HR in 90 Seconds - November 2018

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 13 November 2018
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Issues covered:

In this month’s ‘HR in 90 seconds…’ we are looking at gender equality and diversity from a male perspective; is it a SAD time of the year; and, as employers, how do we handle staff during the adverse weather?

Gender Equality and Diversity – a different perspective

Taking a different approach to this month’s email we want to draw your attention to something that has got us thinking in the last few weeks. On 22nd October we attended a Parenting NI event where they presented Josh Levs to undertake a powerful and thought-provoking talk on what for us was a new terrain. Josh Levs worked for 20 years as a reporter for NPR and CNN and when he became a parent he began reporting on the realities of today’s dads. In 2013, he stepped into a new global spotlight by taking legal action against Time Warner (CNN’s parent company) for fair parental leave so he could care for his preemie daughter and sick wife. The company ultimately embraced his call, revolutionising its policy to make it better for moms (it’s the US, after all) and dads.

He now works with corporations, universities and more to build policies that support men as equal caregivers, a crucial step toward ensuring equal career opportunities to women. Josh started his talk with an interesting 4-minute video ‘Dads to Media: Stop Playing us as IDIOTS!’. It is a really interesting take on how dads are portrayed by the media and TV – if you have a few minutes it is well worth a watch.

Josh Levs' delivered a number of keynote addresses when he visited from the USA. At Queen's University Belfast he gave a highly engaging address and highlighted the key role men play in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion journey. Josh has a simple yet powerful message in tackling issues of equality and stereotype that affect everyone - he makes clear how all are affected. Josh uses his own personal experiences, accompanied with quality data, to state his case in an engaging format. The only way to achieve anything truly effective is through an "All In" approach.

Josh also gave a keynote address at Sensata Technologies Diversity Day, where he talked about the man's role in D&I. Seeking equality for women in the workplace means enabling men to be equal caregivers and Josh perfectly crystallised this principal for their leadership. Sensata Technologies believe his message will deliver lasting change in their organisation.

In a recent article This Father's Day, Let's Awaken Businesses to the Benefits of Paternity Leave Josh talks about his work with Dove Men+Care to champion better paternity leave worldwide – as part of comprehensive, paid family leave – so that every expecting father has the chance to care for the people that matter most to him. Dove Men+Care have made their paternity leave documents available on their website.

Dove Men+Care summarise 4 ways to help fathers be all they want to be, and foster a more equitable society:

  • Greater availability to substantive, paid parental leave, for both men and women, supported by legislation and/or supportive corporate polices.
  • Workplaces to offer flexible working arrangements, actively encourage men and women to take advantage of such policies, and communicate they will not be penalized when they take parental leave.
  • Changes in societal expectations: we need to showcase examples of fathers caring for their children to help catalyse new social norms.
  • Celebrate both men’s and women’s caregiving, and their roles in the lives of their children.

Other items of interest:

Is it a SAD time of the year for employees?

Olga Pollock looks this month at Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which research believes affects as many as 1 in 15 people in the UK. SAD is a recognised medical disorder associated with the changes in seasons and most common in the autumn and winter months in the UK as it is linked to lack of sunlight. With the weather in its current state it is important to touch base with our teams and create an open culture to look out for signs and symptoms of SAD in the same way that we would for mental health generally.

Staff issues during periods of adverse weather

Just in time for the heavy rainfall and chaos that ensued last week Chris Fullerton from Arthur Cox provides some guidance on handling staffing issues in adverse weather. He reminds us that we need to look at our employment contracts and policy documents as they can contain provisions for this.


We had a fantastic first NI Annual Review of Employment Law 2018 last week. It was sold out but we have a handful of places left at our final review on 20th November. Hurry - that one sold out last year as well.


This article is correct at 13/11/2018

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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