Article main image
Oct 28, 2022
This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.

GM unveils January 2023 return to office plan

Car giant, General Motors, has announced that it wants salaried workers on hybrid work schedules to return to the office from 30 January 2023. It says it expects staff to spend a minimum of three days per week in regular office environments. The move comes after earlier plans to have staff return to the office before the end of the year were met with stiff opposition. The company said that after the change in January, the vast majority of workers would be in the office at least part of the time. It added that the return-to-work policy did not affect “employees whose roles are fully onsite or designated as remote.” GM said the shift will help achieve company goals as it accelerates its transformation and enters a “rapid launch cycle” of new electric vehicle models. The automaker has 53,000 US salaried employees.

Intel rumored to be starting ‘targeted’ layoffs

After revising its sales forecast down from $79 billion to $67 billion in July, the world’s largest chipmaker is this week rumored to be planning its first layoffs since 2016. According to Forbes, no official word is likely until the company gives its third-quarter earnings presentation to investors – sometime in November. But it argues the expectation is that Intel will officially announce cuts to its 121,000-strong workforce next month. The last time jobs were chopped was six years ago, when some 11% of employees were let go on the day it announced its earnings. The cuts are likely to happen as relatively new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, is struggling to rebuild the company and recover market share lost to rivals like AMD. Analysts blame the job losses on Intel disastrously over-staffing itself – in response to predicted rises in chip demand – a prediction that has not been forthcoming.

City told to rehire workers fired for not getting Covid-19 vaccine

Sanitation workers fired for refusing to comply with New York City’s coronavirus mandate for government employees should be rehired, according to a New York State judge. In describing the vaccine requirement as “arbitrary and capricious,” state Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio also said that the fired workers should also receive all of their lost back pay. Porzio argued that while the City’s health commissioner did have authority to issue public health mandates, that person “cannot create a new condition of employment for City employees,” nor can the public health authority “prohibit an employee from reporting to work” or terminate an employee. The New York City Law Department has said it “strongly disagrees” with this verdict, and is appealing the decision. City employees were required to show proof of at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine before November 2021, amid worries that winter would hasten the spread of the virus.

Workers want more overtime as cost pressures mount

Real income falls mean employees are increasingly seeking overtime, according to new data by Qualtrics. Some 57% of all workers, and 60% of workers with children say they now need overtime to keep up with price rises. Almost 70% of working parents surveyed said they no longer earn enough to get by. This is up from 64% who said the same thing last year. All-told, the data found 60% of respondents wanted to work more hours to get paid more. The data supports earlier research from The Brookings Institute that found 37% of workers surveyed said they are looking for another job with a higher salary, and over half of workers said they have looked, or are planning to look, for an additional job. The Institute also found 43% of working parents were looking for a new job, with almost half are for a second job. “With budgets tightening, workers are searching for ways to meet the rising cost of living, including finding new jobs,” Benjamin Granger, Qualtrics’ chief workplace psychologist.

San Diego proposes tripling parental leave

Employees in the city of San Diego could soon enjoy parental leave being tripled from four weeks to 12 weeks, under new proposals that have been put forward. Council member, Raul Campillo, has proposed that employees get a minimum of 12 weeks off, rising to 14 weeks if the employee has a C-section or has suffered complications during delivery. He said: “It’s simply not enough time to only have four weeks [off]. The last thing a city employee should have to worry about is rushing back to work right after having a child.” Currently most Californian workers get no fully-paid parental leave. They instead have job protections and partial leave paid by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the state’s Family Rights Act. Under existing state law, new parents in California are eligible for up to six weeks of partially paid leave and another six weeks of unpaid leave. The proposal is could cost the city between $5 and $6 million a year — up from $1.5 million currently. But, Campillo said argued some of these costs would be recouped by decreased staff turnover.

Amazon reveals legal volunteering figures

This week it was disclosed that Amazon’s legal teams have volunteered more than 38,000 hours’ of time to help their communities. Some 700 Amazon attorneys and legal professionals have worked pro bono to help right wrongful convictions, address homelessness, and protect children, it has been revealed. Since starting in 2014, nearly 40,000 hours of legal services have been donated, including working with groups that overturn wrongful convictions and those that protect unaccompanied and separated migrant children. During 2020 alone, the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the legal team provided more than 700 hours of pro bono legal services to guests of Mary’s Place – which helps secure permanent housing for families by confronting barriers such as past housing debt, a previous eviction, and other obstacles on credit.

Gig workers report poorer health than salaried employees

Those who work in the less secure ‘gig economy’ report having more health issues than salaried employees, according to analysis of data by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center. The researchers looked at 2008-2019 data from the IPUMS Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which covers “the time period from the start of the modern gig economy through the most recent data.” Some 30,000 respondents answered health-related questions during each of the five rounds of surveys administered, and respondents who had insecure income from gig work reported a 50% increase in poor overall health and psychological distress than the respondents who were salaried workers. Black and Hispanic gig workers were more likely to report poor health than their white counterparts. Higher hourly pay rates reduced the association between gig work and poor health, but didn’t eliminate it.


This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.