Golden parachutes not so shiny in Md.For...


Golden parachutes not so shiny in Md.

For laid-off managers in Maryland, those golden parachutes may seem more like lead.

Also, executives who get laid off in the Baltimore-Washington area have the smallest severance packages, or "golden parachutes," in the country, an outplacement company says.

Laid-off or fired executives in the Mid-Atlantic area get an average severance package that amounts to about 7 1/2 months of pay, says Jannotta, Bray & Associates Inc., a national outplacement firm. That's far below the nine-month pay average for executives nationwide, the firm found.

Executives (defined as those earning above $70,000 a year) from the Maryland-Washington area who use Janotta, Bray's services take about six months to find a new job. That's a little faster than the national average, the company said.

But area managers (those who earn $35,000 to $70,000 a year) are finding their parachutes are collapsing around them.

Area managers got average severance packages that paid about 3 1/2 months of salary, far below the U.S. average of 4.7 months.

Worse, it took the average manager in the area 4 1/2 months to find a new job.

Since 1989, the amount of managers' severance pay has dropped by about a third, while executives' severance has remained stable, the company said.

Corporate trainers manage to keep jobs

Maybe they do know something after all. A survey finds that corporate trainers are escaping the layoff ax.

A survey of some of the biggest companies across the country found that two out of three reported layoffs. But only one quarter of them had to cut back people in the training department.

The survey, by the Alexandria, Va.-based Association for Training and Development, found that nearly three-fourths of the training executives expected their budgets to rise next year.

Century, U.S. reach recruitment pact

The federal government says a Towson engineering firm has agreed to beef up its recruitment of women and minorities.

But the company says its recruitment efforts are fine, and it has just agreed to document its recruitment better from now on.

Century Engineering, a 18-year-old civil engineering firm, signed a consent decree last month with the U.S. Department of Labor.

The department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs had audited the company, which has worked on federal projects.

The auditors found the company had only one female among 69 technicians, and only one black among 78 professional, managerial and clerical workers, said Joseph J. DuBray Jr., OFCCP regional director.

The company agreed to send recruitment letters to sources of minority engineers such as Morgan State University.

But a year later, the Department of Labor found the company hadn't sent out all the recruitment letters it promised, and the number of women and minorities had improved only slightly.

Last month, after 15 months of legal maneuvering, the two sides reached an agreement.

Foster J. Beach III, president of Century, said his company has an excellent affirmative action record, but simply couldn't document it had sent all the letters.

He said the company had actually increased the ratio of women and minorities from 1990 to 1991 but has had to lay off dozens of workers because of the recession.

Child care woes hurt worker productivity

Child care problems lead to absenteeism and tardiness, nine out of 10 human resource professionals believe.

The survey of 5,600 members of the Society for Human Resource Management also said one-third of the managers believed child care problems contributed to low productivity. Only 29 percent of the employers in the survey said they offer any kind of child care services.

Employers find benefits a headache

A survey of small businesses in Maryland found mandated benefits and unemployment taxes are their biggest headaches.

That contrasts dramatically with the national numbers in a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Across the country, workers compensation was far and away the single biggest headache, followed by liability insurance.

Environmental regulations were listed as one of the most pressing costs of doing business by 27 percent of the 20,134 respondents nationwide. Only 19 percent of the 134 Maryland business people surveyed said such regulation was a top problem.

For workers, ban on talking is stressful

An insurance company that developed a stress test for workers and companies found that policies that discourage workers from talking with one another cause the most workplace stress of any corporate policy.

Cuts in benefits were the eighth-most important cause of stress, found Minneapolis-based Northwestern National Life Insurance Co.

Peggy Lawless, who headed the two-year research project on workplace stress, said her interviews of workers and employers PTC found that the most stressful workplaces were those in which managers didn't delegate control to employees, had cut benefits and demanded frequent overtime.

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