of these hormones results in the release of the other hormones and their production is consistently adjusted leading to a level homeostasis, preventing large fluctuations in blood glucose. Delta cells secrete somatostatin, a glucagon and insulin inhibitor. In the event of an endocrine disorder, as with insulin resistance, there is an imbalance to this homeostasis.Insulin resistance is a state in which a given concentration of insulin produces a less-than-expected biological effect, leading to increased insulin secretion to maintain normal glucose and lipid homeostasis. Mechanisms responsible for insulin resistance syndromes including genetic or primary cell defects and abnormal or dysfunctional mitochondria resistance. This is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, insulin intolerance and non-insulin dependent diabetes have been suggested by and Kim, Wei, and Sowers (2008).The World Health Organization (2006) advises that patients are provided with information and support to understand their endocrine disorders inclusive of the need to take control of their health and well-being. High-quality patient education regarding the nature of their illness and adoption of a healthier lifestyle coupled with screening of the individual at risk is essential.Geraldine’s mother highlighted that healthcare professionals throughout Geraldine’s development to adulthood had suggested a possible undiagnosed syndrome affecting her growth and learning disability, which now seems to have resulted in her current morbid obesity and insulin resistance.ObesityObesity, largely resulting from the secretion of excessive adipokines, is an exaggeration of normal adiposity . It is a central player in the pathophysiology of diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension and atherosclerosis.Obesity is a major contributor to the metabolic dysfunction involving lipid and glucose. This metabolic dysfunction extends to cells within multiple organs and systems with the result inducing abnormal inflammatory responses with long-term effects, being detrimental for both fatty liver development and pancreatic insulin release.Obesity contributes to immune dysfunction from the effects of inflammatory adipokine secretion, a major risk factor for many cancers (Redinger 2007). Redinger (2007) reports on the importance of promoting and supporting healthy eating habits and physical exercise.Pre-operative health and bariatric surgeryGeraldine awaits bariatric surgery used to treat people dangerously overweight (NHS Choices 2015 b). The details of the bariatric surgery Geraldine will undergo has not yet been established but it is major surgery with a significant recovery period.Early referral facilitates the OH nurse monitoring and supporting pre- and post-operative support. Following confirmation of surgery details, a rehabilitation plan can be designed involving both employee and manager. This is of importance in order to facilitate Geraldine being fully aware of how her health and wellbeing can be proactively supported.Lanyon et al (2014) investigated the role of good versus poor pre-operative health prior to gastric banding surgery, concluding that pre-operative health status served as a powerful moderator in predicting continued weight loss and many other health variables. Those participants having good pre-operative health and psychological preparation experienced better post-operative outcomes than those lacking this preparation.A supported health education programme for Geraldine will impact positively on her abilities to remain fit for work given her diagnosis of insulin resistance, consequent obesity, pre-operative health and rehabilitation needs.The Valuing People report (Department of Health, 2001) defines a learning disability as a condition that commences before adulthood with a lasting effect on development. It suggests the person has a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information with difficulties learning new skills (impaired intelligence). There is a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social and physical functioning); these mental and physical impairments are covered by the Equality Act (2010). It is established that Geraldine is assessed as and registered disabled as she is in receipt of Personal Independence Payment (previously Disability Living allowance) for working-age adults with a disability.