National Minimum Wage

Source: Low Pay Commission, Report, Autumn 2016
Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy by Command of Her Majesty, November 2016

This report sets out the LPC’s recommendations for the minimum wage rates to apply from April 2017. This covers the National Living Wage (NLW) applicable to those aged 25 and over, the 21-24 year old rate, the 18-20 year old rate, the 16-17 year old rate, and the Apprentice Rate.

The report also sets out the evidence on:
– the economic context to our recommendations
– the impact of the introductory rate of the NLW on pay, employment and competitiveness
– what’s happened to the pay and labour market outcomes of young people (16-24 year olds)
– apprentice pay for different age groups and frameworks, and trends in non-compliance with the Apprentice Rate

Key Findings

National Living Wage ‘has not hit employment’
Source: BBC, November 29, 2016

The Low Pay Commission said it had found “no clear evidence” of changes in employment or hours since the higher minimum wage was introduced in April. It said employment had continued to rise even in sectors most obviously affected, such as cleaning, hotels, horticulture and retail. The finding contradicts warnings from economists over the wage’s impact….

Private Health Insurance Exchanges

Source: John G. Kilgour, Compensation & Benefits Review, Early View, Published online before print November 28, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 created a number of federal and state exchanges through which buyers and sellers of health care services conduct business. Some private health insurance exchanges had existed before the Affordable Care Act, mainly for Medicare-eligible retirees. However, beginning in 2012, in response to a number of developments, private sector employers began using such exchanges for active employee health plans. The adoption of private exchanges has been spectacular, and they will soon dominate the private sector employer-sponsored health benefits market. This article examines this important development.

Is there a minimum wage biting in Puerto Rico? Updating the debate

Source: Jose Caraballo-Cueto, Industrial Relations Journal, Early View, November 22, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This research evaluates the repercussions on employment in Puerto Rico of the latest increases in the minimum wage (made between 2007 and 2009). We find that the increases in the minimum wage to $7.25 had a negative impact on employment in a few small sectors only, and that employment was significantly more affected by output.

HR2020 Shifting Perspectives: A Vision for Public Sector HR

Source: International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), 2016

From the press release:
The HR2020 research report serves as a critical roadmap to public sector HR professionals on how to transition from an administrative to a leadership role within their organizations. The overall perspective of the taskforce is that HR professionals exist in a rapidly evolving world with volatile economies, major environmental impacts, rapid technological changes, and the changing needs of the workforce. These changes require HR professionals to think differently about how to shape government agencies that deliver services to citizens. Because the business of HR revolves around human capital resource management, HR professionals have the opportunity to help fundamentally influence and shape organizational outcomes by identifying future trends and assisting in navigating successfully through them.

The HR2020 report framework contains the critical elements required to help HR professionals bring the future into focus. The framework does not specifically address the technical expertise of the HR profession; rather, the framework is intended to sit on the foundation of that body of knowledge. The framework creates a roadmap of how to build on technical knowledge to create a transformative roadmap and achieve organizational success.

The framework starts with three critical lenses: business acumen, innovation, and strategic orientation. The taskforce believes HR initiatives designed to move services from transactional to transformational need to be viewed through these lenses to be effective. The taskforce also identified five key areas HR needs to invest in programs and services so that their roles can be strategically positioned to be drivers of change and innovations. These five areas are leadership, culture, talent, communication and technology.

HR2020 Shifting Perspectives: A Vision For Public Sector HR (Free Webinar)

The IPMA-HR 2020 Taskforce released a report in September that sets a framework for planning, communicating and implementing HR services that will meet the strategic and tactical needs of organizations. The framework includes three lenses of Business Acumen, Innovation, and Strategic Orientation that HR initiatives need to be viewed through to be effective. The taskforce identified five focus areas: Leadership, Culture, Talent, Communication and Technology.

