News Briefs - March 12, 2001

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|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/07/2001

FIRST OF ALL, KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL

Montreal — Microcell Telecommunications is providing its more than 2,000 employees with mandatory Web-based safe-driving training and hands-free equipment for cellular phones. The unique policy focuses on educating employees about distractions that can affect driving behaviour.

THE BENEFITS OF TELECOMMUTING?

Toronto — Executives remain divided about the benefits of telecommuting, according to a survey of 100 executives at leading Canadian organizations conducted by staffing firm OfficeTeam. More than a quarter of respondents (27 per cent) said when employees are allowed to work from home, performance can be reduced. Just one per cent said employees were much more productive and 21 per cent said they were somewhat more productive. The same execs said more workers are worried about commuting than they were five years ago. Among solutions being considered: 20 per cent said they are looking at carpools, 78 per cent said they offer flex-time or condensed work-week options and 20 per cent said they are even considering moving the office.

ILLITERATE IN THE U.K.

London — A recent government study revealed one-quarter of the British labour force is functionally illiterate. The Secretary of Trade and Industry stated illiteracy is one reason that British workers are less productive than those in other industrial nations. The study revealed, for example, that more than seven million adults in England read and write so poorly they are unable to work productively.

SENATOR FIGHTS U.S. ERGONOMICS RULES

Washington — Fearing sweeping new ergonomics legislation could cost employers as much as $125 billion (US) a year, a U.S. senator announced he will attempt to overturn the changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Act by using a special congressional power never used before. Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming said ergonomic problems in the workplace must be solved but added that the “one-size-fits-all” approach included in the OSHA does not make sense.

OVERWORK TOP PRIORITY FOR CUPE

Ottawa — The public sector could be facing strikes over unmanageable workloads. More than half of public-sector workers say heavy workloads have become a significant problem. The problem appears to be greatest in the health-care and social-service sectors though education and government workers also report heavier workloads than private-sector employees. The survey of 1,200 Canadian workers found public sector workers log 5.2 hours of overtime a week while people working for private companies do an extra 2.8 hours.

DON’T TAKE YOUR TIME, DON’T THINK IT OVER

Mississauga, Ont. — When it comes to screening resumes, executives aren’t exactly using a fine-tooth comb. A recent survey of 100 executives by staffing firm Accountemps, revealed most executives spend five minutes or less deciding if they want to interview an applicant and almost one-third say they don’t even take two minutes for a review. Conversely, five per cent said they would spend more than 30 minutes considering a resume.

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