Nationwide to learn from staff surveys

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Nationwide is to analyse its employee and customer surveys and businessperformance figures to find which factors affecting staff satisfaction have thebiggest impact on the bottom line. Tony Houchen, senior manager for personnel planning at the building society,said it plans to link the findings of employee satisfaction survey to customersatisfaction and bottom-line performance to find out where to concentrateresources. “If we can focus our efforts as an HR function on those areas which aremost important for our employees but also benefit our membership and businessperformance, that is going to give us the pay-back,” he said. John Wrighthouse, head of personnel planning and development for Nationwide,said it also wants to establish a database with survey specialist ORCInternational to compare its staff satisfaction surveys with other ORC clients.Last year, Nationwide analysed five years’ worth of staff surveys, and foundthat base pay is more important to them than benefits. As a result, it alteredpay structure so staff could move from the minimum to maximum level in threeyears, rather than seven to nine. Previous Article Next Article Nationwide to learn from staff surveysOn 15 May 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Firms do not value skills learnt in voluntary work

first_imgFirms do not value skills learnt in voluntary workOn 20 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Employers are failing to recognise the skills that job candidates haveacquired by doing voluntary work overseas, a report claims. Research by Demos and VSO shows that despite the current skills shortages, manyjob applicants are being overlooked by employers when they return fromvolunteering abroad. Employers often view the time spent out of the UK as wasted, when in fact itdevelops a range of skills, including communication, adaptability and strategicthinking, claims the report, Human Traffic. Report author Gillian Thomas said, “Most employers overlooked theseskills because they don’t see volunteering as career-building. We also foundthat overseas experience isn’t considered as valuable as UK experience.” Volunteer work abroad also develops awareness of global issues, culturalidiosyncrasies, language skills, religious understanding and the ability toadapt to environments, claims the report. On returning to the UK ex-volunteers have more advanced interpersonal andbudgeting skills than their contemporaries, but often end up taking reducedresponsibility and remuneration. Thomas said, “The public sector seemed to be more positive aboutvolunteering, but less able to integrate it into their organisations. Therewere even cases of people being demoted on their return. She called on HR professionals to incorporate volunteering into careerdevelopment. She said, “There is a real opportunity for HR to be flexiblein the way people progress and in letting them explain the skills they havelearnt.” Ross Wigham Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

In brief

first_imgIn briefOn 11 Dec 2001 in Personnel Today This week’s news in briefFathers’ equal rights Almost half of adults believe fathers should have the same employment rightsas mothers, according to a report. More than a third of the 1,000 peoplesurveyed for research by Key Note also think employers which incorporatefamily-friendly policies are more likely to be able to recruit and retainquality employees. Ten per cent of people without children find family-friendlypolicies an annoyance. rises at 3 per cent Next year’s annual pay rises will be around 3 per cent, according toresearch by Income Data Services. The figure is lower than this year’s growth,but still ahead of anticipated headline inflation. Four out of 10 pay dealssince October are worth less than 3 per cent compared with a quarter from theprevious six months. Year strike threat Royal Bank of Scotland staff are being balloted on strike action north ofthe border over holiday entitlement in the New Year. The dispute revolves around a claim by finance union Unifi that the bank isrefusing to give staff the day off on 2 January, which is a Scottish BankHoliday.’s new web guide The Health and Safety Executive has produced a web-based guide to measuringhealth and safety performance. The guide is aimed at companies that understandthe principles of h&s management and want to improve the approach tomeasuring performance. in union dispute The BBC has failed to take notice of new labour laws giving increasedholiday rights to freelance workers, according to broadcast union Bectu. A toplevel meeting between Bectu and the BBC is being arranged to try and settle thedispute over the new laws which state that all workers are eligible for holidaypay as soon as they start with an employer, regardless of contractual position. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Case round up

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Welcometo our new-look case round up. Each month our resident experts from PinsentCurtis Biddle will bring you a comprehensive update on all the latest decisionsthat could affect your organisation, and advice on what to do about them Ashford School and others v Nixon and others (EAT/666/00) * * *EAT gives guidance on election of employee representatives A decision that the employer had not properly informed and consultedemployees affected by a TUPE transfer was overturned on appeal. The transferoccurred before the introduction of new consultation rules in 1999. The ‘oldrules’ applied and these did not give Nixon a right to complain as she was notan employee representative. However, the EAT considered that Nixon would have succeeded under the revisedprovisions, which include strict rules for the election of employeerepresentatives and allow any affected employee to complain about the election.This decision helps to clarify these new standards. Key PointsThis case is a good example of how not to conduct an election. Criticismsincluded: – Not all affected employees had the opportunity to stand. Some were absenton the relevant dates or could not attend a meeting at short notice. – The election process was rushed. It took just two days, but should havetaken at least a week to allow letters to be sent to absent employees, allowingthem to stand and to vote. – Not all employees received ballot papers. – Candidates had insufficient time to campaign and take advice. – At the time of the election, employees were not aware the transfer wouldinvolve redundancies, so they did not fully appreciate the nature of the rolethey were standing or voting for. What you should do Take care to comply with the statutory rules on elections – protective awardscan run to 90 days’ pay per affected employee. – When planning changes which attract a duty to consult, allow time forproper elections. Rushing to meet deadlines to start consultation could meandangerous corner-cutting. Initial Contract Services Limited v Harrison (EAT/641/01), EAT * * * EAT adopts controversial approach to whether TUPE applied in contractchangeover Initial lost a cleaning contract to a new provider. The tribunal concludedTUPE did not apply. The workers employed on the Initial contract variedsignificantly and the work done by the cleaners changed over the years to meetthe client’s needs, so there was no stable economic entity but merely a groupof employees carrying out a part of Initial’s business controlled by thecentral organisation. Key pointsThe application of TUPE to contractor changeovers is full of uncertainty andconflicting case law. This case adds to that controversy by reviving therequirement that the transferor’s undertaking is a stable economic entity, aconcept introduced by the European Court of Justice in the Rygaard case butrejected by the EAT in 1999 in Argyll Training Limited v Sinclair(EAT/1406/99), when it held Rygaard should not be generally applied and theconcept of stability was not relevant to contractor changeovers for service.But this decision is less controversial if viewed merely as a case where therewas no dedicated workforce assigned to the contract. What you should do This is thought to be a flawed judgement and it should be safe to assume itwill not be followed in other cases on the “stable economic entity”point. However, if you are in any doubt about the application of TUPE, it isessential to obtain legal advice. This is a complex area where the wrongapproach can result in expensive liabilities for either the outgoing orincoming contractors. Ministry of Defence v Carvey (EAT/202/00) * * * TUPE held not to apply on contracting in – the first “good”reason for not taking on the old contractor’s workforce? The Ministry of Defence terminated a contract with Rentokil for guarding anarmy camp and took the service back in-house. No assets transferred and the MoDdid not take on the ten security guards employed by Rentokil. The EAT heldthere was no TUPE transfer. First, there was an overriding economic reason fornot taking on the guards and, second, the MoD wished to employ armed guards, adifferent category from those employed by Rentokil. Key pointsIn the Suzen case [1997] IRLR 255, the ECJ held no transfer occurs where noassets or employees move on a contractor changeover. But domestic tribunalshave been reluctant to apply this rule. In ECM v Cox [1999] IRLR 559, the Courtof Appeal held the reason the new contractor did not take on the outgoingcontractor’s workforce was important. Here, the MoD was held to have “anoverriding economic reason”. This is a slightly adventurous decision. Mosttransferees will have an economic reason for not taking employees on, if onlythat they are too expensive. A ‘better’ reason for not taking the employees onwas the different kind of guard that the MoD wanted to employ. What you should do Treat this case with care. Each case will depend on its facts and thisdecision lays down no general rule as to what counts as a good reason for nottaking on the old contractor’s staff. MSF v Refuge Assurance plc and Other (EAT /1371/99) * * * * A decision on redundancy consultation with worrying implications for thepublic sector and privatised utilities The union claimed