“People with ‘Learning Disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society. Very few have jobs, live in their own home or have choice over who cares for them. This needs to change: people with learning disabilities must no longer be marginalised or excluded” (Department of Health, 2001).Wadell and Burton (2006), within their review Is work good for your health and wellbeing?, concluded that despite the diverse nature of the evidence and limitations considered, there remains strong evidence that work is good for physical and mental health and wellbeing.Geraldine expressed the significance of her work to her and, having achieved employment, it makes it even more important to support her and her manager during this period. She comments that the opportunity to work makes her feel “part of it all” and is essential to promoting her mental health.Although it could be argued that Geraldine’s ill-health may be exacerbated by attending work during this period, and is recognised she may benefit by resting, given her comments, current health status, minimal contracted hours and support available, it is determined there are more benefits associated with attending work than not.By combining clinical knowledge and considerations, an evidenced-based report was prepared for her manager and recommended that:Geraldine should continue to attend work as per her contracted hours with a view to potentially reducing these hours temporarily during her pre-operative stage if necessary and agreed in the future.It is confirmed to Geraldine and her mother that the purpose of occupational health reviews is to focus on supporting her to remain in post and ensure appropriate support is in place during both pre and post-operative phase where her wellbeing may affected.She should be enabled to access the in-house staff health and wellbeing advisory service where the senior nurse conducts one-to-one health and wellbeing awareness with assessment and education around necessary and requested areas of health, including the introduction of a healthy, fresh ready-meal delivery service.Lengthy discussion with Geraldine and her mother recommending to Geraldine that she has assistance and support at her medical appointments. This is not reflective of her ability to be independent but a sensible approach to medical reviews, allowing all parties to partake and share information in the limited time given for such appointments.Geraldine should be driven to work by her father, planning to arrive at work 15 minutes before the start time of her work shift. This will provide opportunities to rest if necessary and prepare for her duties.Geraldine may benefit from support by her line manager to contact and apply for assistance from Access to Work, the Government-led initiative which helps employees with a disability to stay in work. Grants may be available to assist with travel costs on her return to work post-operatively.Geraldine was advised to only attend work when well. She was given information on how to report absences should this be necessary pre- or post-operatively.HR, Geraldine and her line manager should meet and review the sickness and absence procedure triggers during this period and agree any temporary alteration if this was felt appropriate.If Geraldine becomes unwell at work she should inform her line manager and parents immediately to facilitate her collection from work and seek the medical support required.Geraldine will ensure any open wounds/ulcers she may develop will remain covered during duty, otherwise she should refrain from duty.Geraldine’s current risk assessment to be reviewed and further amended in partnership with Geraldine, HR and her line manager.The OHN would contact Geraldine’s GP following her bariatric surgeon review and thereafter post-operatively to request up-to-date information to underpin a return to work recovery strategy.ConclusionHarriss and Cooper (2005) suggest that, to effectively support the employee and assist the employer to fulfill their duties under the Equality Act 2010, the OH nurse requires full knowledge and understanding of the employee’s health needs.This case management review outlines the processes used by the OH nurse in conducting a bio-psycho-social assessment conducive in establishing the employee’s fitness for work with reasonable adjustments which will be repeated once Geraldine’s surgery has been completed.It provides an overview of pathophysiological elements of Geraldine’s health needs; the potential impact on her fitness and safety to work have been presented. The in-depth knowledge held by the OH nurse regarding the organisation, its staff, organisational culture and policies facilitated multidisciplinary support.Central to this were multi-professional approaches involving the OHN, the line manager, HR and other members of the health team. The OH nurse remained an impartial advisor to both employer and employee. Geraldine, her family and line manager were able to continue to access OH in support of a planned and effective return to work strategy.References Black, C and Frost, D (2011) Health at Work, An Independent Review of Sickness Absence. London: Dept of Work and Pensions Department of Health (2001) Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for 21st Century. London: HMSO Kim. J-a, Wei, Y and Sowers, J.R (2008) Role of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Insulin Resistance. Circulation Research. 2008;102: 401-414 Health and Social Care information Centre (2015) Measures from the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework. England: Health and Social Care Information Centre Kloss, D. and Ballard, J. (2012) Discrimination Law and Occupational Health Practice. Barnet: The At Work Partnership. Lanyon, R.I., Maxwell, B.M. and Wershba (2014) The relationship of pre-operative health status to sustained outcome in Gastric By Pass surgery. Obesity Surgery. Vol 24(2), pp 191-196. Lewis, J. and Thornbory, G. (2010) Employment law and occupational health: A practical handbook 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Marieb, E.N. and Hoehn, K. (2010) Human Anatomy and Physiology, 8th ed. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings Muralitharan, N. and Peate, I. (2013) Fundamentals of applied pathophysiology: an essential guide for nursing and healthcare. Chicester: Wiley-Black Murugiah, S., Thornbory, G. and Harriss, A. (2002) Assessment of fitness. Available from http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/assessment-of-fitness/ National Health Service (2016) How ‘Mental Capacity’ is determined. Available from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/Pages/mental-capacity.aspx#mentalcapacity NHS Choices (2015 a) Body Mass Index : Health Weight Calculator. Available from http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx NHS Choices (2015 b) Weight Loss Surgery. Available from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/weight-loss-surgery/Pages/Introduction.aspx Accessed Ogdegaard, J. and Chawla, A. (2012) Adipose Tissue Metabloism in the Obese. Available from http://www.thescientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/33653/title/Adipose-Tissue-Metabolism-in-the-Obese/ Redinger, R.N. (2007) Obesity and It’s Clinical Manifestations. Gasteroenterl Hepatol (N Y). Vol 3 (11), pp856-863 Wadell, G. and Burton, K. (2006) Is work good for your health and wellbeing? London:TSO Wadell, G., Burton, K., Kendal, N.A.S (2008) Vocational rehabilitation: what work for whom and when? Norwich:TSO World Health Organization (WHO) (2006) Fact Sheet No.312 Diabetes. Geneva:WHO
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink TagsAffordable HousingGowanusRental Marketsoho Message* Email Address* Open New York’s Will Thomas and Kyle Dontoh (Photos via Getty; iStock: Open New York)It was a Wednesday night in April 2019, and Will Thomas was outnumbered.Only two other members of pro-housing group Open New York had made it to a public meeting about the future of Soho, which most attendees wanted to remain unchanged.Still, Thomas gamely took the microphone and declared that Soho should build more housing, especially affordable housing. That’s when the booing started.When he finished, someone cursed at him. Another called him a zealot.“After I sat down, one woman told me that if I wanted to live in Soho, I needed to make more money, and otherwise, too bad,” the 27-year-old recalled.Members of Open New York — the city’s only grassroots, yes-in-my-back-yard (or yimby) group — want the city to build its way out of the housing crisis, a viewpoint that can generate hostility at public hearings. Unlike housing activists who back subsidies, rent control or community land trusts, pro-development advocates have long lacked a safe space in city politics, as Thomas’s experience in Soho showed.But in recent months, Open New York’s call to add as much housing as possible in well-off neighborhoods has started to resonate. Behind the scenes, the organization is professionalizing its operation as it prepares for the biggest year in its five-year history, with two major rezonings — in Soho and Gowanus — up for approval.And it has made fans of people like John Sanchez, a Bronx community board district manager and City Council candidate. Open New York helps educate people about making housing affordable, he said, adding, “Supply and demand is a good place to start.”Showdown in SohoUntil recently, Thomas shared a one-bedroom in the East Village with two roommates (one has since moved to Bushwick). A fellow board member, Casey Berkovitz, 28, has lived in five apartments in three neighborhoods in four years.Casey Berkovitz, Open New YorkThe travails of its members in the city’s bruising housing market have led Open New York to push for affordability in a city where rent has grown four times faster than income and there are two low-income households for every one dwelling they can afford.But the group’s supply-oriented solution inflames passions in Soho and other wealthy areas it has targeted. For years it was largely ignored by City Hall.The political winds, though, are shifting in the group’s favor.This fall, with 15 months left in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, Open New York was preparing a last-ditch effort to put rezoning Soho on the agenda. But to its delight, the Department of City Planning finally released a proposal for the neighborhood in October, with the backing of the mayor himself. The plan, which faces an up-or-down City Council vote this summer, would trigger development of up to 3,200 new residential units, 800 of them affordable.Open New York pivoted, calling for even more housing — and girding for its most contentious