Weekly Wrap: Law Firms get Pay for Performance, and Driving Home a Perk

Summer may be winding down and lots of people may be out on vacation, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing going on. The news never stops, and that means there is still a lot of HR and workplace-related stuff even during the dog days of August.

That’s what makes TLNT’s Weekly Wrap so useful. It’s a great way to catch up on some of those news items you may have missed while you were taking time off or just out doing summer activities.

But, I also want you to tell me if this feature is useful and worthwhile. I’ve gotten a few comments – and thanks very much to those of you who sent them along – but I would like to hear more so I can figure out if this weekly roundup is worth doing after the summer fades away.

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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:

  • Would you believe that federal workers make double what their private sector counterparts do? This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but getting hired by the government – especially the federal government – is a pretty good deal if you can swing it. And here’s how good: “At a time when workers’ pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employees’ average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn,” according to an analysis by USA Today. “Federal workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row. The compensation gap between federal and private workers has doubled in the past decade.”
  • Arizona goes after the Employee Free Choice Act. Remember all the worry about the EFCA and how it might force companies to get rid of the secret ballot in union organizing elections? It’s been stalled in Congress, but look at what the state of Arizona is doing. “Lawmakers … advanced an anti-union measure toward the Nov. 2 ballot with little debate, even as the labor unions the measure is aimed at complain that it is a waste of time and effort,” according to the Arizona Republic in Phoenix. “The resolution would take effect only if Congress were to approve the Employee Free Choice Act, which offers an alternative, easier way to conduct workplace-organizing efforts. The act has stalled in Congress, although opponents fear it could be revived in a lame-duck session this fall.”
  • Take home vehicles are a big perk for municipal workers in Houston. It’s not a shock that public workers frequently get to take their work vehicles home because the practice has been going on for years. But the practice has turned into an issue in Texas where, “a Houston Chronicle analysis shows hundreds of municipal employees use taxpayers’ cars more for commuting to work than they do for job duties. According to mileage reports filed for 1,200 vehicles assigned to city employees, only 54 percent of the total mileage reported was work-related. None of the employees is accused of wrongdoing, but instead are part of a system often immune to strict enforcement and consistent regulations.”
  • Should we take vacations? Two New York Times columnists debate (perhaps a better word is discuss) the role vacations play in our lives, and why they are important. As Gail Collins says, “Americans have always had a strange attitude toward vacations. We think they’re a good thing — almost a virtuous thing. Expanding horizons, bonding with the family and all that. But we don’t take very many of them.”
  • Even law firms are going to pay for performance. Traditional compensation systems are getting adjusted everywhere – even at some law firms. “Boston’s top law firms are dramatically changing how they pay young lawyers,” The Boston Globe reports, “adapting to a changing market by adopting Wall Street-style compensation systems that rely on performance bonuses for large shares of annual earnings.” Rising payrolls are at the heart of the change, and “several of Boston’s largest and best-known firms are telling associates that they no longer can count on automatic raises. Instead, they will receive salaries and bonuses based on how partners assess their performance.”

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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