The weird workplace

Come ply with us; Not quite the Snuffleupagus; What about the next 100?; Freezing for life; Ketchup has so many uses
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/16/2015

Come ply with us

TORONTO — Employers evaluating their total rewards plans might want to consider an employee perk apparently given out at Ryerson University in Toronto: Plush toilet paper. The school is said to offer two-ply paper on the floors housing the president’s office and other administrative departments, while giving students the one-ply option, according to CityNews and the Canadian Press. University spokesperson Michael Forbes said the practice has been in place for more than a decade: “We are examining a switch to two-ply but we need to be mindful of costs and the fact that buildings with older plumbing systems can only accommodate one-ply.” Faculty might be happy with the comfier arrangement but students tweeted their disappointment: “You mean we’ve been stuck with tissue paper while they hoard the plushy good stuff?” said Lexie Hinde. “It’s PLY-GATE.”


Not quite the Snuffleupagus 
LONDON — Most people are familiar with the loveable Wookies from Star Wars, but the British government has introduced a new character it also hopes will attract fans: Workie. Meant to be a physical embodiment of workplace pensions, the large fluffy, colourful creature has large blue eyes and small horns. TV ads  feature him trying to alert people to the importance of workplace pensions, but he is largely ignored.  “This is a fun and quirky campaign but behind it lies a very serious message. We need everyone to know they are entitled to a workplace pension — and we need all employers to understand their legal responsibility to their staff,” said Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann. Automatic enrolment into workplace pensions has been rolling out across the United Kingdom since 2012 and over the next three years, every employer will have to enroll eligible staff into a pension scheme.

What about the next 100?
BUFFALO, NY — Anyone who works 11 hours a day, six days a week, is impressive. But what if she’s 100 years old? Felimina Rotundo hit the centennial mark in August — and says she has no plans on quitting, according to the Associated Press. She puts in long hours at a Buffalo laundromat and likes being out and working because it “gives her something to do.” Rotundo first started working during the Great Depression and she now works from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, washing clothes and handling dry cleaning at the College Laundry Shoppe. But she has no plans for retirement and says too many people retire too soon. 

Freezing for life
LAS VEGAS — In a tragic twist, an aesthetician who praised the merits of cryotherapy ended up freezing to death in such a chamber just days later, according to the Washington Post. Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, a 24-year-old employee at Las Vegas beauty salon Rejuvenice, was among several who told the Las Vegas Review-Journal how the process worked. Days later, she entered the machine alone and died within seconds — though her body wasn’t found until 10 hours later. The Nevada Department of Business and Industry has since shut down two Rejuvenice locations in Las Vegas, including the one where Ake-Salvacion died, and officials said the businesses were operating without appropriate licences or worker’s compensation policies. “We didn’t even know who they were,” said Gary Landry, executive director of the state cosmetology board, which fined the salon owners US$1,000. “They had never approached us.”

Ketchup has so many uses
LONDON, U.K. — On a more positive note, a Subway sandwich store worker in London, U.K., managed to survive a night in a cooler room — but only because the temperatures weren’t that bad. Karlee Daubeney was putting milk away in the refrigerated room when the door slammed shut behind her, according to Reuters. The room is kept a couple of degrees above freezing and since the worker could not find a way out, she wrote “HELP ME” in ketchup on a piece of cardboard and slid it under the door, hoping someone would see the message on the security monitor. Nobody did, but Daubeney survived until the next morning — though her muscles became so cold, she could no longer bang on the door. The hospital said she was close to having hypothermia and the franchise owners are reportedly facing health and safety offences.

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