Uncategorised This Month’s Insight Into The Spring Budget, Disability, Inclusivity & Over 50’s Getting Back To Work

March 2023. By Kimberly Bradshaw (CEO, Spotlight HR.)

March saw the Chancellor’s spring budget announced, which covered some interesting workplace changes, including much around disability and inclusivity – and getting the over 50s back to work – so we will take a closer look at this today. Also, with disability and inclusion in the workplace increasingly in the headlights, the tribunal this month is focusing on exactly this.

These themes of disability, employee support and inclusion are becoming ever more dominant in workplaces of all sizes – and so we are keeping a close eye on what this means for our SMEs from an HR perspective. You can find a host of Spotlight HR blogs covering these topics here, and for any further advice, you know where we are!

The Spring Budget – Six takeaways for SMEs

Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, delivered his spring budget back on the 15th of March, with the primary mantra of getting Britain ‘back into work’. So how exactly do his four pillars for growth, enterprise, employment, education and everywhere – impact SMEs? Let’s take a closer look.


1.      Helping disabled people back into work

With Zoom and homeworking now more prevalent, those with long-term sickness or disability could be better supported to work. Here they are proposing £4,000 per person to find suitable roles. Alongside this are a raft of promised disability benefit reforms. The onus will be on workplaces to be ‘accessible and inclusive’ for all.

2.      Extra occupational support for SMEs

Extra support is suggested in the workplace to ensure people with mental health or pain issues, get the help they need to remain at work. A promised £406m has been earmarked to tackle this – with potential double funding for SMEs mentioned.

3.     Apprenticeships for the over 50s

Getting older workers back to work was also on the menu, with a new type of apprenticeship for the over 50s, called ‘returnerships.’ With flexible working, private health schemes may make up part of this return to work package.

4.      Retain the highly skilled by lowering pensions tax

Here Hunt announced an increase to the tax-free annual allowance from £40,000 to £60,000 to keep skilled workers in the workplace for longer.

5.      Reducing childcare costs to support working parents

Hunt announced 30 hours of free childcare for every child over the age of nine months for working parents – but this will not be available until September 2025, and then only be phased in. But this could be a turning point for working parents.

6.      Raising corporation tax to boost investment

For those companies with more than £250,000 in profits in April, will see a hike in corporation tax from 19-25 per cent. In addition, though, every £1 spent on IT equipment and machinery can be deducted from all taxable profits.

The XpertHR survey is now available – Reporting the latest in HR company focus

The HR profession’s key metrics, including the ratio of HR practitioners to employees, top priorities for the upcoming year, and how HR is allocating its time – are all detailed in this year’s XpertHR survey, with the key takeaways being:

  • The median ratio of employees to HR staff members has shifted slightly from 1:55 in 2022 to 1:62, indicating a small increase in the workload of HR professionals.
  • HR staff in managerial roles dropped to a median of 40% from 50% in 2022.
  • Median HR department costs rose slightly to £1,126 per employee, covering salaries, training, recruitment costs for HR, and HR information systems.
  • Average HR activity costs per employee rose to £1,814 in 2023 from £1,610 in 2022, covering running costs, staff training, recruitment, and other activities.


Employment Tribunal in focus Epileptic factory worker unfairly dismissed

This month’s tribunal follows an interesting case that outlines the need for thorough HR procedures when supporting people with disabilities in the workplace.

A factory worker who experienced multiple seizures whilst at work and following an Occupational Health (OH) report, was deemed to be unfit for work and dismissed.

Whilst his GP reported that he should not operate heavy machinery at work due to his epilepsy, there were discrepancies in both reports regarding his seizures.

The tribunal uncovered that the employee wasn’t warned that the OH report might bring his employment to an end, nor was he given a ‘formal written warning’, nor were alternative roles within the factory properly considered as per the risk assessment advice.

The worker was awarded £15,269.63 for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

This is a reminder to employers to make reasonable adjustments when supporting disability in the workplace.  Especially in light of the new budget guidelines mentioned above. Need HR advice? Please do get in touch.


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