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Human Times
North America
Quitting your job can cost a fortune if you got free training

Bloomberg reports that U.S. workers are required to repay thousands, or even tens of thousands, in training costs if they leave too soon. Agreements whereby employees who quit had to repay training costs were once unheard of because employers believed it was their responsibility to pay for training. Jonathan Harris, an associate law professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles who has studied clawback deals, says they emerged in the 1990s in the finance sector, where employees might have to repay as much as $75,000 for a premature departure. They are now to be found in professions such as nursing and trucking. “In the last 5 to 10 years, they’ve really taken off,” Harris says. In 2020 the Cornell National Social Survey found that almost one in 10 American workers had signed one. Attorneys who advise companies say the agreements are almost indispensable in the current red hot labor market. “I’m seeing employers enter into these agreements, saying, ‘I’m not about to put out of pocket the amount of money that it takes to get this person sufficiently trained in order for them to just go take that over to a competitor,’” observes Angie Davis, chair of the labor and employment group at the law firm Baker Donelson in Memphis. “This is just a way for companies to protect themselves.”

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Human Times
Salaries rising as firms struggle to find staff

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) believes the UK’s hiring boom will soon reach its peak. The institute’s latest quarterly Labour Market Outlook says the labour market remains “incredibly tight,” with many firms raising wages and offering applicants more flexible options. Private sector pay expectations have hit a record high of 4%, while the median across all sectors stands at 3%. The survey of 2,000 senior HR staff found that 72% expect to recruit in the next three months, while 13% expect to make redundancies. Jonathan Boys, the CIPD’s labour market economist, said: “We’re seeing some of the highest pay awards in recent history as employers strive to attract and retain staff. However, strong pay growth can’t last forever.”

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Human Times
Europe’s meal couriers sweat amid heatwave

Couriers who are getting lunches and dinners to customers amid a heatwave in Europe typically don’t enjoy labour practices such as offering workers cold water, shade and extra paid breaks. Many of the workers in the meals delivery market are on freelance contracts and so such measures are not universally adopted or enforced. Glovo, Uber and Deliveroo follow a model whereby couriers are considered to be self-employed. Just Eat Takeaway, the largest European meals company, employs its own couriers in most markets. In a response to questions from Reuters, Glovo parent Delivery Hero said its "riders have the freedom to choose their shifts, can request a break at any time, and receive appropriate equipment for the season." The European Trade Union Confederation has renewed its call for the setting of a maximum working temperature - none currently exists. "It's surprising how few nations have rules," observed Juanita Constible of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international environmental advocacy group. "I'm hopeful that as countries are grappling with what it means to live in a warmer world, they'll pay more attention to what workers need."

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Human Times
Middle East
Young workers hit hardest by lockdowns, ILO says

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said the job prospects of young workers have been hit hardest by the pandemic and the legacy of Covid lockdowns, with dire consequences for the long-term future of the global economy. “Young people were especially affected because firms that survived the crisis sought first and foremost to retain workers, while new recruitment collapsed,” the ILO said. “In addition, young workers were less likely to have the seniority and types of contracts marking them out for retention by employers, and hence were more likely to lose their job. Moreover, government‑sponsored job retention schemes, where they existed, were less effective in protecting young workers.” The ILO also observed: “The mass influx of refugees from Ukraine is creating further pressure for the labour market and social protection systems in neighbouring countries, while the deterioration of the Russian economy could exacerbate employment challenges in Central Asia.”

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Human Times
Musk could launch Twitter rival

Elon Musk has cryptically teased as a potential new social media platform to rival Twitter. When asked on Twitter whether he plans to create his own social media platform assuming his deal to purchase the micro-blogging app doesn’t go through, Musk simply replied with a website domain: Yahoo Finance reports that Musk purchased in 2017 from PayPal, of which he is a former CEO. Musk actually co-founded in 1999 as an online lender, before the website was merged with a competitor in 2000. Musk then bought back 17 years later, explaining on Twitter that the domain had “great sentimental value.”

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