Planning for what is not so normal in 2022



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The year 2022 is fast approaching and it is the month when the HR departments of midsize businesses and managers of small businesses are finalizing their plans for the coming months.

The industrial relations and human resources departments of large companies have already done this and are now just waiting for the approval of the board of directors. This is a standard year-end exercise (EOY) that also takes place in NGOs, faith-based organizations, unions, religious organizations and most family businesses. Except that this year there is nothing “standard” about it.

This year, we cannot base our future plans on past experiences, because we know that whatever the “new normal” will not benefit from the experience gained through the “old normal”. There are not any. The past two years have turned things into muddled waves of varying sizes and durations.

One of the EOY exercises that human resources departments, along with finance and accounts, do, for example, is to look at the personnel costs of previous years and calculate how to allocate the funds for the coming year. You know, balancing how much you think you have to spend versus what you hope to earn, without going into debt.

Since income has been and will continue to be uncertain over the next 12-20 months, we all start with the first commandment of budgeting: don’t borrow for recurring expenses unless you can pay off the debt. from recurring income. We learned it in high school. And this concerns both family and organizational budgets.

Government budgeting apparently operates under different rules, as this year’s budget has shown, simply racking up debt for future generations to pay, and symbolically “printing” more money (known as easing). quantitative) so that each year’s accounts look good.

Do not try this at home. Your bank will not allow this.

For the cost of employing staff, the same rule applies. The costs of employment do not only include wages and salaries, employers’ contributions to national insurance, PAYE (pay as you win), pension and health contributions for those who have plans for them ( and yes, this also includes family and household budgets). Staff costs include the cost of employee absenteeism.

In organizational life, every day that a paid employee is absent without performance, for example, is a cost. And year after year, HR departments rig a bit. If the organization’s policy is to allow ten paid days of absence per employee per year, for whatever reason, instead of calculating “per year” on an ongoing basis (i.e. how many days each employee has been absent in the last 12 months or 365 calendar days), inexperienced HR departments erase each employee’s file on December 31 and start again on January 1.

So someone who has been absent for the entire 20 authorized days at the end of December, two “sick days” at a time, up to 14 working days, with one or two “personal or occasional days” in the limit five, plus a few days of “bereavement leave” and ten to 20 additional days of paid vacation can resume being absent on January 1 with aplomb.

Well January 1st is a paid holiday so replace it with January 2nd.

The employee working next to them who has not taken any sick leave in 2021, funerals, casual or personal days in the past 12 months, is much more valuable, from a cost perspective, to the organization, but has the same potential allocation for 2022.

Both, of course, have 18 public holidays and two weekend days per week, plus allotted vacation days. If the absenteeism allowance is counted on an annual basis and not on a 12-month turnover basis, the cost of wages / salaries, plus the costs of replacing temporary or casual workers to cover their longer absences such as maternity leave (13 weeks) or surgical leave, or training leave – without even going into what has transformed all possibilities of algorithmic calculations, or even simple arithmetic budgeting backwards, a pandemic leave ordered by the government – is huge.

Thus, employers must now play Nostradamus and decide what to allocate for leave related to the pandemic quarantine; test days: up to 14 actual sick days, minimum 14 additional days; days of isolation after contact with another person at work who tested positive, another 14 days; plus an additional 14 days of testing to see if you’re now positive, or the cost of a private test, between $ 800 and $ 1,200, to get results overnight, or 14 more days while you wait. And employers must also calculate the risk of another post-Tobago election lockdown.

Now add a government specialty: government lockdowns.

And what about natural disasters? Fire, floods and natural disasters? Are power cuts considered to be natural disasters?

Each day of paid absence of an employee not covered by a day’s production income is a loss.

Include upcoming increases in bank charges, water, internet and electricity and now future property taxes. Practical budgeting will have to take all of these elements into account when negotiating collective bargaining and deciding on employment figures.

Budgeting becomes a survival skill not only for the organization, but also for every employee.

If this is a family budget under development, each day that support is potentially absent without pay needs to be calculated, and these may need to be matched by outside income.

This reflects the new normal socio-economic realities of our time. One employee’s single salary cannot cover the expenses of families with children on one salary. Employers must also understand this reality.

There are no easy answers.


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