clash yet.Preservationists in Soho are battle-tested, bearing scars from such fights as NYU’s expansion and a tech hub championed by the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations. In the 1950s, their predecessors triumphed over Robert Moses’ plan for an expressway that would have run smack through Washington Square Park.But this time, as Open New York members see it, the gatekeepers of Soho and Noho are on the wrong side of history. For residents who benefit from elite public schools, immaculate parks and access to good jobs to oppose zoning changes that would let lower earners share their good fortune is “fundamentally selfish,” Thomas said.Unlike other yimby groups across the country, Open New York does not advocate for building everywhere. Its members are firm believers that adding supply would reduce the cost of housing, but know that notion has been increasingly rejected in low-income, minority neighborhoods.“We do not engage in working-class communities of color,” said Berkovitz.A former resident of San Francisco, Berkovitz feels the West Coast yimby movement has focused too exclusively on affordability at the expense of diversity and environmentalism.“The integration and sustainability cases for building more [urban] housing are just as compelling, if not more so, than affordability,” he said, noting that housing groups in Minneapolis and Oregon have also prioritized racial and climate justice.“Yimbys are known as being from the West Coast,” Thomas said on recent morning in Soho, where outdoor dining cabins had replaced throngs of tourists. “But Manhattan rent has been pretty high for a long time.”Unlike its left-coast counterparts, Open New York only advocates for new housing in better-off neighborhoods. Besides Soho, Noho and Gowanus, the group is pushing to rezone the South Street Seaport area and Prospect Heights.True to its strategy, it was silent on de Blasio-backed Bushwick and South Bronx rezoning proposals, both of which were killed last year by City Council members.Muddy watersThe group is fighting a similar battle in Gowanus, where the de Blasio administration is trying to push an even larger rezoning through the City Council.In the Brooklyn neighborhood, a mixed-use area where residents have relatively high incomes, rezoning could bring 8,000 new apartments, 3,000 of them affordable, in place of defunct, low-rise industrial buildings strewn with rusty scrap metal.A view of the Gowanus Canal (Getty)In addition to bringing in new housing, the rezoning would accelerate an environmental upgrade. The neighborhood’s eponymous canal, once the busiest commercial waterway in the country but now a polluted eyesore, is being cleaned up. Under the city’s plan, it would be adorned with a developer-funded esplanade.To Open New York, such a plan is like red meat to a pack of hungry wolves. And its message on Gowanus is clear and unified: upzone and build.Opponents of the rezoning, by contrast, mix predictions of the neighborhood being overwhelmed by newcomers with doubts that the new units will fill up.“The canal will never be clean,” said Nora Almeida, a CUNY librarian and representative of Voice of Gowanus, an environmental group against the rezoning.She questions whether anyone should live near the foul waterway, noting that adding residents could worsen pollution. When it rains, raw sewage flows directly into the canal because the city’s pipes cannot handle the water from the sky and effluent from toilet-flushers at the same time.While city officials work on that problem, Open New York members say that adding population to places like Gowanus as progress on climate change.“Moving to New York City is probably the single best thing someone can do for the environment,” said Thomas, alluding to Gotham’s per capita carbon footprint being 30 percent that of the U.S. average.Academic research supports Open New York’s cause. Building affordable housing in wealthy neighborhoods makes what Harvard economist Raj Chetty calls “high-opportunity areas” accessible to people who would most benefit from them.Studies have shown that when children get to live in areas with good jobs, transit, and low rates of crime and poverty, their likelihood of attending college increases and their total lifetime earnings grow by $200,000 for each year they live there.This advocacy strategy aligns Open New York’s interests with those who oppose upzoning in minority communities — a powerful combination that could push the Gowanus and Soho plans across the finish line.The strategy also helps Open New York dodge the most charged word in real estate: gentrification.The median income in Soho is about $150,000. It is already gentrified. Who could object to development that allows lower-earning New Yorkers to live there?Andrew Berman, for one.Andrew Berman, Village PreservationWhen Open New York members discuss opponents of upzoning, Berman enters the conversation as the archetypal nimby (not-in-my-backyard) foe. As executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Berman spends about $1 million annually to celebrate and preserve the status quo, with most funds coming from his well-heeled, well-organized membership.By comparison, Open New York has an annual budget of a few thousand dollars, no staff and no formal membership. It has an email list of about 800, a Slack channel with about 300 and a monthly meeting that draws several dozen participants.Berman thinks the yimbys are Ayn Rand’s spawn, practicing “ivory tower economics.” They, in turn, view Berman as a defender of the selfish and privileged — folks for whom affordable housing means people should live in neighborhoods they can afford.