It’s been a big week in the world of HR. Here, we summarise the most dramatic, fascinating and important stories every HR professional needs to know about.
Fairfax workers strike following mass redundancies
The big news item this week has been journalists going on strike at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Melbourne, following the announcement from Fairfax Media that they would be cutting editorial staff by 25 per cent. The shedding of 125 editorial jobs comes as part of a $30 million restructure, according to the company. The week-long strike, which began on 1 May, will coincide with a usually busy period for journalists: the release of the Federal budget.
Most pertinent for HR is the possibility that Fairfax management will seek intervention from the Fair Work Commission to force journalists back to work. Stay tuned for insights as to how HR at Fairfax might be managing the situation from the inside.
Two major companies to extended parental leave policy
Could this be the start of a move towards achieving greater work-life balance in Australia? Microsoft Australia and Salesforce have both announced enhanced parental leave policies.
At Salesforce, primary caregivers will now be able to take 26 weeks paid time off and secondary caregivers can take 12 weeks paid time off to bond with their new baby or adopted child. If Salesforce employees are building their family through adoption, they are eligible for Parental Leave and Adoption Assistance. Salesforce will reimburse up to $10,000 per child for eligible expenses related to adopting a child.
Meanwhile Microsoft has announced a new parental leave scheme, offering primary carers 20 weeks paid parental leave at full pay – and six weeks at full pay to secondary carers. Microsoft will also offer four weeks of paid leave to those who need to take care of an immediate family members with a serious health condition.
Airtasker and Unions agree to improved pay rates and conditions
Online job-posting platform Airtasker and Unions NSW have come to a landmark agreement to increase minimum rates of pay and improve conditions for workers in the burgeoning gig economy.
For the first time, workers using Airtasker will be offered an affordable and flexible insurance product similar to workers’ compensation to help them get cover for workplace injuries and illness.
The two organisations have also agreed to introduce an independent disputes resolution process overseen by the Fair Work Commission.
Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey says the new agreement is a step towards improving the pay and workplace protections for people working in the gig economy.
“It establishes an important beachhead for regulating the gig economy,” he says. “This is the first plank of a new floor we are building under the gig economy.”
Former Google HR director Laszlo Bock announces launch of new company
In a mysterious message posted to his LinkedIn page, US HR guru Laszlo Bock said he would be launching a startup with former Google director of engineering Wayne Crosby.
Bock stepped down from his role as SVP of people operations at Google in the middle of 2016.
In his LinkedIn post, Bock said the mission of his new company – named Humu – was “to make work better everywhere through science, machine learning, and a little bit of love.”
Tech website Recode has hypothesised the company could be a recruiting and job-finding service to rival Google, who is thought to be working on solutions to manage job applicants – and for job searching – to compete with LinkedIn and Facebook.
For now, both Bock and Crosby have remained silent on the topic. At this point, the Humu website is empty except for an image of a humuhumunukunukuapua’a fish (aka Picasso triggerfish), the state fish of Hawaii.