How the Work Gets Done

UPS and others have contingency plans.

September 18, 2003
Most employers use existing employees to cover the work done by reservistswho are called to duty. At EDS, employees are routinely dispatched to fulfillcontracts with clients across the country. This model makes it relatively easyfor EDS to fill jobs vacated by reservists by shifting other employees to theassignments.

    At Sempra Energy, "the work that was done by employees who have beenactivated is covered by coworkers, consistent with the manner in which coworkerswould step in for a colleague who is on vacation," says Randall Peterson, vicepresident for human resources. At Sempra’s utilities, coworkers and temporaryupgrades of other workers handle the work for extended periods.

    UPS has not experienced difficulties in covering the work when its reservistsare deployed. "With 370,000 employees worldwide, we have contingency plans fora range of situations, and a reservist call-up is one of them," says DaleWhitney, UPS corporate healthcare manager, who implements the reservist policy.For package-sorting positions, the company hires new employees but guaranteesthat the employees called to duty will get their jobs back when they return. "Sincewe are frequently in a hiring mode for these positions, this is not a problem,"Whitney says. "For management or other specialized positions, we shift workand schedules around to compensate for an employee’s absence. In some cases,another employee is put on special assignment to handle the duties of thereservist’s job."

Workforce, January 2003, p. 35 -- Subscribe Now!