OPERATIONS

Absence management remains a top workforce management priority in CyberShift survey

BY CSA STAFF

Parsippany, N.J. According to results of the latest survey from CyberShift, a global provider of workforce management software and services, one-third of survey respondents rated labor scheduling, overtime control and FMLA/FLSA compliance as their highest workforce management priorities. Yet, more than half of respondents (53%) indicated that they did not have an automated system in place for absence, leave, vacation and FMLA tracking.

The workforce management survey findings were gathered from attendees of the American Payroll Association (APA) and Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) conferences held earlier this year.

“The results of our survey demonstrate that absence and leave management often create significant challenges for employers and HR professionals, yet many are still relying on manual systems to manage these processes. Companies without automated systems are missing the opportunity to proactively manage, and minimize the impact of employee absences,” stated Morne P. Swart, CyberShift’s VP product management. “Recent industry research estimates that unscheduled absenteeism can cost businesses more than $760,000 per year in direct payroll costs alone. Deploying an automated workforce management system with time, attendance and absence management capabilities greatly improves productivity, increases decision-making accuracy, and ensures precision in payroll processing.”

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FINANCE

Consumer Sentiment Index declined in October

BY CSA STAFF

Ann Arbor, Mich. — The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment, released Friday, showed that confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly declined in October, with Americans more pessimistic about current economic conditions.

The index decreased to 67.9, the lowest since July, from 68.2 in September.

Unemployment projected to remain above 9% through next year may keep weighing on sentiment and make Americans reluctant to ramp up their spending, which accounts for 70% of the economy.

The Thomson Reuters sentiment index averaged 89 in the five years leading up to the recession that began in December 2007 and has yet to reach that level since the recovery began in June 2009.

Separate figures from the Labor Department on Friday showed consumer prices rose 0.1% in September, less than forecast. The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales climbed more than forecast in September; spending rose 0.6% following a 0.7% gain in August that was larger than previously estimated.

Consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, rose to 64.6 from 60.9, which was the lowest since March 2009, according to the Friday sentiment index.

The survey’s measure of current conditions, which reflects Americans’ perceptions of their financial situation and whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket items such as cars, dropped to 73, the lowest since November, from 79.6 in the previous month.

Other index results showed that consumers expect an inflation rate of 2.6% over the next 12 months, compared with 2.2% projected in September.

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STORE SPACES

McDonald’s targets LEED Gold for California site

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — A renovated McDonald’s in Riverside, Calif., became the first McDonald’s west of the Mississippi, and the fourth in the United Sates, to seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification.

The building, which has stood as a McDonald’s restaurant for 44 years, reopened after a renovation that made the building more sustainable and energy-efficient. The new green features include:

  • Light colored hardscape to reduce heat emissions from site;
  • Native drought tolerant plants to reduce water consumption by landscape;
  • Low flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water usage;
  • Installation of 294 photovoltaic panels to generate a percentage of the restaurant’s power consumption; and
  • Recycled denim insulation inside the building.

The restaurant features an interactive touch-screen display for visitors to learn about the building, environmental sustainability, and how individuals can reduce their carbon footprint.

Other LEED-certified McDonald’s restaurants are located in Cary, N.C., Savannah, Ga., and Chicago. The Riverside restaurant expects to receive LEED certification within one year.

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