Weekly Wrap: $142,000 in OT, Friday Work Perk, and English Muffin Secrets

Some Miami employers are giving workers a new perk - short days on summer Fridays. (Photo by istockphoto.com)

Looking for a quick round-up of workforce and HR-related stories you might have missed this week? Well if that’s the case, then this is the feature for you — TLNT’s Weekly Wrap. It’s a great way to power through some of those interesting news items that you meant to get back to but just didn’t have time for.

I’ll keep doing this through the summer, but is this a feature worth doing after vacation season fades? Please feel free to let me know with a comment here about this feature, or send it directly to me via e-mail (john@tlnt.com). I’d like to hear what you think and whether I should continue to cobble this together, or, perhaps just forget about it and move on to something else

Yes, this is a weekly round-up of news, trends, and all sorts of information from the world of HR and talent management. I do it so you don’t have to:

** Think your company will restore that 401(k) match and upsize your downsized benefits soon? Think again. Yes, we’re in an economic recover (we hope), not only is this a “jobless recovery,” but those pay and benefit cuts so many companies put in place may be hanging around as well. “Companies made these cutbacks out of desperation,” a story in Slate noted . “The problem is that today, a year after the economy began to expand, and after several quarters of profit growth — Bloomberg reported that ‘profits among S&P 500 companies will rise 35 percent in 2010, the fastest pace in 22 years’— companies aren’t restoring any of those cuts.”

** Some New York transit workers make double their salary in OT. Some 5 percent of the workers in New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority – about 3,200 employees – “received overtime totaling at least half of their regular salaries” last year, according to Crain’s New York Business . And “the comptroller’s office found that 145 MTA employees received overtime pay that exceeded their salaries in 2009, including a Long Island Rail Road repairman who hauled in $142,857 in overtime on top of his $64,865 salary.” The reason? Crain’s points to both union work rules and management’s “culture of acceptance” of overtime pay.

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** New summer work perk in Miami: leaving early on Friday. “Summer Fridays, the traditional long weekends in New York publishing houses, has trickled down to Miami in the past decade, especially in the advertising and public relations fields,” The Miami Herald reports . “Unlike Casual Fridays, the early exit comes with a price tag of lost hours. Yet even in the uneven economy, some South Florida business owners are sticking with the practice, counting it as a low-cost attitude adjuster and hiring-and-retention strategy.”

** Executive barred from new job because of English muffin secrets. A former food-industry executive who worked for the company that makes Thomas’ English muffins has been barred from taking a new job with rival Hostess Brands because he “is one of just seven people worldwide who know the recipe and manufacturing process that give Thomas’ English muffins their trademark ‘nooks and crannies,’ “ the Philadelphia Inquirer says . He “remains barred from starting the Hostess job while a trade-secret lawsuit filed by Thomas’ parent company, Bimbo Bakeries USA, plays out.”

** Furloughs are fading, but now are turning into pay cuts. “Local and state governments, as well as some companies, are squeezing their employees to work the same amount for less money in cost-saving measures that are often described as a last-ditch effort to avoid layoffs,” The New York Times reported this week. “Pay cuts are appearing most frequently among state and local governments, which are under extraordinary budget pressures and have often already tried furloughs, i.e., docking pay in exchange for time off.”

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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