Bulletin: Jobs Bill, Office Romance

Will a Jobs Bill Provide the Answer to High Unemployment?

The White House and Congressional Democrats would love to shore up a jobs bill before Presidents Day, a deadline that may be impossible to meet due to the weekend’s snowstorm that, for all intents and purposes, shut down Washington D.C. The other obstacle, of course, will be achieving bi-partisan cooperation. While, it is not yet clear exactly what the jobs bill will contain, it is likely to contain a combination of tax credits for businesses that create jobs, infrastructure improvement projects to create construction jobs, and money earmarked for small business loans, which have been difficult for business owners to obtain through traditional lending markets. The biggest question that remains is that even if a bill is passed, will the initiatives be effective at creating jobs? Which government initiatives are most likely to result in immediate job creation? Which sectors of the economy are most likely to benefit from some of the jobs bill components on the table? Why will it take a long time to reabsorb all of the unemployed, even with ideal economic conditions?

Workplace Romance: HR Cannot Stop It, But Can They Contain It?

With Valentine’s Day approaching, some employers may be on the lookout for any signs of budding office romance. While no one wants to be in the role of love blocker, these relationships have the potential to damage workplace productivity and harmony. Ones that end badly could lead to the loss of a valued employee or, in a worst-case scenario, could result in litigation against the company. Despite the risks, a 2006 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that nearly three-fourths of companies had no formal policies regarding workplace fraternization. Part of the reason for the lack of policies on office romance may be the futility of trying to monitor and stamp out these relationships. A 2009 survey by Careerbuilder.com found that 40 percent of respondents have dated a co-worker at some point in their careers and nearly 20 percent had done it more than once. Another reason human resources departments may be reluctant to impose workplace romance policies is that HR professionals are human too and may have been bitten by the workplace love bug on at least one occasion. In the United Kingdom, one survey found that about 27 percent of HR workers confessed to office romance, ranking third behind call center workers (30 percent) and finance employees (28 percent). Should workplaces make policies against all romantic relationships or only those between supervisors and subordinates? At what point should dating co-workers reveal their relationship to colleagues and/or management or should they keep it private? What can office couples do to keep their relationship professional at work?

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