As the cost-of-living crisis intensifies and the likelihood of a recession looms, it may be worthwhile for employers to give some thought to the issues this may bring to the workplace, and how this may impact their employees.
There are some more obvious issues arising from the cost-of-living crisis; for example, the adverse effect it may have on employees’ mental health, which may in turn adversely affect an employee’s performance at work. As with any mental health issues suspected or raised by an employee, employers need to be mindful of whether this may constitute a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. This confers additional obligations on employers not only in prohibiting less favourable treatment but also in respect of making reasonable adjustments.
In addition to this, there may be some less obvious issues to consider, such as:-
- Employees may request to work from home more often, to save on the costs of commuting to and from their place of work. Conversely, employees may wish to work in the office on a full-time basis to avoid the additional electricity costs of running computer equipment and heating their home during their working hours.
- Dress codes may not be adhered to if employees are not in a financial position to buy new office attire due to the increased costs of their other financial commitments.
- Financial Struggles may cause employees to resort to (perhaps uncharacteristically) desperate measures, such as attempting to fraudulently claim expenses, or even committing theft from their employer.
- Employees may take up a second job to meet their increased outgoings, which they may be contractually required to seek their employer’s consent to, and which also gives rise to working time issues.
Employers should therefore consider the potential issues associated with the cost-of-living crisis. If you would like any more information about these issues, or how the cost-of-living crisis may affect your business in general, then you can contact the Glaisyers ETL employment team.