HR Hartley

God knows I’ll be glad to see the back of November. Not a day has passed without some sort of tripe coming my way.
Much of it comes from my chief executive. He’s a man who likes to consider the ramifications of statements and events that catch his fancy. Or rather the ones he’s read about in the Telegraph.

He’s had a field day this month. We’ve had hot air emanating from the CBI conference, from Investors in People week and from politicians vying for the parental vote.

Unfortunately, much of this piffle has an HR tinge.

Take childcare. Both Labour and the Tories have outlined ‘family-friendly’ policies designed, supposedly, to ease the lot of parents with young children.

‘Iron Mike’ Howard wants to give fathers the option of a year off, or to share a year off with the mother of their child. Given some relationships I know, it would at least allow the parents to meet for a second time.

Anthony Lynton Blair, meanwhile, wants schools to provide dawn-to-dusk childcare to allow parents to toil flexibly in the workforce.

My boss asked what I knew about this vote-losing madness.

“Well,” I said tactfully, “what do you want to know?”

“How much will it cost us?”

“Tricky one,” I told him. “It looks like the state will pick up the tab for the Tory plan, while I expect employers will have to contribute to Labour’s.

“Then, Tory it is,” he said.

“Not so quick,” I said. “Just imagine if say 10 per cent of all new fathers opted to take a year off to be with junior – how much would that cost us in cover and recruitment?”

“Take your point,” he said. “Let’s get the offshoring sub-committee up and running pronto.”

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