Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: October, 2010

POSTED: Thursday, October 14, 2010, 7:20 PM

On the one hand, it's so exciting and fabulous to get a job interview after months of looking, networking and shoveling resumes into what seems to be an abyss. But then what? Why are companies taking so long to make a decision and what should the interviewee do in the meantime?

Let's put the part about the companies aside and focus on the "meantime" question. 

Elva L. Bankins, managing partner of OI Partners, a global network of career consulting companies, and a longtime practitioner in the outplacement field, has some advice.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 12:13 PM

First the caveat: The nonprofit research group that studied the effect of sick pay legislation in San Francisco also wants to promote it here. But their report about how it worked out in California is interesting. The main point: The business community squawked like crazy in opposition and later acknowledged that it was no big deal.

In San Francisco, according to a report by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy in New York, employees begin to earn paid sick leave after 90 days of work. (Philly's proposed ordinance would allow workers to earn sick leave upon hiring.) begin after 56 hours of work). After 90 days, San Francisco workers can accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work, up to 72 hours in large companies and 40 hours in smaller companies. That would be the same in Philadelphia. Both bills allow sick time to be used for the care of family members.

In San Francisco, 116,000 workers gained sick days at a cost of about $5.56 per week per worker, according to a study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research. But it would save businesses $7.64 per worker per week in improving productivity, decreasing turnover and reducing the spread of disease. The Urban Institute interviewed employers and found that mostly they were able to implement the policy with minimal to moderate effects on their overall business and bottom line, the Drum Major Institute reported.  The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which had been an opponent, told Business Week in June that the law had been "successful" and acknowledged that employees did not abuse it, as feared. 

POSTED: Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 12:15 PM

Two out of five working Philadelphians have no sick pay, according to a study conducted by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, a research institute that, as it says, provides "ideas that fuel the progressive movement." They will present their study at Philadelphia's City Hall at 1 p.m., today, Tuesday, in  a session sponsored by PathWays PA and Women's Way, two organizations that advocate for better situations for women. Two City Council members will discuss potential legislation. Later, advocates will roam the corridors of City Hall, lobbying council members to pass legislation about sick pay.

Here are some questions: Many people who are parents call in sick when they really need the time to take care of sick children, or on the other end, sick parents. What should happen here? Would it be better to acknowledge the reality and offer a certain amount of sick time to be used for whoever is sick? What is the appropriate mechanism? Can businesses afford to subsidize little Johnny's chicken pox? Is it their obligation or responsibility in any way? Is there a difference between what happens to worker A, a high-ranking associate in a law firm, and worker B, a line chef at a diner? Should there be a difference?        

POSTED: Monday, October 4, 2010, 4:40 AM

As I write this, I am sitting at my desk in the Inquirer newsroom where I earn a decent living as a newspaper reporter, the work I love for a newspaper that I also love. Over the years, I've earned enough money to buy a home, raise a family and send my sons to college. I've had health insurance, sick pay and vacations. Most of the time, I had a pension. Obviously, there have been changes in our business and some of the most wrenching, and interesting, have come because of the Internet. That's why it was so interesting to report on Flying Kite and Patch, two variations on some old journalism themes.

Patch was particularly interesting, because it reminds me of my first job at the Inquirer in 1982. Our plan was to circle the area with hyper-local sections called Neighbors. We were very thorough. We even printed school lunch menus! I had four Montgomery County towns to cover and the reason the Inquirer hired me (besides my incredible writing, extreme intelligence, top-notch reporting and good looks) was because I had spent the previous six years working for a small Montgomery County daily. It made good journalism sense, but it was also part of our marketing plan. Over the years Neighbors evolved and changed.

Patch seems very similar, except it is online.  Like the Inquirer's Neighbors sections, it is targeting suburban communities. Patch has 59 criteria that it pushes into an algorithm to select communities. Patch looks for communities with a lot civic engagement as expressed by voter turnout and school quality, Patch president Warren Webster told me. It adds up generally to affluence.  

About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer