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HR Email...

(64 Posts)
YouBetterWerk Fri 09-Jan-15 10:42:09

Name changed in case I out myself!
I was going to post this in AIBU but thought FC was actually more fitting.

I have recently been made permanent at my job and received this Email from HR when I got in this morning:

^Please can you see * in Finance and confirm your marital status to her. I understand your title is Miss but we are not to presume this means you are single. This is needed for payroll.^

I know the Ms/Mrs/Miss has been done to death but really??
And the 'not to presume you are single' line irked me slightly too. Or am I over thinking it?

I responded with a confused email saying 'Perhaps just Ms then?'

I am really struggling though, and feel like I want to say more but don't know what.
The sender isn't in work today so I am hoping someone can tell me if I'm being oversensitive or if anything else should be said?

HaroldsBishop Fri 09-Jan-15 10:44:11

Just straight out ask them why they need your marital status?

flowery Fri 09-Jan-15 10:46:40

I don't think there's anything wrong with them being told not to presume someone is single just because they go by Miss. I think the issue is why on earth do Payroll need to know your relationship status in the first place.

TheCowThatLaughs Fri 09-Jan-15 10:48:31

It's not something to do with tax allowances is it?

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 09-Jan-15 10:48:47

Why do they need to know your marital status? <boggles>

Maybe * in finance would like to ask you out? wink

YouBetterWerk Fri 09-Jan-15 10:52:07

Haha Moving I hadn't thought of that. Stretches out

It may be something to do with Tax, but even that is slightly weird isn't it? I think I'm just going to go up and ask...

YouBetterWerk Fri 09-Jan-15 11:02:39

Ok, I have just been up and casually asked about it and I am told it is because it is 'a compulsory field. You are either Single, Married, Divorced or Other'
I am engaged and living with my partner and so I said.
'Oh, well, I guess 'Other' then?'
'No, you would be single. And when you get married you'll have to come back and let us know so we can change it'
I then faux-surprised and said 'Oh, wow, so does it effect my pay then?' and they laughed and said 'No, of course not'.
Because that would be silly.

TheCowThatLaughs Fri 09-Jan-15 11:06:47

What a load of bollocks!

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 09-Jan-15 11:06:47

I'd tell them to mind their own business. What a load of nonsense.

A man wouldn't have this issue. I'd point this out and ask them not to bother you again with this trivia.

I wonder what they think the "other" field is for?

YouBetterWerk Fri 09-Jan-15 11:22:51

Indeed Gilbert. Married to cousin? Bigamist? Hermit?

flowery Fri 09-Jan-15 11:25:22

To be fair to them, "compulsory field" probably means their payroll software won't process a new starter without a box being ticked. So a man would have this issue and it's less likely to be a sexist decision that female employees' marital status is relevant while male employees' status is not, and more likely to be a case of unnecessary bureaucracy.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 09-Jan-15 11:30:17

Then they could just tick "other" for everyone flowery. Collecting data without a valid purpose is not permitted under the Data Protection Act.

A software issue (which this probably is) should be dealt with as a software issue, not an edict that must be followed. Not least because it's a massive waste of time. So far three or four people have been involved in what is literally a box ticking exercise. Madness.

Yes, they should just tick other, what's the purpose of it?

YouBetterWerk Fri 09-Jan-15 11:33:04

I agree, Flowery, it's not my employer I'm annoyed at, but this system, and I did say something along the lines of 'What a strange system, how annoying for you'
(Although if they too had found it as ridiculous as I do I would maybe be a bit less peeved, but no one seems the least bit confused)

flowery Fri 09-Jan-15 11:38:48

They could just tick other for everyone, but then some people would be offended at that and want it to say something else. And under the DP act data should be accurate, so they shouldn't just bung something in without checking with the employee what the accurate information is.

I agree it should be dealt with as a software issue, I never said otherwise. The OP could, if she is minded to, contact whoever is responsible for DP compliance and inform them that they might be collecting unnecessary data through their payroll software.

I said what it isnt is a sexist outrageous men-would-not-have-to-put-up-with-this issue.

loiner45 Fri 09-Jan-15 11:39:03

Standard field built into a database because marital status might, at some point, be relevant (it used to be for tax purposes). Easier to build the information in than retrofit it. Software is likely to not be UK specific either, so in other tax jurisdictions (US?) it could be vital information. Applies to men as well as women. Annoying but just bureaucracy.

AMumInScotland Fri 09-Jan-15 11:40:29

Chances are that field has been there for a long time, most payroll systems don't completely change their database structure very often. So, at times in the past the information has been needed. It could quite possibly be needed again in the future.

The admin staff have the choice of -
1. change everyone to 'other' and risk not having the information if the tax system changes to need it
2. leave older records as they are and not bothering to ask new starts, which leaves them with inconsistent garbage data if it changes
3. just ask. It's not a complicated or discriminatory question if they ask men as well.

YouBetterWerk Fri 09-Jan-15 11:50:44

But they don't ask men, because men are just 'Mr'. (I am not in healthcare so none would be 'Dr') No men who work here have been asked.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 09-Jan-15 11:52:59

And do they ever review this data? Do they ask everyone? Because if not the data is already incorrect.

ProcrastIWillFinishThisLater Fri 09-Jan-15 12:02:51

They might need to know for pension reasons or death in service grant (if you get one). Some benefits can only go to a surviving married partner.

Jackie0 Fri 09-Jan-15 12:19:11

" they dont ask men because men are just Mr"
They had your title recorded as Miss, is that not the same though?
They have a title but marital status is unknown.
I'll be interested to hear what their logic is.
I was in a job a number of years and a missive came down that they needed our marital status. I though it was quite intrusive.
I was divorced and my area manager thought this was hilarious for some reason ,much fake embarrassment etc (nob)

AMumInScotland Fri 09-Jan-15 12:32:52

Then challenge it. They need to be able to explain why it is a compulsory field for women when it isn't for men, if it is 'needed' for the payroll.

JassyRadlett Fri 09-Jan-15 12:38:08

Marital status can be relevant for pension beneficiaries if you die in service? <clutches at straws>

I know when DH was DP, I had to specifically name him as the beneficiary; it was automatic for spouses.

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