that the employers had not consulted in good time whenmaking redundancies following a merger. That claim was rejected by both thetribunal and the EAT. The union argued that under the Collective Redundancies Directive, the dutyto consult is triggered when collective redundancies are”contemplated”, not when they are “proposed” (the wordingused in section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act1992). It said that s188 should be interpreted in line with the Directive torequire consultation at an earlier stage, before the employer draws up itsproposals. But the EAT rejected this – it said “proposes” refers to a laterstage in the decision-making process than “contemplates” and the twowords could not be reconciled. Key PointsEuropean directives cannot generally have direct effect on private sectoremployers like the ones in this case. But they can be enforced against”emanations of the State”, which would include local authorities, NHStrusts and the former privatised utilities. Given the EAT’s interpretation ofthe Directive, this could place such employers under a different duty toconsult from that in s188. Unlike TULRCA, the directive does not have minimum consultation periods, nordoes it say there must be 20 or more dismissals at one establishment. It saysconsultation must be in good time with a view to reaching an agreement. So,once the employer contemplates redundancies, it must consider how long it mighttake to reach agreement on how to avoid the redundancies, reduce their numberor minimise their impact. It must then ensure consultation begins at least thatfar in advance. What you should do Private sector employers can formulate their proposals unilaterally beforestarting consultation. But ensure consultation begins in good time, before anyfirm decision is made, and at least 30 or 90 days before the first dismissaltakes effect, depending on the numbers involved. Public sector employers and others providing public services should be awarethey are vulnerable to arguments, based on the Directive, that they mustconsult whenever they envisage 20 or more redundancies, regardless of wherethey are. Also consider consulting earlier than required under s188 to avoidclaims that consultation did not start in good time. Edited by John McMullen and Christopher Mordue Case of the month, by Christopher MordueWorkers on sick entitled to annual leaveKigass Aero Components v Brown(EAT /481/00)* * * * * A controversial decision, with major practical implications, onentitlements to paid annual leave during sickness absenceThe EAT ruled that workers can takepaid annual leave under the Working Time Regulations even if they are absent onsick leave on the days claimed as holiday.The applicant was on long-term sick leave and had exhausted hisentitlement to sick pay. He requested annual leave on days covered by hissickness certificates. The EAT held that he was entitled to do so – nothing inthe Regulations requires leave to be taken only if the worker would otherwisehave been at work. Key pointsAll workers are entitled to four weeks’ paid annual leave under theRegulations. The EAT stressed workers are only entitled to take leave if theygive proper the notice under Regulation 15. The employer can give counternotice (again within specific time periods) preventing the leave being taken onthe days requested. These notice provisions can be excluded or varied in theworker’s contract. An employer cannot refuse a request if doing so means theworker could not exercise their full entitlement under the Regulations in thatleave year.What you should do Consider whether the worker is likely to be off sick for the rest of theleave year. Even if they are not receiving company sick pay, they are entitledto four weeks’ paid annual leave in each leave year as long as it is properlyrequested. However, while you cannot deny this entitlement, you can determinewhen the leave is taken. If the worker is likely to return before the leave yearis up, you could postpone leave until they come back, provided there will thenbe enough time in the leave year to take the full statutory entitlement. Thisavoids having to pay them during the sickness absence.– Bear in mind the ruling may also apply to other types ofunpaid leave, such as additional maternity leave.– Remember the decision only applies to statutory minimum leaveunder the Regulations, not to any additional contractual leave.– Consider using the employee’s contract to vary the notice provisionslaid down in the Regulations. Lengthening the notice period might make itharder to take holiday during shorter periods of sick leave. – Weigh up the cost of providing the holiday during sicknessabsence against the fact that the worker will have less holiday to take whenthey return.Star ratings* Our rating system is designed to help busy HR professionalsprioritise their reading. Does this ruling have immediate implications for yourpractices and policies? Is it a one-off decision based on unusual facts? Or isit one to keep an eye on as it goes to appeal? Case round up will help youdecide. Each case is rated from one to five stars; the more essential it isthat you know about it, the more stars it will have. Case round upOn 1 Apr 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Council revamps flexible working

first_imgNottingham City Council has introduced a new flexible working policy in abid to boost staff recruitment and retention and reduce traffic in the citycentre. The policy has been developed following a six-month, £80,000 pilot schemeinvolving approximately 50 staff from across the authority who tested homeworking, going to work on-site and a combination of the two. Staff on the pilot reported feeling less stressed, more in control of theirworkload, more trusted and more motivated. They also reported they were better able to balance operational andstrategic job demands and were more productive. Andrea Shea, an HR consultant working in the authority’s central personnelteam, who led the pilot scheme, said there was also evidence that theinitiative will help recruitment and retention. Two workers withdrew requests to resign after taking part in the flexibleworking pilot. Shea said the new policy also helped the council to comply with theEmployment Act, which came into force in April, giving workers with youngchildren the right to request flexible working arrangements. “We are offering all employees the right to ask to work at home andhave the request considered. But obviously there are some jobs you just can’tdo at home,” she said. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Council revamps flexible workingOn 3 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Government’s Taylor Review response comes up short for OH

first_img It is not all about employment but better salaries to raise the living standard of everyone. This will then bring about genuine happiness and the total wellbeing of the individual. The working conditions must also be lucrative. Government’s Taylor Review response comes up short for OHBy Nic Paton on 6 Apr 2018 in Gig economy, Sickness absence management, Occupational Health, Wellbeing and health promotion, Personnel Today Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website Previous Article Next Article Much of the meat of the Taylor Review’s recommendations into evolving models of working, including the “gig” economy, have been out to further consultation. Richard Gardner/REX/Shutterstock The Government’s long-awaited response to Matthew Taylor’s Review of Modern Working Practices made a lot of positive noises, but was short on any detail as to how the health and wellbeing of “gig” and precarious economy workers can be better protected and supported. Nic Paton reports.“We want to embrace new ways of working, and to do so we will be one of the first countries to prepare our employment rules to reflect the new challenges.”So said business secretary Greg Clark in February, unveiling the Government’s long-awaited response to last summer’s Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.But will it? Is the UK really set to become a pioneer of innovative regulatory frameworks that can more effectively respond to rapidly-changing, technologically-driven, self-employment and “gig”-based models of employment? And, given that the Taylor Review made a number of important recommendations around health and wellbeing, including around access to sick pay and support for return to work following illness or injury, what sort of changes can occupational health practitioners expect as a result?Unfortunately, the short answer is “we really just don’t know yet”. This is because, while the document Good Work: a response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, made a lot of very positive noises around health and wellbeing – and essentially accepted all Taylor’s recommendations in full – it also took a “kick the can” approach to a lot of the detail.After an in-depth, Government-commissioned review and six months of waiting, no fewer than four further consultations were announced within the response. These will close in May and early June and will gather views on Matthew Taylor’s recommendations around the enforcement of employment rights, the employment of agency workers, “increasing transparency between employers and individuals in the UK labour market”, and how to make the employment status rules for employment rights and tax clearer for individuals and businesses alike.Moreover, much of what was announced around health, safety and wellbeing has, it is clear, now been wrapped into work outlined within the Government’s Improving Lives: the future of work, health and disability document published last November, the final shape of which is also still not yet clear.The Taylor ReviewLack of action on gig economy workers’ rights criticised – Personnel …Taylor review: Government pledges to enforce day-one rights for …How gig economy compromises health and wellbeing of workers …So, what’s the low-down? Let’s look in turn at some of Taylor’s key recommendations around health and wellbeing (paraphrased in bold), and the Government’s response.That the Government place equal importance on the quality of work as the quantity, by making the business secretary responsible for quality of work in the British economy.The Government conceded broad agreement here – something that could, of course, potentially have positive ramifications for workplace health and wellbeing and “good” work if it becomes backed by consistent action and focus. “The Government agrees that equal importance should be placed on the quality and quantity of work,” said the response document.However, it also argued this was something that had already been addressed in its industrial strategy, published in December, which outlined that the business secretary “accepts responsibility for ‘good work’ and will lead work in Government, and with business, to promote the delivery of better jobs.”That the Government create a new category of worker, “dependent contractors”, or people who are eligible for worker rights but who are not employees.This was perhaps the headline recommendation of the Taylor Review, and is alas one of those where the answer is “we’ll get back to you” via the further consultations. As the Government cautioned: “Employment status is an important and complex issue that is central to both the employment rights system and the tax system, and so any potential changes need to be considered carefully.“It is important that any action the Government takes preserves flexibility in our labour market, does not impose unnecessary burdens on businesses, and does not create an adverse impact on the ability of those in the UK labour market to work, or how they work.”That the Government make it a statutory requirement for both employees and dependent contractors to receive a written statement on day one of their job outlining basic matters such as the name of the employer, place of work, hours of work, and pay including holiday pay, sick pay and pension.This the Government emphasised it completely accepted, stressing it “will extend the right to written particulars to all workers.” However, in the next breath it added: “We are consulting on how best to achieve this and what information this statement should include.”However, Beverley Sunderland, managing director of Crossland Employment Solicitors, has questioned the extent to which sick pay is likely to be extended to all workers. When the Good Work plan was announced, some interpreted that all workers, including those on casual contracts, would receive sick pay and holiday pay from their first day of employment.However, as Sunderland explained, the consultations suggest this was not quite the case. “The only ‘entitlement’ to sick pay is statutory sick pay and that is only available to employees and not workers. There is no proposal to change this in the consultation documents,” she has pointed out.That the Government should identify a set of measures against which it will evaluate success, reporting annually on the quality of work on offer in the UK.The Government again made clear it broadly accepted this principle. It highlighted the importance and value of reporting on reporting on wellbeing, safety and security, including considering things such as individual physical and mental health, satisfaction at work, inclusiveness, support for people with disabilities, and opportunities to develop healthier lifestyle behaviours.But it repeated that much of this had already been covered in the industrial strategy. In terms of detail, the plan was now that “over the coming months we will open up a dialogue with business, unions and other experts to discuss which measures best evaluate these principles.” The aim is to publish a final list of measures outlining a basement assessment by the autumn.That HM Revenue and Customs should take responsibility for enforcing the basic set of core pay rights that apply to all workers – the National Minimum Wage, sick pay and holiday pay for the lowest paid workers.The