Workplace News

EMPLOYERS DOING EXTRA FOR RESERVISTS

Some employers will continue to provide full medical benefits for thousands of reservists called for active duty in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, even though they are not required to do so, according to a survey released Oct. 3 by human resources consulting firm Watson Wyatt & Co.

The Washington firm asked 51 employers representing approximately 500,000 full-time employees about compensation and medical benefits for affected reservist employees and their families.

In addition, 60 percent of employers said they plan to make up the difference between reservists' regular income and their military pay for at least some period of time that reservists are called away from their jobs.

"Employers are focused on providing support for their employees, especially those called for duty," says Rich Murdock, a senior group and health care consultant with Watson Wyatt. "Providing the security of continued benefits can go a long way in maintaining employee loyalty and morale, and the cost for most employers is typically minimal, as reservists make up a small percentage of their total work force."

The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 requires employers to extend medical coverage for up to 18 months at the employee's expense. Forty-seven percent of surveyed employers said they would exceed this requirement by providing full medical benefits for some period of time. Twenty-two percent of employers offering full medical coverage said they plan to do so for at least five months and, in some cases, for more than nine months.


IT CONTRACTOR ALL STARS WANTED

Nominations are being accepted for Contract Professional magazine's CP All Star Program, which honors nine outstanding IT contractors and consultants each year.

Sam Bonfante, publisher of the Watertown, Mass., publication, said its readers are an under-appreciated part of many leading companies.

"Unfortunately, due to their contract structure, they are looked upon as outsiders," he said.

The 2-year-old CP All Star program honors IT contract professionals who have demonstrated outstanding performance on the job or within the contracting community. Hall, Kinion & Associates Inc., a San Francisco contract and direct-hire recruiting services firm, sponsors the program.

The nine winners will be honored with their own All Star cards, including photos and "stats," which will be bound into the December issue of Contract Professional.

Employers, fellow contractors, staffing firms and clients can make nominations, or contractors can nominate themselves. Judging criteria are available at www.cpuniverse.com/newsite/allstars/index.html. CP editors evaluate each submission, with input from the magazine's editorial advisory board. The magazine's editor-in-chief makes the final selections.


WORKERS WORRIED BUT HOPEFUL

Thirty-seven percent of workers said their employers have laid off staff this year, and 65 percent said layoff threats exist at their companies, according to a survey released last month career Web site CareerBuilder Inc., Reston, Va.

Fifty-six percent of employees said they are working under stressful conditions, and 57 percent said their workloads have increased. Forty-eight percent said their workloads are too heavy.

Despite worker tensions, almost half of estimated they could find a comparable job in less than a month if they were laid off, according to the survey of more than 1,200 full-time workers. Sixty-four percent said a job hunt would take less than two months; three-fourths said they could find a comparable job in less than three months.


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