We all know that HR is never dull, but sometimes it can get downright strange...
You'll never top this benefit
In a recent interview, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld brushed aside talk
of reinstating the draft, saying the military can attract enough volunteers
by offering the right perks: "We're perfectly capable of increasing
the incentives and the inducements to attract people into the armed services."
But was he thinking of breast enhancements? We're not saying the secretary
has a dirty mind. It's just that, according to The New Yorker magazine,
plastic surgery has been added to the benefits available to everyone in uniform.
The magazine reports that personnel in all four branches of the military, along
with members of their immediate families, can get face-lifts, nose jobs, breast
enlargements, liposuction, or any other kind of elective cosmetic alteration.
And it's all at taxpayer expense-except when it comes to breast implants,
which patients must supply on their own.)
Military personnel who want surgery must get approval from their commanding
officer for the time off. (There's a recovery period of at least 10 days
for most procedures, according to The New Yorker, which adds that the
time off doesn't come out of a soldier's vacation period-it's paid medical
There's not even a limit to the number of operations personnel can receive.
But Dr. Bob Lyons, the chief of plastic surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center
in San Antonio, Texas, cautioned: "We don't do extreme makeovers in
Why such generosity toward soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, who normally
receive abysmal pay for their sacrifices? An Army spokeswoman had a stark, simple
answer: "The surgeons have to have someone to practice on." Their
primary job, after all, is to reconstruct the wounded.
"The benefit of offering elective cosmetic surgery to soldiers is more
for the surgeon than for the patient," Lyons said.
OK, so you can't afford plastic surgery for your employees. But other innovations
occur all the time in benefits. Keep up on what's working-and what's not-in
BLR's monthly newsletter, Best
Practices in Compensation & Benefits.