Government, again, conceded it fully accepted the principle here, namely that of “the state taking responsibility for enforcing these rights on behalf of the most vulnerable workers.” But, once again, the aim is to consult further on “the scale and distribution of non-compliance with holiday pay and statutory sick pay obligations, and then evaluate the best way to target enforcement activity”.That the Government should reform Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) so that it is explicitly a basic employment right, comparable to the National Minimum Wage, for which all workers are eligible regardless of income from day one. This should be payable by the employer and should be accrued on length of service, in a similar way to paid holiday currently.Here the Government made it clear that reform of SSP is being considered as part of the Improving Lives document. “As part of this, we have committed to bring forward a consultation on changes to SSP to better enable phased return to work, before introducing this reform. The Government will fully consider these issues in the round as part of wider work on how to achieve the appropriate balance of incentives and expectations for employers,” it said.The Government’s Work and Health Unit (a joint unit of the departments of Health and Social Care and Work and Pensions) will also “run a comprehensive programme of analysis and research examining the wider framework within which employers make their decisions and will report back on preliminary work later this year”, it added.That individuals should have the right to return to the same job after a period of prolonged ill health. This right to return should be conditional on engagement with the Fit for Work service when an assessment has been recommended.The Taylor Review was published back in July last year, well before the Government announced in its Improving Lives document in November that it intended to wind up the Fit for Work service this year. Therefore, that element of Taylor’s recommendation had already been superseded.In its response, the Government argued protections for individuals returning to work after a period of prolonged ill health required “further thought”. How engagement with occupational health services can better support return to work is, again, something being considered as part of the Improving Lives workstream, with the initial findings of an expert review into OH expected during 2019.That relevant Government departments explore ways of supporting and incentivising local authorities, particularly city regions and combined authorities, to develop a more integrated approach to improving health and wellbeing at workThe Government argued this recommendation had already been echoed in its Thriving at Work: The Stevenson/Farmer Review of Mental Health and Employers, published in October, which recommended that Government departments explore ways of supporting and encouraging local networks, particularly through city regions and combined authorities, to develop integrated approaches to improving workplace mental health.The Work and Health Unit was “already exploring how to integrate health and work support”, it added. In fact, work was already underway “through a number of trials of integrated employment support in health settings, and prototype work with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to increase and build sustainable local networks. We intend to work further with local areas,” the document added.WHAT ‘GIG’ ECONOMY WORKERS SAYAlongside the response document, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a research paper examining the experiences of individuals working in the “gig” economy, including the impact of such working on their health, safety and wellbeing.The report was the result of 150 telephone and face-to-face interviews with individuals, led by the Institute for Employment Studies.When it came to health and wellbeing, one intriguing (if perhaps not overly surprising) finding was that respondents with physical and mental health issues were particularly in evidence among those working in office, short tasks and administration jobs, on account of the fact they could work from home.Respondents with mental health issues often said they felt employed work was not suitable for them, as they found it too stressful. Many with physical health issues also preferred to work from home as this was more comfortable and meant they avoided having to do a commute.As one respondent put it: “I also had a physical injury or a health problem a couple of years back, which added to the fact that I couldn’t physically go to work and commute, etc. So, aside from the time that it took me to recover physically without basically doing any work, after that, it was much easier for me to work on my own terms, with my own schedule.”Yet, at the same time, when it came to managing health and safety, support from online platforms in emergency situations was “patchy”, the report concluded. There were, too, some concerns surrounding the lack of checks carried prior to individuals working in clients’ homes or other private locations on a one-to-one basis.Those working primarily at home, often undertaking online tasks, generally felt they had no particular health and safety concerns other than ensuring that they took regular screen breaks and that their work stations were ergonomically adequate. There were concerns among some that they were potentially susceptible to repetitive strain injury (RSI) as a result of too much typing or mouse usage, or problems relating to excessive telephone usage.“However, those engaged in tasks outside the home did have some concerns. In the delivery sector, there were issues around cycling on busy roads, although this would be the case for any worker using a cycle, and what would happen if individuals had an accident,” the report argued.Although there was acknowledgement that online platforms would normally cover issues such as breakages in client homes, there was concern individuals would receive no compensation if they had an accident that resulted in them not being able to work for some time. This linked to the fact that, as many considered themselves to be self-employed, they had no access to sick pay.For those working within the driving and delivery sector, there were concerns that there was no emergency number to phone if something went wrong. This resulted in drivers often feeling on their own when it came to dealing with any emergency situation.“Their contact with the drivers is absolutely appalling,” said one respondent. “They’ve got no numbers to ring them. If any emergency happens, it’s all through email. It can take up to three or four days for a reply. Do you know what I mean? I’ve had times when I’ve not had a reply, and I’ve had to email and say, you know, ‘This is a joke.”’Others expressed concerns about safety. For example, one cycle delivery worker said: “They’re not really that committed to checking you’re wearing a helmet and things. It was never really enforced…. I remember once, actually, I had a little accident on my bike, and so I called up, just to tell them essentially that I’d had a crash and I wouldn’t be able to finish my shift. They just say to you that there’s no compensation. Even though I was in the last hour of my shift, I wouldn’t be paid for that last hour, because I didn’t finish the hour.”By contrast, those working as taxi drivers felt that, because they were sitting down all day and confined to their cars, either on jobs or waiting for jobs, they were becoming less fit and more unhealthy.Some respondents spoke of the stress of not knowing their schedule or the type of job that they were going to be doing over the next week or so. This was also linked to the stress of not knowing how much they were going to earn, which was held by some to be the greatest source of stress, the report highlighted.REFERENCESGood Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, July 2017. Available online at Work: a response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, February 2018. Available online at Lives: the future of work, health and disability, November 2017. Available online at Industrial Strategy: a leading destination to invest and grow, December 2017, available online at at Work: The Stevenson/Farmer Review of Mental Health and Employers, October 2017. Available online at A et al, The experiences of individuals in the gig economy, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, February 2018. Available online at One Response to Government’s Taylor Review response comes up short for OH Anthony E. 28 Aug 2018 at 10:39 am # Reply Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Bars, restaurants stuck with curfew as others get green light

