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  • 06 Jan 2023 9:42 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Lina Khan speaks with hand up

    Juliana Kaplan | Jan 5, 2023, 7:00 AM

    The Federal Trade Commission wants to make sure your boss can't force you to sign away your rights to work at a similar company — or even start your own business.

    Under a new proposed rule, the FTC would ban employers from saddling workers with noncompete agreements that prohibit them from working at competitors, or starting similar businesses. The Commission argues that noncompetes are an unfair method of competition, violating the Federal Trade Commission Act — and their ban would broaden opportunities for American workers, putting almost $300 billion more in their pockets annually.

    "Why are we doing this? Basically, in short, there's a whole raft of economic evidence that now documents the ways in which these noncompete clauses undermine competition and competitive conditions," FTC chair Lina Khan said. 

    Theoretically, noncompetes are meant to stop primarily high-level employees from jumping ship to other companies, bringing proprietary information and other knowledge with them.

    But, in practice, noncompetes are more sweeping. Over 30 million workers are made to sign noncompetes, according to the National Employment Law Project, and over a third of those workers are asked to sign the agreements after they've already accepted a job. In some cases, workers can't start their own businesses similar to the ones they're working in.

    "If you're a phlebotomist or a journalist and you think that you can't practice your trade in the area in which you work for a long period of time, that's still significantly chilling. It could still mean that you don't match with the optimal job that you want," Elizabeth Wilkins, director of the office of policy planning at the FTC, said. "You can't get a raise, and you can't ask for the kinds of things that you might be able to ask for if you could get a better job."

    Agreements are sometimes foisted upon low-wage workers, preventing them from jumping ship to a different restaurant or retail store offering higher pay. Among workplaces paying an average of less than $13 an hour, 29% have noncompetes for all workers, according to a report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

    One famous example of noncompetes: Stopping sandwich sales. In Illinois, sandwich chain Jimmy John's settled a lawsuit from the state's attorney general in 2016, and said it would not enforce noncompetes on its workers. Workers had been banned from working at any business within two or three miles of a Jimmy John's that made over 10% of its revenue from selling "submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita, and/or wrapped or rolled sandwiches" for two years. 

    The White House has already taken aim at noncompetes as a barrier to competition. President Joe Biden signed an executive order last summer encouraging the FTC to ban or limit the agreements. Now, the FTC is doing just that, with its proposed rule outlawing employers from entering into, maintaining, or making it seem as though a worker is subject to a noncompete. Independent contractors and unpaid workers would be subject to the rule. Under it, employers would have to rescind current noncompetes and let workers know they're doing so. 

    The public will have 60 days to submit comments on the proposed rule, which the FTC will then review and potentially incorporate into a final rule.

    Anecdotally, some businesses have recently been more dogged in enforcing noncompetes amidst labor shortages in attempt to keep workers. The rule is likely to attract ire from businesses which deploy noncompetes.

    Crucially, noncompetes are one mechanism for maintaining what's called monopsony power — which means that, due to a lack of competition, employers have more power over the labor market, and the ability to do things like set wages at lower levels than a more competitive market would create. 

    The Treasury Department previously found that wages are 15% to 20% lower currently than they would be in a perfectly competitive labor market, showcasing the monopsony power employers still hold. One reason for those suppressed wages, according to Treasury: Noncompetes. 

    "If this rule were to be finalized and go into effect, workers that are currently stuck in place, effectively, would now be able to freely move to another job," Khan said, adding: "I would think that would basically force employers to compete more vigorously over workers in ways that should lead to higher wages. That should lead to improved working conditions."

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    Source: Business Insider

  • 29 Dec 2022 9:37 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Examining 2022 Director Compensation Trends at S&P 500 Companie | WorldatWork

    By Rebecca (Becky) Burton and Peter Kim | December 1, 2022

    Equity-focused increases drive overall non-employee director compensation growth

    Companies remain vigilant in their pursuit of balanced yet attractive pay programs amid a turbulent global economy. WTW’s Global Executive Compensation Analysis Team (GECAT) has completed its annual S&P 500 year-over-year director pay program analysis comparing results between 2022 and 2021 proxy data. Total pay for non-employee directors continues to grow at a modest but fixed rate led by a particular focus on equity.

    More than half of companies (55%) disclosed pay program changes in 2022, compared with 39% of companies reporting changes in the prior year, reflecting a return to pre-pandemic prevalence. Approximately one-third of companies (34%) increased the value of their annual equity grant, while just under one-fourth (23%) of companies increased their annual cash retainer. Only 16% of companies adjusted their non-core pay elements.

    The combination of cash and equity changes has pushed pay levels to a new milestone in the history of GECAT’s annual study, and median total direct compensation (TDC) now rests at $300,000 (a rise from $290,035). Additionally, in what appears to be an acknowledgement of increased public interest in diversity and representation, the gender landscape has shifted from 76% male/24% female in 2018 to 70% male/30% female in 2022.

    The median annual cash retainer remained steady at $100,000.

