The latest business Intelligence for HR professionals and people managers everywhere
Sign UpOnline Version
North American Edition
13th October 2021
Together with

Workers quit their jobs at a record pace in August
The Labor Department has announced that 4.3m workers voluntarily quit their jobs in August - up from 4m in July and by far the most in the two decades the government has been keeping track. The number of those quitting is the latest evidence that the balance of power in the labor market has swung toward workers, at least temporarily. Average hourly earnings have surged in recent months, particularly for the lowest-paid workers, and yet many businesses report they are still having difficulty finding workers. The number of open jobs actually fell somewhat in August, to 10.4m from a record 11.1m in July, as the latest wave of the pandemic took a bite out of consumer demand, especially in the service sector. But the slowdown did little to ease the hiring logjam: There were more open jobs than unemployed workers in August. Openings were particularly elevated in the leisure and hospitality sector, where the number of people quitting was also highest. Economists said the spread of the more-contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus could be contributing to workers' reluctance to return to work.
A fresh way to reward your culture champions

In this new hybrid world, your employees aren't seeing your company values on your walls anymore. And more than ever, employees need to feel connected to your company's mission and values to have a sense of purpose, feel less isolated, and combat new levels of burnout. 

HR leaders are looking for fresh and more meaningful ways to celebrate the culture champions that are helping build connection in this new remote world. With a values-based spot rewards program, you can recognize the employees whose everyday actions shape your company culture. Instead of sending employees a forgettable gift card, they're using Blueboard- treating employees to a 5-star facial, pottery lesson, Michelin star dining experience or bucket list trip. There's a hand-curated experience for everyone.
See how Blueboard can help you celebrate employees living your company values today.

Rise in Social Security payments expected
The Social Security Administration is to release its annual cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits, with an expected 6% cost-of-living adjustment the largest since 1982. Naomi Fink, a retirement economist at investment manager Capital Group, remarked: “If price rises turn out to be fleeting and reflect temporary supply shocks and they subsequently show much more modest rises in 2022, then that would be quite positive for those that got that windfall cost-of-living adjustment.” David Certner, legislative counsel at AARP, added: “Higher prices are generally not good for people who are living on fixed incomes. Security may have a cost-of-living adjustment, but most other income sources that seniors may have—for example, pension income—are not adjusted for inflation. So even if Social Security is keeping up with inflation, it may very well be that other sources of income are not.”
Homeland security confirms change in tactics on undocumented workers
The U.S. government has announced that mass arrests of undocumented workers will not be carried out during enforcement operations at businesses. Homeland security secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said such efforts will focus on “unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee added: “Refocusing resources to counter exploitative employers is a necessary step in protecting the American labor market and workers.”
Staffing issues highlighted by Southwest pilots
Southwest Airlines pilots have drawn attention to fatigue and frustration among crew at the carrier, in the wake of a series of problems which led to cancelations and other issues over the weekend and the start of this week. Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, union president Capt. Casey Murray remarked: “We’re going to see it next weekend or the holidays or whenever a thunderstorm pops up in Mexico,” citing staffing problems, burnout and resignations. Southwest Chief Executive Gary Kelly acknowledged in an interview on CNBC: “We were thinly staffed coming into the weekend, and that certainly didn’t help things as we were trying to recover.”
Private sector added 568K jobs in September
The private sector gained 568,000 jobs in September, payroll giant ADP has reported, in the latest sign of a slowing, but steady economic recovery from the pandemic. Small businesses gained 63,000 jobs in September, according to the ADP National Employment Report, including 20,000 at businesses with between one and 19 employees, and 43,000 at businesses with between 20 and 49 employees. Medium-sized businesses with between 50 and 499 employees gained 115,000 jobs in September. Large businesses added 390,000 jobs, including 36,000 in companies with between 500 and 999 employees, and 354,000 at organizations with 1,000 employees or more.
Ed. Dept overhauls Public Service Loan Forgiveness program
The U.S. Department of Education has announced major changes to a federal student loan forgiveness program that the agency says could bring relief to more than 550,000 borrowers working in government and nonprofit sectors. Through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, the government forgives remaining federal student loan debt for qualifying public-sector workers after they have made monthly payments for 10 years. But the program has long been criticized for being difficult to navigate, with borrowers receiving little help from their loan servicers, the companies that handle billing and other services. Many borrowers have said they found out they weren't eligible for forgiveness only after making what they thought were a decade's worth of qualifying payments. Under the temporary changes, those borrowers will now be eligible to get their loans erased. Through October 2022, borrowers who have worked 10 years in a qualifying job will be eligible for loan relief no matter what kind of federal loan or repayment plan they have. Past loan payments that were previously ineligible will now count, moving some borrowers closer to the finish line. The change will immediately make 22,000 borrowers eligible to get loans canceled, and another 27,000 could become eligible if they get previous payments certified.
Amazon to allow employees to work remotely indefinitely
Amazon said Monday that it will allow many tech and corporate workers to continue working remotely indefinitely, as long as they can commute to the office when necessary. Previously, the company had said it expected that most employees would need to be in the office at least three days a week when offices reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic in January. As with previous policies, the changes will apply only to Amazon's corporate workforce and not to its hundreds of thousands of warehouse workers and delivery drivers, most of whom have been working in person throughout the pandemic.
Wendy's utilizes Google Cloud to improve customer ordering
Wendy's plans to tap data analytics and artificial intelligence to speed up drive-through orders and home deliveries, anticipate return customers’ favorite meals, and even keep tabs on food while it cooks. The fast-food chain has announced a deal with Google Cloud to develop advanced software capabilities that will use the tech giant’s data and AI to build voice-recognition software, computer-vision systems, mapping apps and other digital tools. With data-rich AI applications in place, chief information officer Kevin Vasconi said, “accuracy goes way up.” He said that computer-vision technology, which includes video cameras with software trained to recognize objects and convert them to data that triggers specific commands, could replace the need for kitchen and counter staff to monitor drive-though queues, and remind cooks when burgers should be flipped on the grill.
Gulf states try to increase private employment
The Economist reports on the “largely unsuccessful” attempts by Gulf states to persuade their citizens to renounce their “cushy, lucrative” government employment to work for privately owned firms. Wage subsidies for citizens who take private jobs have so far proved costly and ineffective, and The Economist concludes that governments in the region could make their own staff work more for less. “That would certainly be a cheaper way to shrink the wage gap.”
Denmark may seek settlements in $2bn dividend tax case
Denmark’s tax agency may be prepared to negotiate further settlements with defendants who are alleged to have illegally gained access to $2bn in dividend tax refunds. The agency’s lawyers told the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that a framework has been developed for reaching agreements with defendants, after already settling with 80 parties. The move follows a plea from a defense attorney to the judge, who said some of his clients are running out of money. The Danish Tax Agency claims that a global network of financiers, lawyers and investors created fake pension plans and falsified stock transactions to seek refunds for dividend taxes they never paid on shares they never owned. Dozens of civil suits have been filed by lawyers in the U.S., U.K. and Dubai since 2015, and criminal investigations have been pursued in Denmark.

The Human Times team is delighted to announce an exciting new referral program that enables our readers to earn access to in-depth HR-related analysis reports and a free annual subscription to the World of Work database - a 5 year searchable archive of all Human Times content categorized by topic, sector, region and geography, usually costing $250. 

To find out more see our latest Referral Program page for details...


or, simply copy your own referral link to share with others[[data:sl_referralcode]]

PS: You have referred [[data:sl_referralscount:"0"]] people so far

The Human Times is designed to help you stay ahead, spark ideas and support innovation, learning and development in your organisation. The links under articles indicate original news sources. Some links lead directly to the source material. Others lead to paywalls where you may need a subscription. A third category are restricted by copyright rules. For reaction and insights on any stories covered in the Human Times, join the discussion by becoming a member of our LinkedIn Group or Business Page, or follow us on Twitter.

This e-mail has been sent to [[EMAIL_TO]]

Click here to unsubscribe