“It’s reprehensible,” Thomas said.Berman says Noho and Greenwich Village preservationists are “against zoning changes which would be detrimental to the neighborhood’s character.” He opposes the taller, denser buildings that would be allowed by the mayor’s plans for Soho and Noho, especially commercial ones.Open New York doesn’t want office towers either, but for a different reason — it wants apartments.The group wants the city to reduce the allowed size of commercial buildings in its plans, making mixed-income housing a more lucrative alternative.“We think there is a risk the city is making high-density commercial buildings too attractive,” Thomas said.Professionalizing advocacyCoalition partners and a persuasive argument can win a policy war in New York, but resources help. To that end, Open New York is trying to close the financial chasm with groups like Berman’s. It completed its first real fundraising drive in October, banking $70,000 in cash — a paltry sum for a citywide group and less than half of Berman’s salary, but enough to start advertising for an executive director (target salary: $80,000 to $90,000). Membership dues are also in the works.Mayoral candidate Kathryn GarciaThe group plans to register as a 501(c)4 social welfare organization, which allows participation in political campaigns. It sent questionnaires to 2021 candidates for mayor and other offices and in mid December issued its first endorsements, backing eight City Council contenders, including Sanchez. On Dec. 29, the group hosted a virtual Q & A with mayoral contender Kathryn Garcia.To its detractors, Open New York remains a conundrum. Most assume it is a tentacle of the real estate lobby and motivated by principal, not principle.“It has to be connected to developers,” said Almeida, the Gowanus activist. Berman believes that Open New York, as much as it claims to care about housing, shills for developers who would build retail space. (Berman’s preservation group does have a connection to brokers, helping them meet licensing requirements through courses about historical preservation.)Kathryn Wylde, CEO of Partnership for New York CityBut Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the business organization Partnership for New York City, cautioned that people should not leap to conclusions. “Groups can represent the interests of people you wouldn’t expect,” she said, alluding to Open New York and perhaps her own entity. “That happens sometimes in New York.”One founder of the group, Ben Carlos Thypin, does come from a real estate family. In 2015, Thypin started a distressed assets data firm and became an industrial broker. For the fledgling pro-housing group, he said, a question arose: Where would its members and funding come from?“The easiest thing would have been for Open New York to harvest my contacts in real estate,” Thypin said. “But we decided against it.”Thypin stepped away from the group as other leaders emerged. Today a recusal policy mitigates conflicts of interest among real estate professionals who join.“Let’s make something very clear,” said board member Kyle Dontoh, 26. “We don’t take any money from real estate lobbyists, REBNY, or developers who are working on projects we advocate for.”A spokesperson for the Real Estate Board of New York said it has not worked with Open New York and does not know how it operates.Thypin said unlike Open New York, the industry is actually divided over new development. Limiting new housing increases prices, benefiting property owners and brokers. “Brokers are not the most civically engaged people,” Thypin said.There is no apparent division in Open New York, with its resolute support for adding housing in high-opportunity areas. In addition to the Soho and Gowanus rezonings, the group has advocated for 80 Flatbush Avenue, a mixed-use skyscraper at the edge of Boerum Hill that was approved in 2018; Haven Green, a controversial senior affordable housing development in Nolita; and 250 Water Street, which would bring affordable apartments to the South Street Seaport.Almeida calls rezoning a “neoliberal” approach, but Thomas sees it as a throttle to speed the creation of housing.“Rezoning is a tool the city has,” said Thomas. “It’s imperfect, but we recognize it’s also very effective.”The next nine months or so will reveal whether the same can be said for Open New York.Contact Orion Jones Full Name* Share via Shortlink