December 15, 2012

Best bosses give women equal career opportunities

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 3:52 pm

The best employers in the Netherlands give employees the feeling that they are appreciated, Effectory and VNU Vacature Media claim.

The two companies polled employees in 269 organisations. Employees in the companies that were rated the highest gave the biggest marks for the following qualities:

  • Being appreciated by the boss
  • Being able to balance work and private life
  • Women appreciated equal career opportunities
  • Clear goals for both the individual employees and the company
  • Feeling proud of the organisation
  • Customer care

The top three of the companies with 1,000 employees and more were:

  1. Stichting Buurtzorg Nederland
  2. KLM
  3. Vanderlande Industries

Stichting Buurtzorg Nederland, a home care foundation, won the Best Employer Award for the second year in a row. CEO Jos de Blok is a former nurse.

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December 9, 2012

Apple iPad is not a phone, Dutch judge says

Filed under: Gadgets,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:09 pm

Why would you want to ask a court whether an Apple iPad is a phone or a general computer? Well, if computers given as a Christmas bonus are considered income and phones are not, you might have an incentive, especially if the back taxes amount to 323,687 euro.

Broadcaster RTL Nederland gave 664 of its employees an iPad in 2010, including a Vodafone 3G subscription. The law says that something supplied by one’s employer does not count as income if this something is intended “to prevent costs, expenses or depreciations needed for a correct execution of one’s employment”, Arnoud Engelfriet reports.

The law also prescribes categories of devices that are applicable, including “phones, Internet and such communication devices, but not computers, nor similar devices or peripherals”.

RTL Nederland sued the Dutch tax office and the question before the court became whether these iPads were mainly computers or mainly communication devices. The court ruled on 30 November that “considering the format of the iPad (the version the claimants provided has a 9.7 inch screen diagonal) verbal communication should not be seen as the central function of the iPad.”

RTL Nederland will appeal the decision. “We are a media company,” a spokesperson told Webwereld. “We work with those iPads, they are part of our daily business.”

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June 29, 2009

Older men least likely to be fired

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:03 am

Men of age 45 and older are not sharing in the general economic downturn, reports Z24 (Dutch). To the contrary, in May of this year 9,000 more men of that age group were employed than in May 2008.

Statistics Netherlands economist Michiel Vergeer explains to the financial news site: “These are the people who have been in their jobs for a long time, you just cannot get rid of them. But once they have become unemployed, it becomes very difficult for them to find another job.”

In the Netherlands jobs are ‘protected,’ meaning that you have to get permission from a court to be able to fire somebody. Although mass lay-offs are possible, courts tend to spare older employees during such procedures. Unemployment has risen 8,000 from April to May, a number Vergeer calls “still modest.”

(Photo by Erich Ferdinand, some rights reserved.)

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April 26, 2009

Five ways to lose your employees during a crisis

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:46 am

If you want to fire staff you have to go through the courts, a costly process, and a judge may deny your request altogether. Z24 has compiled a list of 5 ways (Dutch) that modern, mid-sized to large companies use to ditch their workers.

The idea behind the list is that in this time of crisis, the courts will at least grant you a permit for some dismissals. The courts will have to follow certain methods to compile this list, which basically comes down to maintaining a certain diversity of age within all levels of the company. Employers that want to keep only the eager-beaver young workers, or the workers that contribute the most, may feel compelled to game the system in order to trim the fat.

Z24’s list:

  1. Promote favourite employees to other functions
  2. Create a new department, discontinue the old, and let the workers of the latter apply for jobs in the former
  3. Have a few, quick evaluation rounds; trump up charges of bad functioning in the first, conclude that the worker isn’t willing to improve in the second
  4. Give certain employees only boring tasks, and hope they’ll leave by themselves
  5. Promote creeps to become the bosses of the ones you want to get rid of; again hope the latter will leave by themselves

Another method that used to be popular was to rely on the lack of familiarity most employees have with the law by simply stating to an employee that they were fired. This happened to my mother once in the 1960s: her boss told her she was fired, and that she had to pack her stuff and leave. When it came to a court case, the boss denied ever having said anything of that nature, and since there were no witnesses of the dismissal, but plenty to the ensuing ‘dereliction of duty,’ the court could do little else than to allow the company to fire my mother.

I don’t know why this latter method isn’t more popular, although I’d venture to guess it’s because it might backfire so easily. You can fool the first employee, but not the next few hundred, which makes it a method larger companies would be unlikely to use.

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