Guru

This
week’s guru

Maternity
rules apply in House, but not at home

The
Government is making strenuous efforts to get new mothers to retain links with
their employers and return to work after maternity leave. It’s an issue which
has been very close to home.

Health
minister Yvette Cooper was the first to go on maternity leave earlier this
year.

Gordon
Brown’s encouragement of this practice will probably be a bit muted over the
coming months.

Sarah
Brown, the Chancellor’s wife, who is expecting a baby in February, is to
abandon her high-flying PR career to raise their child.

She
becomes one of the official figures that suggests that despite improvements in
maternity leave and pay, the number of working-age women opting for economic
inactivity is increasing.

Baby
talk can’t win the case

Guru has been inundated with examples of outrageous tribunal applications
since he called on disciples to tell him their worst experiences.

The
favourite so far is from a female HR manager whose educational organisation
unfortunately had to make an employee redundant.

They
followed all the correct procedures, but were notified three months later that
the former member of staff had lodged a tribunal application for unfair
dismissal on the grounds of sexual discrimination.

The
employer was baffled until the applicant explained that her last day of service
was the first day of a new pregnancy – strangely, the application didn’t
progress.

How
not to get ahead in HR

Disciples
have also been helping Guru to while away the hours with their top five ways to
fail in HR.

He
thinks the following list is sure to have you working as a freelance interim in
weeks.

1
Launch a compulsory, team-building programme based on theatre skills

2
Constantly criticise a member of the HR team to the point where they break
down, resign, claim constructive dismissal on discriminatory grounds and win a
six-figure compensation payout

3
Attend all available HR conferences, especially those held abroad or on ships,
to the extent that even the MD realises you’re never in

4
Set up a working group to specify, select and implement a new HRIS.

5
Commission a professionally designed logo for the HR team, incorporating the
words "best asset management".

Of
course, none of Guru’s readers would fall into these traps. Got any more to
avoid?

Air
crew ready for bake-off

Flight
crew working for Kendell Airlines in Australia are making their own
contribution towards maintaining the quality of service to passengers after the
company’s catering budget was slashed in the wake of 11 September.

Pilots
and flight attendants have responded by making their own home-made in-flight
refreshments.

Blueberry,
chocolate, banana and apple cinnamon muffins are being baked and served on
internal flights between Albury-Wodonga and Sydney.

All
six flight captains, four first officers and five flight attendants have
contributed in some way.

Guru
is impressed with their loyalty and dedication to service, but hopes that the
pilots restrict their baking to times when they are not sidetracked by
distractions such as take-offs and landings.

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