Entries in Employees (33)


CEO Gives Away Bonus to Employees

Courtesy Next Media(LONDON) -- "Good Lord!" says the headline in a British newspaper, praising business leader Lord Wolfson, for having been uncommonly generous.

Wolfson, CEO of Next, the U.K.'s biggest department store chain, gave his entire annual bonus — $3.6 million — to his employees.

How uncommon was his gesture?

ABC News could not find another example of a CEO of a public company who has done the same in recent years, either in the U.K. or in the U.S.

The closest we found was from academia: Lou Anna Simon, president of Michigan State University, who last year gave her $100,000 annual retention bonus back to MSU, according to the Lansing State Journal.

A few U.S. CEOs have donated their bonuses to charity. John Mackey, head of Whole Foods, donated his 2009 bonus of nearly $380,000 to the Global Animal Partnership, according to Philanthropy Today.

But in the U.S. no CEO of a public company, so far as we could find, has recently given his bonus back to his employees. That's not to say some CEOs haven't foregone what's due them. Just last week a judge nixed a $20 million severance deal for Tom Horton, CEO of American Airlines.

Nor has any CEO in the U.K, other than Wolfson, according to Alistair Mackinnon-Munson, a spokesperson for Next. "It's the first time that any chief executive has ever done anything like this," he confirms. "All our staff of 19,400 will share in it as a cash bonus. It works out to about 1 percent of their basic salary."

The reaction from Next employees has been positive. "We've gotten tweets from staff," he tells ABC News.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Wolfson sent an email to Next employees in which he explained his action. The Telegraph quotes Wolfson as saying that his donation of his bonus was "a gesture of thanks and appreciation...for the hard work and commitment you have given to Next over the past three years and through some very tough times." He said, too, "I remain very grateful for the way in which everyone has helped to navigate our business through this recession."

In the U.K., public reaction to Wolfson's gesture has been positive -- so much so that commentators have speculated there now will be pressure on other English CEOs to do likewise.

How do unions view Wolfson's act? Next's spokesman says the unions representing Next workers have been silent.

As for U.S. unions, the one that represents the most department store workers will not be sending Wolfson a bouquet.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), tells ABC News he couldn't care less that Wolfson has donated his bonus. He likens it to John D. Rockefeller's having handed out dimes to strangers, to curry public favor.

"Working people," says Appelbaum, "do not want charity. They need guaranteed wages and benefits -- the kind that come with a union contract. They shouldn't be forced to hope that their employer will have a momentary impulse -- a munificent impulse -- to share his massive wealth."

The RWDSU represents Macy's workers, among others. Says Appelbaum, "We don't need the head of Macy's to turn over his bonus to his employees. We want him to recognize that his employees need to be treated with dignity."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Many Will Be Giving Thanks from Work on Thanksgiving

Siri Stafford/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  And while most people will be home spending the holiday with their families, some will be stuck in the office.

A Bloomberg BNA survey of employers finds that close to three-quarters of employers said that both Thanksgiving and Black Friday will be paid days off for nearly all their staff.  As expected, 99 percent of businesses are giving that Thursday as a paid day off.

However, 36 percent of the same employers said they do expect at least a few people to work on Thanksgiving, which sounds crummy except for that a decade ago, close to half of the bosses had some people working on the holiday.

Just over 90 percent of manufacturers will give workers Thanksgiving and Black Friday off, while 69 percent of non-manufacturers and 66 percent of non-businesses, i.e., government agencies, allow workers to stay home with pay on those same days.

While Thanksgiving gifts aren't the rule, the survey says about one in ten companies will give something to their workers as a token of appreciation.  

People who work on Thanksgiving Day generally receive extra compensation for their sacrifice.  Half of employers said they would pay overtime, while 22 percent are giving double-time to their faithful employees.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dating in the Office: 10 Do’s and Don’ts

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- From flirtations in the copy room to after-work drinks that lead to a walk down the aisle, office romances can be an exciting -- if risky -- proposition.  

Some bosses say they’re not worth pursuing at all.

“It’s always better, if you can fall in love with someone, fall in love with someone from a different company.  It’s distracting, it’s disturbing, people don’t like it, and it’s not good for a company,” Donald Trump said in a recent interview with ABC's 20/20.

Still, others say that dating in the office may actually be good for business, particularly when such relationships make workers happy.

“I think happy employees equal higher profitability,” said Tom Szaky, CEO of the New Jersey-based recycling company Terracycle.  “Isn’t that what every CEO is in the business of?”

If you do decide to mix business with pleasure, here are some tips on how to do it while minimizing the impact on your career, from workplace author Caitlin Friedman:

1. Do take it seriously -- a workplace romance can have serious consequences for your reputation.  “It just makes people uncomfortable,” Friedman said.  “Even if they say they are O.K. with it, they’re not.”

2. Don’t have public displays of affection.  “Trust me, nobody wants to see it,” Friedman said.

3. Don’t travel for business together -- it can lead to troubling questions.  “Your receipts for the dinner out is questionable.  How much you spent on a bottle of wine during that dinner out is questionable.  You just don’t want to go there,” Friedman said.

4. Don’t talk about your relationship with your colleagues.  Although from a gossip perspective, your co-workers want all of the details but no matter what you say, you will be judged.

5. Do think about who will be impacted if the relationship goes south.  Are there clients you both work for?  People who report to you who would feel their loyalties tested if you broke up?

6. Don’t change your public persona when your partner is in the room, especially during meetings.  Everyone will be watching your dynamic, especially in the early stages of your relationship, so try to behave consistently.  For instance, don’t suddenly start agreeing with your partner if you hadn’t done so before.

7. Do check in with each other as the relationship progresses to see if it’s time to make a professional change.  If you are in this for the long haul, then maybe one of you should consider looking for a new job?

8. Don’t date someone who reports directly to you.  Even if it is consensual, you will be vulnerable to a sexual harassment suit.

9. Do consider keeping it secret for as long as possible.  It can be really satisfying and really fun to have a relationship that is just between the two of you.

10. Don’t move too fast.  Sure, you have lots in common already -- you share a company and colleagues.  But on an emotional level and on a personal level, you are still getting to know each other.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


With Employee Shares for Sale, Facebook Stock Falls

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Shares of Facebook dropped Wednesday upon news that employees can start selling restricted stock in the company.

In all, 234 million more shares and stock options held by employees and executives at Facebook could potentially hit the market.  

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear he's not selling -- at least not immediately.  He said he won't sell until next September at the earliest.  

Facebook stock has struggled since its IPO in May, but did see a boost last week when Facebook posted strong third-quarter earnings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


A Third of Workers Lie About Being Sick, Survey Finds

Pixland/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Having a job these days is a valued commodity, but important or not, workers will occasionally call in sick whether they’re feeling lousy or just need that proverbial “mental health day.”

CareerBuilder’s survey of nearly 4,000 people reveals that in about a third of the cases over the past year, employees called in sick when they really weren’t ill.  Some of the real reasons for skipping work were pretty mundane, such as wanting to catch up on sleep, listed by 16 percent of the hooky players.

However, the excuses can also be pretty creative or pretty lame depending on your perspective, according to CareerBuilder, which also interviewed nearly 2,500 hiring managers and human resource professionals.  Those excuses include:

  • "Employee was upset after watching The Hunger Games."
  • "Employee's dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation."
  • "Employee's hair turned orange from dying her hair at home."

In any case, employers can be pretty understanding up to a point since workers’ absences can also put a burden on their associates.

It’s not so surprising to learn then that three in ten bosses will check up on people to make sure they really are sick by either calling an employee at home or asking for a doctor’s note.

Meanwhile, the most popular month of the year to skip out on work is December since it’s not only traditionally the height of flu season but also when people go out to do their holiday shopping.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stress Is Just Like a Full-Time Job

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Back at the job from your summer vacation?  Feeling stressed already?  Welcome to the club.

Seventy-three percent of respondents from the 2012 Work Stress Survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College reported being stressed by at least one thing at work.

The number one stress inducer, according to the survey, is a crummy paycheck although various other complaints are right behind, such as annoying coworkers, long commutes, too much work and veering off your career path.

The survey reveals that there are plenty of other annoyances that create stress like poor work-life balance, lack of opportunities to advance and of course, the boss from hell.

Surprisingly, fear of losing your job ranked near the bottom of major stressors as people seem less worried about job security than they have since the start of the Great Recession.

Yet, any kind of stress at work is not helpful, according to John Swartz, regional director of career services at Everest College, who says it “reduces productivity, lessens job satisfaction, lowers morale and has a negative impact on health” while costing employers billions of dollars every year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


AT&T Workers in Indiana Claim Lunch Break Violations

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Workers for AT&T in Indiana claim in a lawsuit that they are forced to endure odd and punitive lunch break restrictions such as a ban on napping after eating a ham sandwich.

According to a class action suit filed by 11 employees against AT&T Midwest, the telecommunications company has forced technicians to endure “heavy restrictions” on their unpaid lunch break or risk discipline.

