Global HR headlines: Australia grapples with forklift driver shortage

Boss who fired workers over Zoom returns.

Australia decides against letting 16-year-olds become forklift drivers as it continues to grapple with worker shortages in its pandemic-hit supply chains. France, Norway and Britain lead in the Gender Diversity Index, but Europe remains behind the proposed target for women on boards. Meanwhile, Starbucks suspends its plan for mandatory vaccination or weekly testing following a ruling by the US Supreme Court’s ruling last week that the Biden administration overstepped its mandate.

No 16-year-old truck drivers for Australia
Australia has ruled out letting teenagers as young as 16 drive forklift trucks to tackle a shortage of workers in pandemic-hit supply chains, as it scrambles to scoop up millions of home testing kits needed to keep businesses functioning, reports Reuters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had floated a proposal to lower the minimum age of forklift drivers from 18 to 16, seeking solutions for a shortage of workers now hobbling the economy. Visa fees for foreign backpackers and students wanting to work and study in Australia have also recently been scrapped.

Slow progress for European women on boards
A study by European Women on Boards shows that the proportion of women in leading positions at major European companies rose last year, but fell behind schedule to reach the European Commission's proposed target of 40 percent for 2025.

The number of companies with high scores on the Gender Diversity Index (GDI) rose to 84 from 62 in 2020. It defines a high score as an index reading of 0.8 and above, where zero means there are no women on the board or in senior management positions and 1 is 50 percent representation.

France, Norway and Britain led the country ranking with a GDI of about 0.7, while Greece, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Poland were at the bottom of the table, reports Reuters.

Starbucks suspends vaccination plan
American coffeehouse chain Starbucks has suspended its plan to require baristas to get vaccinated or receive weekly testing.
The decision comes after the US Supreme Court’s ruling last week that the Biden administration overstepped by mandating that large private employers had to require weekly testing for workers who weren’t fully vaccinated, reports CNBC.

The company said it will still strongly encourage baristas to get inoculated and encourage disclosing their vaccination status.

Zoom ‘firing’ boss is back
The US boss who sparked outrage after sacking 900 staff – about 15 percent of the workforce – in an online Zoom meeting has returned as the company’s chief executive, reports BBC News.

Vishal Garg took a “break” from his duties at Better.com, after his handling of the affair drew widespread criticism. At the time, he apologised for his insensitive delivery but maintained the job cuts were necessary.

In a recording of the meeting, which was shared on social media, Garg told staff that, “If you’re on this call you’re part of the unlucky group being laid off. Your employment here is terminated. Effective immediately.”