Global HR headlines: Sexual harassment NDAs, Australia jobless rate increases

WHO and ILO study reveals that two million people die from work-related causes annually.

UK MP proposes law to stop employers from gagging victims of sexual harassment through NDAs, while Australia notes increase in unemployment rate as a result of lockdowns. Gartner survey finds that the ongoing push towards remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans in 2021 has exacerbated IT talent scarcity, and two million people die from work-related causes yearly.  

UK MP questions sexual harassment NDAs

A senior Conservative UK MP has proposed a law that would stop “scurrilous” employers using gagging orders to silence victims of sexual harassment.

Maria Miller, a former chair of the select committee on women and equalities, said employers were being allowed to “conceal unlawful wrongdoing” through the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

NDAs are intended to prevent former employees leaking confidential or sensitive information but Miller cautioned that they were also used to “silence the disclosure of wrongdoing experienced at work”, reports The Guardian.

Australia notes dip in employment

Australian employment dived in August as Covid-19 lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne forced businesses to lay off workers and cut hours, while the jobless rate was nudged lower by a sharp fall in the number of people looking for work.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed employment fell by 146,000 in August, compared to median forecasts of a drop of 90,000, reports Reuters.

The unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent, having already fallen to 4.6 percent in July with lockdowns impacting the data. 

Remote work has exacerbated IT talent scarcity

The ongoing push towards remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans in 2021 has exacerbated IT talent scarcity, especially for sourcing skills that enable cloud and edge, automation and continuous delivery, according to Yinuo Geng, research vice president at Gartner.

Talent availability is cited as a leading factor inhibiting adoption among computer infrastructure and platform services, network, security, digital workplace, IT automation and storage and database.

IT executives cited talent availability as the main adoption risk factor for the majority of IT automation technologies (75 percent) and nearly half of digital workplace technologies (41 percent), reports The Economic Times.

Nearly two million people die from work-related causes annually

Nearly two million people die from work-related causes each year, including from illnesses associated with long working hours and air pollution, according to a study by the World Health Organisation and International Labour Organisation.

The first assessment of its kind found that work-related diseases and injuries were responsible for the deaths of 1.9 million people in 2016. The study considers 19 occupational risk factors including long working hours but also workplace exposure to air pollution, asthmagens, carcinogens and noise, reports Reuters.

It showed that a disproportionate number of work-related deaths occurred in workers in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific, in males, and in those over 54 years of age.