Does Technology Substitute for Nurses? Staffing Decisions in Nursing Homes

Source: Susan F. Lu, Huaxia Rui, Abraham Seidmann, Management Science – Forthcoming, September 12, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Over the past ten years, many healthcare organizations have made significant investments in automating their clinical operations, mostly through the introduction of advanced information systems. Yet the impact of these investments on staffing is still not well understood. In this paper, we study the effect of IT-enabled automation on staffing decisions in healthcare facilities. Using unique nursing home IT data from 2006 to 2012, we find that the licensed nurse staffing level decreases by 5.8% in high-end nursing homes but increases by 7.6% in low-end homes after the adoption of automation technology. Our research explains this by analyzing the interplay of two competing effects of automation: the substitution of technology for labor and the leveraging of complementarity between technology and labor. We also find that increased automation improves the ratings on clinical quality by 6.9% and decreases admissions of less profitable residents by 14.7% on average. These observations are consistent with the predictions of an analytical staffing model that incorporates technology adoption and vertical differentiation. Overall, these findings suggest that the impact of automation technology on staffing decisions depends crucially on a facility’s vertical position in the local marketplace.

An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver-Partners in the United States

Source: Jonathan V. Hall, Alan B. Krueger, National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. 22843, November 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Uber, the ride-sharing company launched in 2010, has grown at an exponential rate. This paper provides the first comprehensive analysis of the labor market for Uber’s driver-partners, based on both survey and administrative data. Drivers who partner with Uber appear to be attracted to the platform largely because of the flexibility it offers, the level of compensation, and the fact that earnings per hour do not vary much with the number of hours worked. Uber’s driver-partners are more similar in terms of their age and education to the general workforce than to taxi drivers and chauffeurs. Most of Uber’s driver-partners had full- or part-time employment prior to joining Uber, and many continued in those positions after starting to drive with the Uber platform, which makes the flexibility to set their own hours all the more valuable. Uber’s driver-partners also often cited the desire to smooth fluctuations in their income as a reason for partnering with Uber.

Family-friendly Employment Laws (Re)assessed: The Potential of Care Ethics

Source: Grace James, Industrial Law Journal, Volume 45, Issue 4, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In light of various reforms in recent years, this article provides a (re)assessment of the broad package of family-friendly employment rights and relevant dispute resolution procedure now available to pregnant workers and working carers. It exposes how the realities of working life for many pregnant workers and carers and the long standing desire to promote gender equality in informal care-work remain at odds with the legal framework. An argument is presented in favour of an approach that, based upon the concept of care ethics, better engages with the impact of the provisions upon crucial interdependent care relationships.

Why Can’t We Stop Sexual Harassment at Work?

Source: Claire Suddath, Bloomberg Businessweek, November 28, 2016

f you run a company in California, you have to take state-mandated anti-harassment training every two years. This October, Matt MacInnis, founder of a digital distribution business called Inkling, clicked through two hours’ worth of slides about inappropriate touching and sexual comments in an online course produced by an HR services company. As he answered multiple-choice questions to prove he’d paid attention, a thought occurred to him: This is a farce. MacInnis couldn’t see how an online training course would keep “an a–hole from still being an a–hole,” as he puts it. “There is a laudable goal, but the way we address sexual harassment now, the whole system is flawed,” he says. “I mean, is there anti-murder training?”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which by law must investigate all federal harassment claims before they can proceed in court, received 13,000 sexual-harassment complaints last year (16 percent of them from men), outpacing the number it received for racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination. “We by no means think that’s the extent of the harassment,” says Peggy Mastroianni, the organization’s legal counsel. She estimates that as many as 90 percent of people who experience sexually inappropriate behavior at work never take formal action. Many who do are contractually obligated to litigate through private arbitration, which the EEOC can’t track. But decades of surveys show that harassment remains prevalent: In a 1981 Harvard Business Review survey, 60 percent of women said they’d been “eyed up and down” by male co-workers; last year the EEOC reported that somewhere from 50 percent to 75 percent of women have experienced sexual comments or touches that made them feel uneasy at work.

For more than three decades, U.S. companies and institutions have addressed such behavior through corporate policies and awareness programs, although there’s little evidence they’re effective…..

Nine Women Talk About On-the-Job Harassment