According to the suit, employees allege the telecom company allows them to eat packed lunches in vehicles during unpaid lunch hours, but not spend the remainder of the lunch break reading newspapers, napping, or using personal computers or music players in vehicles.  Workers also are barred from idling vehicles for air conditioning or heat during lunch.  Manhole workers must stay and guard the area during lunch break; they cannot go more than one-half mile from one assigned job to another for lunch or face discipline.

“AT&T is committed to full compliance with all federal and state laws, including the wage and hour laws, and has received numerous awards for being an employer of choice,” Marty Richter, a spokesperson for AT&T, said in a statement to ABC News.

Kimberly Jeselskis, an attorney for the plaintiffs, responded in a statement to ABC News: “Obviously my clients disagree with that statement since we filed this case and there’s a companion case currently pending in Wisconsin detailing the same issues.”

The lawsuit, first posted on Courthouse News, continues, “the company’s restrictions on movement and activities during the unpaid lunch break and its productivity measurement system put pressure on the technicians to work through all or part of the lunch break without pay (rather than sitting in a potentially cold or overheated vehicle doing nothing).”

The lawsuit alleges violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act by “treating the time allocated to the technicians so-called meal breaks, AT&T has failed to pay the technicians time and a half for all such hours worked in excess.”   The lawsuit alleges violation of Indiana wage laws and violation of Indiana record-keeping laws.

The suit is seeking to have the unpaid lunch break deemed illegal under the FLSA and state law, payment of attorney fees and damages.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Talking Politics at Work Is Risky but People Do It Anyway

Hemera/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- If you want to make life easier for yourself at work, remember these three steadfast rules: don't gossip about the boss, don't fall asleep at your desk and don’t talk politics.

People can probably adhere to the first two rules, but a new CareerBuilder survey suggests it’s tough not to talk politics, especially during a particularly contentious election year.

Over a third of survey respondents admit they do chat with co-workers about candidates or hot button issues and 20 percent say that sometimes the arguments turn heated or even result in a fight.

What’s more, some respondents said they’ve gotten into a nasty political discussion with a higher-up in the company -- not exactly the best strategy for career advancement.

According to the survey, about 10 percent said their opinion about a co-worker changed after finding out about their political views and generally not for the better.

As for who likes to talk politics at work, it’s men more often than women while those 55 and older are most apt to discuss candidates and issues.  People 25 and under are the least likely to talk politics.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


More Bosses Are Taking Vacations than Employees

Steve Mason/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- The recession may have forced many Americans to forget about taking an annual vacation, but a new survey finds more bosses than workers are still finding time to get away.

A survey commissioned by finds 81 percent of managers have or plan to take vacation this year, compared to 65 percent of full-time employees.

Additional findings from the survey:

-- 17 percent of workers took or planned to take a vacation for 10 days or more.  That’s down from 24 percent in 2007.

-- 30 percent of workers contact work during their vacation.

-- 37 percent of managers say they expect their employees to contact work while on vacation, although a majority say that’s only if a worker is involved in a big project or there’s a major issue going on within the company.

-- 15 percent of workers say they gave up vacation days last year because they didn’t have time to use them.

-- "Stay-cations" are still popular.  Thirty-eight percent of workers stayed home or are planning to stay home this year.

-- 23 percent of workers say they once had to work while their family went away on vacation without them.

-- 19 percent of workers say they can’t afford to go on vacation this year, down from 24 percent in 2011.

-- 12 percent of respondents say they can afford vacations, but have no plans to take one.  That percentage is consistent with previous years.

The survey of 2,303 hiring managers and 5,772 workers was conducted online by Harris Interactive.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Half of US Workers Ready to Seek Another Job, Survey Finds

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In these uncertain times, not only is it good to get out while the going’s good, it’s also good to get out when things aren’t so good as evidenced in a survey of American workers conducted by insurance company Aflac.

After several years of recession and subsequent slow economic growth, 49 percent of workers revealed they are ready to take their services elsewhere during the coming year.

Virtually all of those planning to leave for new horizons consider themselves hard workers, while a solid majority also believe they are ambitious, highly educated and high achievers.

The survey should send up red flags, according to Aflac vice president of corporate services Audrey Boone Tillman, who warns employers that "their top talent has a pent-up desire to leave for what they believe to be greener pastures.”

Despite this, Tillman says that companies are slow to make changes or improvements that can keep their best workers from fleeing.

What’s most important to employees are benefit packages, with 84 percent saying that it would play a significant factor in staying or leaving.  Meanwhile, 43 percent claimed stress was a major part in their decision to seek a new job while a third complained about their company’s reputation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio