Thursday, December 22, 2005

More New Moms Returning to Work

According to a recent Census Bureau report, more women are having children after 30, and continuing to work after childbirth.

The average age of first-time moms increased from 21.4 years in 1970 to 24.9 years in 2000. In addition, the number of first-time births to women over 30 tripled between 1960 and 2000, from 7% to 22%.

In 2000, 26% of new mothers left their jobs after having a child, in comparison to 36% in 1981. Experts believe that these shrinking numbers reflect an increased number of workplaces offering flexible schedules.

You can view the full report here.

Monday, December 19, 2005

SSNs for Employee Identification on the Way Out

The Omnia Group, Inc.

Omnia recently reported that as identity theft grows, the number of employers using Social Security numbers (SSNs) as internal employee identification devices are going down. In fact, lawmakers in Michigan and California have already taken action, and have restricted the use of SSNs for identity purposes.

Michigan’s SSN Privacy Act goes into effect Jan. 1, 2006. It prohibits employers from disclosing more than four sequential SSN digits to any third party. The Act states that the use of more than four SSN digits is prohibited on any identification badge or network unless the connection is secure, the transmission is encrypted or a password or other unique personal identification number is also required to gain access. California passed S.B. 101 this year, clarifying that by Jan. 1, 2008, no more than the last four SSN digits may appear on an employee’s pay stub.

Experts believe that it is just a matter of time before federal legislation is passed that will make the use of SSNs for identity purposes a thing of the past.

Stewardesses Strip for Pension Awareness - Information for HR and Benefit Directors and other Employee Benefit Plan Sponsors and Advisers

A group of former flight attendants, hoping to call attention to the preservation of United Airlines pension funds, recently posed for the "Stewardesses Stripped 2006 Calendar." The calendar includes scantily clad retirees, between the ages of 50 and 60, with photo captions such as, "If your pension is terminated, will you be left with a wing and a prayer?"

Since United Airlines went into Chapter 11 in December 2002, there is a distinct possibility that pensions will be slashed up to 50% in the near future.

As reported in, Connie Baker, brainchild behind the calendar and former United flight attendant explained, "The main point is to get the message out. It's pretty sad but we had to take our clothes off to get a little attention."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Older and Wiser Worker

Throw out the old stereotypes regarding older workers. Often thought of as being unreceptive to change and technology, more and more organizations are finding that older workers bring a level of experience and knowledge not found among their younger counterparts.

A recent study shows that nearly 40 percent of workers say their company encourages older workers to stay on the job. Hudson's aging workforce study, conducted nationally among 1,075 US Workers, found that 38 percent say their organizations keep older workers. Only 15 percent felt that their employers want to make way for younger employees.

For more information on the study, check out's article, "More Employees Say Employers Encourage Older Workers to Stay"

Friday, December 09, 2005

Reader Feedback re: "When the Employee is Able but Not Willing " Astronology Article

This past Tuesday's Astronology Article, "When the Employee is Able but Not Willing" stirred up some debate among readers. Richard L. Virgilio, SPHR, of First Principles Coaching & Intrepid HR Consulting, Batavia, IL, shared his views on the subject...

I disagree strongly with your (and with most of the field's) characterization of personal interaction ability as something called "soft skills." They are not only not "soft," but--as you point out in the article--perhaps even MORE important than the so-called "hard" skills which are most used for hiring and evaluation purposes. We, as HR professionals, need to get away from calling them "soft" as though they are squishy, malleable, or of less importance. There are practical skills, hand-eye coordination skills, creative skills, communication skills, team-building skills, machine operating skills, critical-thinking skills,......which are "hard" and which are "soft"? Which are important, which vital, and which not-so? Which can be massaged to make room for others? At what cost to the company? Skills are skills, and characterizing them as "soft" or "hard" does no one any favor. In addition, the term "personality" is a very specific, technical term in the behavioral and clinical medical sciences. Unless the interviewer or hiring manager is a clinician in some aspect of psychology, he or she is simply not qualified to make a decision based on personality.

As always, we welcome viewer feedback. Feel free to send in your comments!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Man Fired for Seeing Ghosts

He Sees Dead People

A Des Moines, Iowa security guard was fired this past September when he claimed to see ghosts while on the job. Wade Gallegos, who did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the incident, claimed to see ghosts while patroling the neighborhood he was responsible to protect.

Once fired, his former company attempted to deny Gallegos unemployment benefits, claiming that he was fired for misconduct. However, when the case recently went to court, the judge ruled that Gallegos was indeed entitled to unemployment benefits.

"Such beliefs do render the claimant unfit to act as a security guard," said Judge G. Ken Renegar. However, the judge made it clear that seeing ghosts is not misconduct and cannot disqualify Gallegos from receiving benefits.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Corporate Jet Set May Get Taxed

Legal Info Service (US)

Soon, jetting from meeting to meeting may not be as economically feasible as it once was. A new provision in the tax-cut extension package was recently approved by the senate which would require executives to pay income tax on the company's actual cost of providing personal use of a company airplane. The provision is projected to raise an estimated $95 million in extra revenue for the government over the next 10 years. It is headed for House vote this month.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Giving Gifts in the Workplace - Mind your workplace gift-giving protocol

Exchanging gifts in the workplace can be tricky. Figuring out what to get a boss or co-worker, not to mention a client, can be a difficult and stressful undertaking.

Additionally, some offices don't allow employees to accept gifts over a certain value. The Toronto Star recently shared some tips on gift-giving etiquette in the office to help make the season go smoothly.

- Consider giving clients something that represents your company.
- If giving to one person in an organization, tailor your gift to his or her interests.
- Don't give gifts that are too personal, such as perfume or clothing.
- Mail the gifts to the recipients office not home.
- Always write thank you notes for the presents that you receive.

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