Canadian HR Reporter

May 30, 2016

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER May 30, 2016 2 NEWS Recent stories posted on Check the website daily for quick news hits from across Canada and around the world. WEB O N T H E ACROSS CANADA Trucking industry struggles to attract next generation of drivers Shortage could reach 48,000 drivers by 2024 Manitoba Tories tell government departments to curb spending, hiring Staffing requests for vacant positions require treasury board approval Edmonton, Saskatchewan, B.C. now meet requirements for extra EI, documents show Federal budget extended benefits to 12 economic regions RCMP pleads not guilty on Labour Code charges in Moncton rampage deaths Government alleges 4 violations in death of 3 men Job vacancies fall to 353,000 in Q4: Statscan British Columbia offers most hope for people seeking work AROUND THE WORLD Brazil finance minister wants pension reforms Also hopes to change labour laws to increase productivity: Reports British receptionist petition on high heels at work garners 120,000 signatures Was sent home without pay for showing up to work in flat shoes: Report Claims for jobless aid reach highest level since early 2015 Despite increase, layoffs remain relatively low Uber to offer union representation to New York City drivers Joining with International Association of Machinists to launch independent guild U.S. job openings hit 8-month high, layoffs decline Small businesses continue to report shortage of qualified workers WSIB's rate-setting framework modernization e WSIB, with JLT Canada and the Public Services Health and Safety Administration, held a discussion panel to explain changes to the rate-setting framework FEATURED VIDEO Government introduces extended work-sharing program Oilpatch increasingly onboard – but approach not for everyone BY LIZ BERNIER THE federal government has announced an extended work- sharing program intended to help embattled oil and gas employers weather the storm. Eligible employers can now benefit from an additional 38 weeks of employment insurance (EI) benefits for employees, for a maximum of 76 weeks. Employers that use the federal work-sharing program have workers' wages supplemented by EI benefits for the days they are not working. e extension is expected to benefit as many as 33,000 addi- tional workers. As of April, there were 347 active work-sharing agreements with Alberta compa- nies, according to the government. A work-sharing arrangement is a critical tool during tough eco- nomic times that allows employ- ers to hold on to skilled workers, according to MaryAnn Mihy- chuk, federal minister of employ- ment, workforce development and labour. "Work-sharing is good for workers and for businesses. It means fewer layoffs and more cer- tainty for employees, and it helps businesses get through difficult times. Keeping our commitment to doubling work-sharing agree- ments (is) part of our plan to help the middle class in Alberta and across Canada," she said. Hold on to talent In the oil and gas sector, the fed- eral work-sharing program has taken off, said Janet Salopek, president of Salopek & Associates in Calgary. "Definitely, employers are le- veraging that program, particu- larly if they've got a shop or trades or things like that where you've got work units." It allows employers to maintain a skilled workforce, said Cissy Pau, principal consultant at Clear HR Consulting in Vancouver. "Rather than having to lay off everybody, you can reduce the number of layoffs, everybody works a reduced number of hours, so that when everything turns around, you still have those employees, those skilled workers," she said. "That's certainly the biggest benefit is allowing you to reduce the number of full layoffs you have to do and retain your skilled workers." Employers should look at any alternatives to layoffs during dif- ficult times, said Salopek. "Even before they go the work- sharing route, we really encour- age our clients to look at who their key performers are and… if there's anyone on the team who's not performing, you let them go. So what you're actually doing then is getting your workforce down to a core that you want to keep, you want to keep engaged, and you really want to work with." As employers start cutting costs and cutting staff, the risk is that they also start cutting into the industry advantage of experience and know-how, said Colin Dunne, senior principal at Korn Ferry Hay Group in Calgary. "ey could be really cutting into the competitive advan- tage that they have, which is the knowledge and know-how of their people." Playing the long game It's generally been the more pro- gressive, long-sighted companies taking the route of work share, said Jessica Culo, owner of Ex- press Employment Professionals in Edmonton. "We've definitely seen a lot of companies pursuing this route. It kind of seems like the choices have been 'We're going to lay off or we're going to go to work share.' And I think that work share is a re- ally, really good solution — that's a little bit more outside of the box — when companies are thinking about retention still," she said. Not all companies want to talk about retention right now — it's not necessarily a priority, said Culo. "But I see some more progres- sive companies that do and they realize that things will change, and they're going to need to find a way to hang on to their best em- ployees. And for those that have really good teams and really good core staff that they want to keep happy, I think it's a way to dem- onstrate loyalty to them in the hope that they'll return that same sentiment when the market does change again." It wasn't that long ago that ev- eryone in the oil and gas sector was scrambling to hang on to people, she said. e winds will eventually change, and employers may find themselves in that posi- tion once again. "(And) the other thing that's kind of interesting, and this is a study that we just put out, found that 41 per cent of business lead- ers said there are key positions they're not getting enough appli- cants for — even in a down mar- ket. And it could be that maybe their expectations are skewed, or there's a skills gap — there could be a bunch of reasons," said Culo. "But I think that also promotes the idea of work share when there isn't enough work going around, because they know that a difficult skill set or one where you need to combine certain soft skills with certain technical requirements, those people are hard to find. And if you find them, you should hang on to them." Potential barriers However, work share is not a cure- all and it may not be a solution for every employer, said Salopek. ere are potential barriers and challenges that may come into play. "If employers want to do the work share program through Ser- vice Canada, it's a bit of a process, and they have to get all employ- ees in the work unit to agree to it. So that might be a road block. Not everybody might put up their hand and say that's good for them," she said. "ey've got to put in their ap- plication, they've got to put it in a month before they actually start the program, and it is a bit of a process." Employers may have also de- cided other strategies are aligned better with their business plan, said Salopek. "So that may just not work for them, and that may not be an alignment of where they want to go, so they may look at other strategies as opposed to the work sharing. So they may find there's other ways to manage." Voluntary sabbaticals, taking the summer off or voluntarily reducing hours are other options employers could examine, she said. "(It's about) looking and talking to people about what works well for individuals." ere's also the fact that not ev- ery job can realistically be shared, said Pau. "What you need to be clear on is if you traditionally have one job and it's one person doing that job, and now you're sharing it be- tween two people, the communi- cation between those two people has to be really good — knowing where one person's job starts and EMPLOYEES > pg. 12

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