Canadian HR Reporter

December 12, 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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PM40065782 RO9496 December 12, 2016 fi nancial well–being award winning learn more... mental wellness physical fi tness it's a lot more than discounts the original perks company TM the original perks company TM 1.866.383.6646 ext.202 20160913_hrReporter_earLug_oct1_001.indd 3 2016-11-10 3:03 PM INSIDE Leadership character An objective framework allows HR practitioners to understand leadership behaviours and embed them into their organizations Express Entry Changes to program could eliminate 'pain points' page 2 Retirement crisis Precarious work, rising debts add to challenges page 6 Cognitive analysis New methods to assess mental health issues page 17 page 14 Flexible parental leave could mean headaches for employers: Experts But some say move from 12 to 18 months is needed BY MARCEL VANDER WIER A PROPOSED change to paren- tal leave in Canada could cause nightmares for human resources practitioners, warn experts. e Liberal government is mull- ing a decision to extend parental leave from 12 to 18 months, allow- ing parents to work periodically during that time frame, if preferred. Employment insurance (EI) ben- efi ts would not rise, but would be spread over a longer time period. As it stands, the federal govern- ment provides temporary fi nan- cial assistance to employees and insured self-employed persons who are pregnant or caring for a newborn baby, as well as job pro- tection status for the duration of the leave. But legislative changes are ex- pected, and the federal budget has $2.7 billion allocated to the program, which would also see the traditional two-week waiting period for benefi ts reduced to one as of the new year. "Canadian families are diverse and each family must respond to its own circumstances, including the financial and employment situation of the family members, their family composition and per- sonal circumstances, as well as the availability of child care," said Jean- Yves Duclos, minister of families, children and social development. "Caring for a child or seri- ously ill family member puts tremendous pressure on many Canadians to balance their fam- ily and work responsibilities. EI parental and caregiving benefi ts and leaves should be fl exible and inclusive to meet the needs of to- day's families." Challenges expected e government's proposal is im- practical from an organizational perspective, with very little con- sideration given to the impact on employers, said Dan Kelly, presi- dent of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) in Toronto. "If an employee does go out for 18 months altogether, that puts real pressure on a small business to fi nd a replacement during that period of time," he said. "If you've got a key employee that's gone, it really puts a burden on a business that may have fi ve employees." "It is tough enough to find somebody to take a year-term position, so some businesses end up just trying to make do during that period of time, if they possi- bly can. Especially in specialized areas, there aren't a lot of people just sitting on the sidelines of the job market, waiting for term posi- tions. So you would end up having to do less business during that pe- riod of time." Another major worry from an employer perspective is the no- tion that an employee could move BE READY > pg. 10 Will PRPPs take off ? Ontario latest province to sign on to model, but employer, employee uptake still uncertain BY SARAH DOBSON JOINING the array of options available when it comes to retire- ment savings plans, pooled regis- tered pension plans (PRPPs) are slowly being adopted across Can- ada. British Columbia, Saskatch- ewan, Nova Scotia and Quebec, along with federally regulated em- ployers, have said yes to the new plans, with Ontario most recently joining the pack. PRPPs are meant to be a low- cost option for workers without a pension plan, and the self-em- ployed. In theory, members ben- efit from lower administration costs that result from participating in a large, pooled pension plan. In practice, however, it could take some convincing for both employ- ers and employees to get on board. As a concept, the PRPP sounds great, said Plamen Pletkov, vice- president for the Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of In- dependent Business in Toronto. "It off ers some very signifi cant advantages over some of the other tools we have right now — but there are so many additional infl u- ences right now that could really spell doom for the PRPP." Benefi ts of plan e PRPP should be of particular interest to small and medium- sized businesses, he said. Most don't have any sort of a pension plan because they can be expen- sive and burdensome to admin- ister. e PRPP allows small em- ployers to pool assets into a big- ger plan, which reduces costs and PRPP > pg. 8 Figuring out the holiday season Employers should tread carefully and be inclusive, say experts BY MARCEL VANDER WIER IMMORTALIZED in song as the "most wonderful time of the year," in actuality the Christmas season can be a diffi cult scenario for em- ployers to navigate through. " e whole holiday season is a bit of a minefi eld," said Stuart Rudner, employment lawyer at Toronto's Rudner MacDonald. "Whether it's allegations that you're disrespecting some people by not acknowledging their holi- days, or the holiday party itself… a lot of organizations have learned from other people's mistakes." Holding staff parties in late De- cember can be used to celebrate organizational accomplishments and the hard work employees have logged throughout the year. Yet, troubles remain in terms of offi ce etiquette surrounding Christmas decorations, toy drives or em- ployee gift exchanges. So, what is the best practice for organizations? " ere is no formula," said Joe- nita Paulrajan, program manager at the University of British Colum- bia's Centre for Intercultural Com- munication in Vancouver. "What works for one team, unit or organi- zation may not work for another." " e way we see it — this is an opportunity. It's not just to check a box and say, 'We did a toy drive.' But, rather, this is an opportu- nity. 'Let's get together as a team. SHOW > pg. 11 A greater focus on diversity and inclusion can make the Christmas season more of a challenge — but workplace celebrations are still worthwhile, say experts. Credit: Marcel Vander Wier

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