News in Brief

Federal Court approves EI class action settlement | Automation not hurting headcounts: Survey | HR management trends identified in report

Federal Court approves EI class-action settlement

› OTTAWA — Canada’s Federal Court has approved a settlement agreement in a class action between the federal government and parents who were denied employment insurance (EI) sickness benefits between 2002 and 2013 after becoming ill while receiving EI parental benefits.
The government and the class-action representative plaintiff Jennifer McCrea reached the settlement last August, pending court approval. McCrea, who was diagnosed with cancer while receiving parental benefits, applied in 2011 to switch to EI sickness benefits, but the government rejected the request.
Before 2013, claimants could not switch from parental benefits to sickness benefits unless they could show that they were otherwise available for work. A rule change in 2013 allowed claimants to make the switch and later resume parental benefits.
In the lawsuit, McCrea alleged that the government was negligent in its interpretation and administration of the EI act by not allowing EI claimants receiving parental benefits to switch to sickness benefits between 2002-2013, following amendments in 2002 that extended sickness benefits to working parents who became ill, injured or, quarantined during pregnancy or while on maternity or parental leave.
Under the settlement, members of the class action will receive an amount equal to the EI sickness benefits they would have received at the time had their claims been approved. The total settlement amount is estimated at between $8.5 million and $11 million.

Automation not hurting headcounts: Survey

› MILWAUKEE — Despite fears that robots will take human’s jobs, automation is actually leading to new jobs, according to a new survey.
The survey, by ManpowerGroup, found that 87 per cent of employers plan to increase or maintain headcount as a result of automation. The company surveyed 19,000 employers in 44 countries, including Canada, on the impact of automation on job growth in the next two years.
It found that 69 per cent of employers plan to maintain headcount, while 18 per cent will increase it. Nine per cent said they planned to cut headcount, and four per cent did not know.
The survey also found that demand for IT skills is growing significantly, with 16 per cent of employers saying they expect to hire more IT workers, five times more than expect to reduce headcount.
Other areas of growth will include frontline and customer-facing jobs, engineering, and management roles. The report said these positions require human skills, such as advanced communication, negotiation, leadership, and adaptability.

HR management trends identified in report

› TORONTO — Matching candidates to jobs is going to become “smarter” as employers use technologies such as chatbots and predictive analytics to find the best fit, a new report says.
The report, by Ceridian, identifies several trends that it says will impact human resources management this year and in the future.
Beyond the hiring process, technology will play a role in other areas of HCM, said the 2019 Human Capital Management Trends report. For instance, it predicts a move to more “consumerized” HR platforms that will give employees “an experience at work that is comparable to their experience as consumers.”
The report also lists greater use of new learning software for employees that will provide content in a way similar to YouTube and Netflix.
Other trends include the use of AI in HR, and growing expectations that employers take data privacy and security seriously.

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