News briefs (Dec. 2, 2002)

MATERNITY LEAVE INCREASES

Ottawa
— Usage of parental leave options jumped 25 per cent in 2001 in the wake of changes that allow one year off work to care for newborn children. Jane Stewart, Minister of Human Resources Development Canada, said about 216,000 Canadians accessed parental benefits last year, up from the 174,000 in 2000. More than 21,500 men made parental leave claims in 2001 up from 12,000 the year before. Program changes to reduce the number of work hours required to qualify for benefits from 700 to 600 allowed more than 8,200 Canadians to receive leave benefits.

HIRING BOOM IN PUBLIC SECTOR

Toronto
— The public sector is getting ready for a hiring boom in the first quarter of 2003. Twenty-six per cent of public administration employers plan to make new hires between January and March and just two per cent expect decreases, according to a survey by staffing firm Manpower. That contrasts sharply with the national averages where 15 per cent said they will be adding workers and 16 per cent expect cutbacks. More than two-thirds of Canadian organizations expect no changes to staffing levels.

WCB CALCULATIONS

Vancouver
— British Columbia’s Workers’ Compensation Board has launched an online tool that calculates the cost of a workplace accident. The site is intended to show small businesses the financial rewards of workplace safety. The calculator shows the costs in lost production, time taken to secure the site and cost of sending a second employee to accompany the injured worker.

NEW SITE TELLS WORKERS THEIR RIGHTS

Ottawa
— The Canadian Labour Congress has created a new Web site (www.workrights.ca) to provide information to non-union workers about their basic workplace rights. Labour standards for workplaces in all provinces, territories and the federal sector are on the site and workers can report employers who they feel are breaking the law. There is also basic salary information so users can compare their compensation with others.

HEALTH-CARE HR

Halifax
— A new pilot project funded by the federal government should help hospitals in Nova Scotia make better use of older workers. The program, Human Resource Planning in Facility-Based Care, is intended to help long-term-care facilities meet human resources needs with older workers. More than $82,000 will be used to develop a tool kit to help these facilities in HR planning, including training and different ways to organize work responsibilities for employees over age 55.

NO RESPECT

Sharon, Mass.
— Given the chance to start over, 62 per cent of HR professionals would choose a career in human resources, according to an American survey. More than 22 per cent of the 425 respondents were thinking about leaving HR, and 44 per cent said they were actively looking for HR work at another organization. The study, conducted by The Discovery Group, also asked HR practitioners about how they are regarded in their organizations. Just 48 per cent feel senior management respects the activities of HR and only 54 per cent say they have the decision-making authority they need to do their jobs well.

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