World briefs

Third-world tires of losing workers • 40 per cent of Irish catching 40 winks • Women key to Japan’s economy • Fired for inability to perform

Third-world tires of losing workers

— If South Africa had its way, nations poaching health-care workers from the developing world would have to offer compensation. South Africa made a call for new rules on health-care worker recruitment at the World Health Assembly in Geneva last month. African health ministers are concerned the poaching is making it extremely difficult to strengthen health systems in Africa.

40 per cent of Irish catching 40 winks

— One in four European workers admits to falling asleep on the job, according to an online survey of more than 21,000 people conducted by European job board, Jobline. Irish workers led the pack in on-the-job napping (40 per cent) while their Dutch counterparts were least likely to partake in a work-time snooze, with 80 per cent claiming to have never fallen asleep at the office. According to the survey, 24 per cent of respondents had fallen asleep either at their desk, in a meeting or, surprisingly, the washroom.

Women key to Japan’s economy

— Alarmed by its shrinking labour pool, Japan is looking at increasing the participation of women in the workforce. A government report recommends improving day-care programs and revising social security programs to benefit working women. The report notes labour shortages will stymie economic growth for the next four decades if action isn’t taken.

Fired for inability to perform

— A former assembly line worker at Caterpillar Inc. is suing the company after he was fired for failing to urinate for a drug test. Tom Smith said he suffers from paruresis — commonly known as shy bladder syndrome — and was unable to urinate into a cup despite drinking 1.2 litres of water, according to the Associated Press. Smith was given three hours to fill the cup. He was suspended a day and dismissed a few weeks later, despite later passing a urine test during a visit with a company-appointed doctor.

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