first_img Tags Message* Restrictions are being eased around New York, with arts and entertainment events permitted as soon as this weekend with state approval, the Wall Street Journal reported.Generally, venues will be allowed to open at 33 percent capacity with a cap of 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors beginning April 2, according to the publication. Attendees are required to submit a negative Covid test before entering and must wear masks.[Syracuse, WSJ] — Cordilia JamesContact Cordilia James Full Name* Email Address* Share via Shortlink Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the 11 p.m. curfew for certain recreational businesses will end April 5 (iStock)The curfew for some businesses just got an expiration date, but it won’t apply to bars and restaurants.Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the 11 p.m. curfew for certain recreational businesses will end April 5, Syracuse Media reported. The change covers casinos, pool halls, movie theaters, bowling alleys, gyms and fitness centers.Notably absent from the list are bars and restaurants, where the early closing time will remain. Cuomo plans to review the curfew and make an updated announcement in April, the website reported.Catered events will still be required to end at midnight, the publication added.Cuomo recently announced that restaurants outside of New York City could run at 75 percent capacity starting March 19, up from the current 50 percent. The city’s indoor dining capacity remains 35 percent.ADVERTISEMENTRead moreCuomo imposes new Covid-19 restrictions on restaurants, gymsIndoor dining will resume in NYC on Valentine’s DayEvolving outdoor dining regulations leave restaurants in the cold Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Commercial Real EstateLifestyleNYC Restaurantslast_img read more

