Microsoft to require paid parental leave for suppliers’ employees

Microsoft will require its suppliers to offer eligible employees in the US a minimum of 12 weeks paid parental leave, up to $1,000 per week, the software giant announced yesterday in a blog post by Corporate VP and General Counsel Dev Stahlkopf.

The decision follows a policy enacted in 2015 mandating 15 days paid time off for eligible contract workers.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant will work with it US vendors over the next 12 months to implement the new paid parental leave policy, which applies to all parents employed by Microsoft suppliers who take time off for the birth or adoption of a child. The new policy applies to suppliers with more than 50 employees and covers supplier employees who perform “substantial work” for Microsoft. 

These types of benefits and incentives are great not only for the contingent workers but for the industry as a whole, said Dawn McCartney, senior director, contingent workforce strategies and research, the Americas, at Staffing Industry Analysts.

“We are currently experiencing something companies are not used to dealing with … extremely low unemployment rates and a war for talent,” McCartney said. “Although the tech companies in Silicon Valley have always struggled to compete for talent, we are seeing this affect organizations everywhere, not just in the technology vertical. The demand for talent is impacting every role, from light industrial/blue collar to the professional roles. In order for companies to truly have a competitive advantage, they are going to need to get creative and to be willing to give more than they have up to now, even if it means there is a cost associated to it.”

Microsoft’s paid parental leave policy is informed by state laws, including one in Washington state that was passed in 2017.

“Microsoft will work with our suppliers to understand the impacts of this change, and we will make these changes in a thoughtful way,” Stahlkopf wrote in the blog post. “We appreciate that this may ultimately result in increased costs for Microsoft, and we’ll put a process in place for addressing these issues with our suppliers. Our first step will be reaching out to our suppliers to discuss the impact of this policy change.”

TSR board approves shareholder rights plan, also known as a ‘poison pill’

IT staffing provider TSR Inc.’s (NASD: TSR) board on Wednesday approved the adoption of a stockholder rights agreement, sometimes referred to as a “poison pill,” to thwart a potential hostile takeover. The plan will take effect if a person or group acquires more than 5% of TSR shares in a transaction not approved by TSR’s board.

If that does happen, shareholders other than the person who acquires the stake above 5%, “will have the right to purchase, upon payment of the exercise price and in accordance with the terms of the Rights Plan, a number of shares of the Company’s common stock having a market value of twice such price,” according to TSR. For more, click here.

TSR’s move comes after investors have raised concerns. Zeff Capital LP, which last year sought to acquire all the shares in TSR, upped its stake in the company by purchasing the shares held by TSR Founder Joseph Hughes and his wife, Winifred. And on Monday of this week, QAR Industries announced it acquired a little more than 7% of TSR and raised questions about the governance of the company.

“Although our involvement with TSRI has been relatively short, we already have significant concerns that the board of directors places the interest of Christopher Hughes, TSRI’s current chief executive officer, above the interests of its shareholders,” according to QAR’s letter. “We sincerely hope that we are wrong in this observation and formally ask the Board of Directors to provide answers to the activities of concern with the hope that such answers will clarify the issues and confirm that the Board is in fact placing the shareholders’ best interests as their top priority.”

The board approved the rights agreement upon the recommendation of the special committee formed in July to review strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company.

“It’s a good time to be in the staffing business,” Mitchell Goldberg, president of investment firm ClientFirst Strategy Inc., told Newsday. “That’s at the heart of this TSR poison pill.”

If the investor group “wants the company badly enough, they’ll have to step up with a price that satisfies the board,” Goldberg said.

The board also amended its by-laws, eliminating the ability for special meetings to be called at the request of stockholders owning a majority of the company’s issued and outstanding capital stock.

Additionally, TSR also announced Regina Dowd resigned her position as a member of the board, effective Aug. 27.

Candidates are also consumers: ManpowerGroup

A positive candidate experience makes individuals more likely to purchase an organization’s products or services and satisfied customers are more likely to work for companies whose products and services they use, according to new research from ManpowerGroup Solutions. Conversely, lack of transparency around salary or no response to an application is most likely to negatively affect consumer purchasing intent — even more than rejection after an interview.

The report, “Add to Cart: Candidates are Consumers, Too – The Impact of Candidate Experience on Buying Behaviors,” also found that the candidate experience has an impact beyond human resources, directly influencing company brand and profitability.

In the US specifically, the survey found candidates’ most impactful negative experiences on purchase behavior include:

  • Lack of transparency on salary or job description: 61%
  • Negative interview experience: 60%
  • No employer follow-up after initial interview: 56%

“Job seekers are increasingly measuring their experiences against the same standards they use for buying products and services online,” said Kate Donovan, senior VP of ManpowerGroup Solutions and global RPO president. “Ensuring that candidates have a great experience is critical not only for attracting the best talent, but also for nurturing existing and future consumers. Transparent job descriptions, clear values and providing a good interview experience all contribute to the overall impression candidates have of your company.”

More than half of global candidates surveyed, 54%, said that a negative candidate experience makes them less likely to buy a company’s products or services in the future. This extends beyond retail relationships to include a wide variety of potential goods and services. And more than half of the survey’s participants, 56%, also said they are more likely to work for a company whose products they buy or use. Loyal consumers often connect with companies based on a perceived set of common values, so candidates may feel connected to organizational culture through their consumer experiences, according to the report.

One of the most significant links between customer brand and employer brand is in the US, where nearly two-thirds of candidates, 65%, said they are more likely to work for a company whose products they buy or use.

The global survey included 17,994 job seekers between 18 and 65 years old and currently in the workforce, including 745 in the US.

EEOC sues Adecco after worker not offered food packaging/distribution job

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Adecco USA Inc., alleging it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not offering a candidate employment at a production facility based on his disability.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, in April 2016, a worker with learning and other mental disabilities visited Adecco’s office in Corry, Penn. to apply for a food packaging and distribution position with an Adecco customer. The lawsuit alleges the applicant, who has difficulty with reading comprehension, failed an initial employment test but passed after requesting that the test be read to him. The EEOC reported that an Adecco official then told the disabled worker that he was “too slow” for the production job and instead offered to place the worker in a car-washing job while other applicants were offered the job that the disabled worker sought.

When contacted, Adecco was not able to comment on the lawsuit.

“We want to inspire, train and develop people to fully embrace the world of work, regardless of disability, race, sex, age or any other protected category,” Adecco said in a statement provided to Staffing Industry Analysts. “In this particular case, we hope you understand that we cannot comment further on pending litigation.”

The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Adecco USA, Inc., Civil Action No.1:18-cv-00250-AJS) in the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Erie Division, after first attempting to reach a prelitigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Labor Department group updating joint-employer regulation (Bloomberg Law)

A small group of political hires at the US Department of Labor is working to update the department’s approach to “joint employer” liability, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg Law. The department plans to restrict the scenarios in which one business is legally responsible for wage-and-hour violations by a contractually related company. It’s unclear whether the DOL plans to issue a proposed regulation through the notice-and-comment rulemaking process. The department could instead use other, less formal tools like opinion letters or field bulletins to signal a new approach to the joint employment question.