Printer Friendly

U.S. EMPLOYERS ENHANCING BENEFITS PROGRAMS WITH CASUAL DRESS POLICIES; JUNE 18 IS UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY CASUAL DAY

 SAN FRANCISCO, May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by Levi Strauss & Co.:
 While soft revenues and spiraling healthcare costs continue to force companies to pare back employee benefits, many are scoring points with workers by adding a new benefit: allowing them to dress casually to the office. Human resource managers and benefits consultants say that allowing casual dress, whether every day or on special "casual days," is a simple way to improve morale at no cost to employers.
 According to a study conducted for the Service Employees International Union, a non-profit group representing more than one million service industry workers nationwide, working families took the equivalent of a five percent pay cut in 1992 due to increasing healthcare costs. To compensate for employee sacrifices without undercutting revenues, more employers are implementing casual dress policies.
 General Motors currently allows casual dress at all of its divisions -- including its Saturn unit where employees dress casually every day -- in addition to observing "casual Fridays" at its world headquarters in Detroit. According to Dick O'Brien, GM vice president of corporate personnel, "We have started allowing casual dress because we believe it's one way to make our work environment more conducive to empowerment and creativity. The response from our employees has been very positive."
 Allstate Insurance Co., based in Northbrook, Ill., with a nationwide workforce of 52,000, has allowed employees to dress casually on special occasions and Fridays for more than a decade. "We have no company-wide policy on casual dress but entrust the decision to local and regional management," said Mike Snipes, Allstate compensation and benefits director. "We believe that dressing casually allows our people to feel more positive about their work."
 Benefits consultant Hewitt Associates also sees payoffs in introducing casual dress policies. "We're encouraging our clients to consider offering no-cost benefits like casual dress," said Dorothy McNaughton, a partner with the firm. "It can increase employee satisfaction without costing employers a cent, and it tends to create a more empowered workforce and remove barriers between management and employees. Allowing casual dress is an easy concession that is becoming very popular."
 According to Michael Losey, president and chief executive officer of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), an international association of more than 55,000 human resource professionals, allowing casual dress can have a positive effect on employee productivity: "One of the least expensive enhancements to productivity may be simply how you permit people to dress. When a casual dress policy is introduced properly -- when everyone understands the protocols -- there's essentially no downside risk," Losey said.
 The trend toward allowing casual dress is gaining momentum. In a nationwide poll conducted last year among 500 SHRM members, commissioned by Levi Strauss & Co., two-thirds agreed that there is a trend toward casual dress in the workplace. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed also said that their company allows employees to dress casually, either every day or on designated "casual days."
 Sixty percent of these human resource managers also believe that wearing casual clothes to work reduces status distinctions. And 62 percent said employees are able to save money when permitted to wear casual dress -- recognizing that casual clothes cost less and need less dry cleaning.
 "On a practical level, employers who allow casual dress are putting more disposable income in their employees' pockets," said McNaughton. "In the 90s, that creates the kind of goodwill you can't put a price tag on."
 The new interest in casual clothing also has created a major shift in the retail apparel industry. During the period of 1985 through 1992, retail sales of men's suits dropped by 13 percent and sportcoat sales slipped by 48 percent, according to MRCA Information Services. During the same period, sales of men's casual slacks increased by 47 percent and casual sportshirts grew by 55 percent.
 Another example of the burgeoning demand for casual clothing is the Levi's(R) Dockers(R) brand. First introduced in the fall of 1986, the line of casual clothing for men, women and children has grown into a $1-billion annual business, making it the fastest-growing product line in apparel industry history.
 Many office workers are so eager to dress casually that they are willing to pay for the privilege. Last June 19, nearly 200,000 donated a total of more than $1 million to United Cerebral Palsy Associations to participate in its Casual Day fund-raiser. More than half of the companies participating in Casual Day were banks and law firms, industries which are generally considered bastions of dress clothing. This year, UCP expects many more companies to participate when it holds its second national Casual Day on June 18, 1993. Businesses can participate by calling 800-33-CASUAL.
 Levi Strauss & Co. is the world's largest apparel company with record sales of $5.5 billion in 1992.
 -0- 5/4/93
 /CONTACT: Brad Williams of Levi Strauss, 415-544-7435/


CO: Levi Strauss & Co. ST: California IN: REA SU:

GT-TM -- SF012 -- 4566 05/04/93 17:25 EDT
COPYRIGHT 1993 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 4, 1993
Words:826
Previous Article:IMMUNEX/LEDERLE MERGER PROXY STATEMENT COMPLETED
Next Article:LOMAK EARNINGS RISE SHARPLY
Topics:


Related Articles
CASUAL CLOTHES GAINING GROUND IN THE OFFICE
HAGGAR POSITIONS FOR GROWTH WITH CREATION OF TWO SALES ORGANIZATIONS
UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY: BUSINESS ATTIRE GETS A VACATION ON JUNE 17
TARGET STORES OFFERS SOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW "WORKDAY CASUAL DRESS CODE" IN EXCLUSIVE VIDEO HOSTED BY NATIONAL STYLE CONSULTANT CORBIN SEITZ
CASUAL DRESS MAKES AN OFFICE FASHION STATEMENT
Survey of Major Boston Companies Reveals Surprising Trend for Casual Dress
Gap Outfits the New York Stock Exchange for Its First 'Casual Friday'; Entire Trading Floor Helps Kick-Off Gap@Work Advertising Campaign
Bosses Speak Out on Workplace Attire; New Research Reveals Employees Should Dress Up; 'No Jeans,' 'No Sandals or Flip-Flops' and 'No Tight or...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters