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Workplace Flexibility

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On May 7, SHRM launched a comprehensive public policy campaign to prompt a new dialogue – and a new approach – to workplace flexibility and paid leave policy. 

The effort, which has been in the works for nearly two years, gave rise to the recently SHRM Board-approved revised Workplace Flexibility Public Policy Statement that defines a new vision on this important and timely issue. 

SHRM President & CEO Lon O’Neil

SHRM is advocating a 21st Century workplace flexibility policy that meets the needs of today’s employers and employees.  Instead of creating yet another employer mandate (which many politicians in Congress and throughout state legislatures are advocating), SHRM believes that employers should be encouraged to provide paid leave without new federal rules and regulations. 

Under SHRM’s proposal, employers that offer a certain amount of paid leave voluntarily would be deemed to have met all federal, state and local leave requirements.  We believe this approach will lead to more paid leave for employees and more predictability for employers. 

SHRM believes its proposal should be considered by Congress as an alternative to a new government-imposed mandate on employers to provide paid sick leave.  [See related article on paid leave under the heading "Late Breaking News. . ."

To read more about SHRM’s Principles for a 21st Century Workplace Flexibility Policy, click HERE.

Components of SHRM's Advocacy Campaign

The multi-pronged launch of SHRM’s 21st Century Workplace Flexibility Policy included: 

1)   Advertisements in “Inside-the-Beltway” publications:  SHRM ran a series of “Mother’s Day ads in five Capitol Hill publications to inform policymakers and other stakeholders that we have a bold idea for providing paid leave to employees, without creating new government rules.  To view of sample of these ads, click HERE.

2)   Letters to Congress, the White House, and Labor Department:  A letter from SHRM’s President and CEO Lon O’Neil outlining our commitment to bring stakeholders to the table to discuss work-life balance issues was sent to all Members of Congress, President Obama and his domestic policy staff, and Labor Secretary Solis and her staff.

3)   Media:  SHRM distributed a press release highlighting our new public policy statement as well as a new survey report on paid leave. 

In the coming weeks, SHRM will engage in outreach activities to both employer and employee advocacy groups, as well as to policymakers on the Hill and in the Obama administration. 


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The next issue of HR Issues Update will be published on Friday, May 29, 2009.

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