There are more agents than homes for sale

first_imgMichael Mitchell is among the rookies who recently got a real estate license to enter the trade. The Boston resident, a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, thought his customer-service skills would be helpful as an agent, but he has yet to land a single deal. The pandemic’s limiting of in-person interactions has not helped.“I’ve learned some aspects of the business, but it’s hard to connect with people…that you’ve never met,” he told the Journal.According to NAR, which represents the majority of active residential real estate agents and brokers in the U.S., the number of agents goes up and down with the housing market. In October 2006, shortly before the housing bubble burst, NAR membership reached 1.37 million. The number plunged to around 960,000 in March 2012 but has been increasing ever since.Nick Bailey, chief customer officer at Re/Max Holdings, told the Journal that a spike in number is partly because entry into the industry is relatively easy.“But the barriers to success are very high,” he said.[WSJ] — Akiko MatsudaContact Akiko Matsuda (iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)For-sale home inventory is shrinking in the hot housing market, but the number of residential real estate agents is rising.Just 1.04 million homes were on the market at the end of January, down by 26 percent from a year ago. The figure is the lowest on record since 1982, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the National Association of Realtors. In the same month, the NAR had 1.45 million members, up 4.8 percent.Read moreA housing “cattle call” as sleepy markets spring to lifeMore Americans are buying homes in Tel AvivBubble trouble? Canada’s hot housing market raises concern Full Name* Message* Share via Shortlink Email Address* Tags Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink KnotelNewmarkWeWorklast_img read more lands $500M investment from SoftBank

first_img Message* Share via Shortlink MortgagesProptechsoftbankstartups Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Tags Better CEO Vishal Garg and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son (, Getty)UPDATED, April 8, 2021, 3:20 p.m.: Mortgage lending startup’s valuation just swelled to $6 billion thanks to a recent investment.Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank, which is known for its big bets on tech companies, is pouring $500 million in the company to buy shares from existing investors, the Wall Street Journal reported.Better was valued at $4 billion after raising $200 million in November 2020. The company launched in 2014 as a way to streamline mortgage origination by pre-approving borrowers and lowering costs.Read valued at $4B after raising $200M CEO accused of fraud center_img Update: This story was updated to specify that SoftBank is buying out Better’s existing shareholders.  Similar to other startups that aim to streamline the homebuying process, Better has benefited from a booming housing market. Sources told the Journal that the company had $800 million in revenue last year. It also hired bankers for a potential IPO.Through its Vision Fund, SoftBank has invested in many real estate startups that have since gone public. Residential brokerage Compass made its stock market debut this month. Flex-office provider WeWork has plans to go public through a merger with a blank-check company this year. And iBuyer Opendoor merged with Chamath Palihapitiya’s special-purpose acquisition company to go public last year.Better is expected to go public by the end of the year, according to the Journal.Last year, the company’s CEO, Vishal Garg, was accused of mismanaging investor funds and creating a hostile work environment at Better, according to Forbes. A lawsuit brought by Goldman Sachs accused Garg of “flagrant self-dealing” before it was ultimately dropped.SoftBank agreed to give Garg all of the company’s voting rights as part of its investment.[WSJ] — E.B. SolomontContact E.B. Solomont Email Address* Full Name*last_img read more

Factors controlling nitrate in ice cores: Evidence from the Dome C deep ice core

first_imgIn order to estimate past changes in atmospheric NOx concentration, nitrate, an oxidation product of NOx, has often been measured in polar ice cores. In the frame of the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), a high-resolution nitrate record was obtained by continuous flow analysis (CFA) of a new deep ice core drilled at Dome C. This record allows a detailed comparison of nitrate with other chemical trace substances in polar snow under different climatic regimes. Previous studies showed that it would be difficult to make firm conclusions about atmospheric NOx concentrations based on ice core nitrate without a better understanding of the factors controlling NO3− deposition and preservation. At Dome C, initially high nitrate concentrations (over 500 ppb) decrease within the top meter to steady low values around 15 ppb that are maintained throughout the Holocene ice. Much higher concentrations (averaging 53 ppb) are found in ice from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Combining this information with data from previous sampling elsewhere in Antarctica, it seems that under climatic conditions of the Holocene, temperature and accumulation rate are the key factors determining the NO3− concentration in the ice. Furthermore, ice layers with high acidity show a depletion of NO3−, but higher concentrations are found before and after the acidity layer, indicating that NO3− has been redistributed after deposition. Under glacial conditions, where NO3− shows a higher concentration level and also a larger variability, non-sea-salt calcium seems to act as a stabilizer, preventing volatilization of NO3− from the surface snow layers.last_img read more