    68% of companies deliver all or a portion of annual equity value through restricted stock or restricted stock units, up from 67%

    55% of companies made changes to their pay programs

    58% of S&P 500 companies separate the roles of COB and chief executive officer (CEO)

    Specific key findings include:

    • Similar to the prior year, the median value of most individual cash components remained the same. Meanwhile annual stock compensation and TDC median values each increased 3%. Consequently, the pay mix for non-employee board members shifted to 61% in equity and 39% in cash (previously 60% in equity and 40% in cash).
    • Shifts in cash compensation include the prevalence of board meeting fees declining by two percentage points to 4% and the prevalence of committee per-meeting fees declining by three percentage points to 5%. The median value of board meeting fees remained at $2,000, while committee per-meeting fees decreased from $2,000 to $1,500 (–25%). In contrast, additional committee chair retainer median values rose 17% (from $15,000 to $17,500).
    • Median annual equity values continued upward across all vehicles, pushing overall pay mix more in favor of equity compensation. The median value increased 12% for stock options (from $89,167 to $99,955), 3% for deferred and phantom stock (from $165,047 to $170,000), 3% for restricted stock (from $170,043 to $175,055), and 4% for common stock (from $160,018 to $166,258). The number of companies granting deferred/phantom stock decreased one percentage point (to 17%), while the number of companies granting restricted stock increased one percentage point (to 68%). One-time initial stock grant prevalence remained at 9%, while the value at the median increased 18% from $170,000 to $200,000.
    • Pay for board leadership roles outpaced TDC increases during the past fiscal year. Additional non-executive chair of the board (COB) pay rose 6% at the median (from $155,000 to $165,000), while additional lead independent director pay leapt 14% at the median (from $35,000 to $40,000). When compared with 2019, these values reflect an overall median increase of just 3% (from $159,959 to $165,000) for COBs and 33% (from $30,000 to $40,000) for lead directors.
    • Will the utilization of equity continue be favored in lieu of cash, or will companies return their attention to include cash going forward?

    Download the report
    Title File Type File Size
    S&P 500 director pay trends - Dec 2022 (EPM 1 Dec 2022) PDF .8 MB

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    Source: WTW

  • 29 Dec 2022 9:30 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Travelers stand in line for a TSA checkpoint at the Miami International Airport on December 19, 2022 in Miami, Florida.

    Workers left an estimated 28% of PTO unused in 2019, according to Sorbet. This year, that share jumped to 55%.

    Published Dec. 22, 2022 Ryan Golden

    The pandemic disrupted employers’ paid time off policies, but two years later, a recently published study shows the problem may have only grown worse.

    Results from a July survey of U.S. adults by PTO solutions provider Sorbet found that 55% of PTO went unused by employees, compared to 28% in 2019. In all, the company said 57% of workers left PTO on the table this year, compared to 37% in 2019.

    That unused PTO translated into a real monetary cost for workers, too. Sorbet estimated that the average employee held $3,000 in unused accrued PTO.

    “We tend to think of PTO in terms of time, [but] people often don’t realize is that there’s a dollar and cents implication in your compensation when you accrue PTO,” Veetahl Eilat-Raichel, Sorbet’s CEO, said in an interview. “And when you don’t take it, you essentially end up with a hard-earned portion of your compensation locked up and unavailable to you.”

    The vendor’s findings seem to mesh with those of other organizations. In August, Eagle Hill Consulting announced survey results that showed 42% of U.S. workers had not taken a vacation in the past year, though not all workers in the cohort reported having access to PTO.

    The impact of flexible work

    More than two years after COVID-19 created shutdowns and wreaked havoc on employers’ accrual systems, Eilat-Raichel said employers still have difficult questions to consider with respect to how their organizations handle time off, such as whether to adopt policies that group all PTO into one bucket and allow workers agency to choose how to use their time, or create separate buckets.

    But as far as employees’ lack of willingness to take time off, the pandemic may have only highlighted a pre-existing problem. “Partially, this trend of not taking time off is deeply rooted in culture,” Eilat-Raichel said. “It has to do with the fear of the optics of it [and] being seen as unprofessional or less committed.”

    Employees felt even less legitimacy to take time off with the advent of remote work, she added, because of the ways in which life activities and events bled into the work day.

    Few trends are perhaps as reflective of this sentiment as the “workcation,” described in a March BBC article as a trend in which employees who are able to work from anywhere combine elements of a vacation with a workday in an exotic locale.

    As excited as employees may be at the thought of cliff diving in between days spent working on a laptop, a recent Visier survey found that employees who worked while on vacation were more likely to quit their jobs than those who disconnected. The firm also found in a separate 2021 survey that one-third of employees felt pressured to check in with their jobs during vacation — while many respondents described vacation as a mere temporary relief from burnout.

    What can HR do?

    HR cannot solve the unused PTO problem by itself, Eilat-Raichel said. Instead, departments will need to work with leadership and management to address the cultural component involved. That could start with a baseline of ensuring employees have the time they need to take care of themselves, and then ensuring that leaders model the behavior they want to see from workers.

    “If the general sentiment is that you need to always be on in order to perform, that’s not going to work,” Eilat-Raichel said.

    Having access to the right data also may help. Eilat-Raichel said she is seeing employers track PTO use and include it as part of employees’ performance reviews so that managers can follow up on the subject.

    Employers also may need to be aware of the inequities inherent in PTO availability and use. Sorbet, for instance, found that male employees received 10% more PTO days on average than women, and that men took 33% more days off than women.

    Since the start of the pandemic, employers have experimented with enhanced PTO policies on a small scale. Google announced in February that it would implement a minimum of 20 vacation days for employees alongside expanded caregiving leaves. Others, like Hootsuite, have taken companywide weeks off with the aim of addressing burnout and mental health issues.

    PTO can be an expensive and difficult benefit to administer, but the fact that workers let their time off go underutilized and unused “almost does the exact opposite of what PTO was originally intended to do,” Eilat-Raichal said. “There’s so much to be unlocked by this incredible benefit that you already have.”

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 29 Dec 2022 9:27 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    An Asian person looks out the window at an office

    One advocate says reduced-hour weeks could become the norm in the next decade.

    Published Dec. 21, 2022 By Ginger Christ 

    It’s often said that one of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is the reshuffling of priorities. As people reflect on what matters most, they’ve put more value on a work-life balance and on personal time to spend with loved ones or on hobbies. 

    “There is more to life than just slogging for hours and hours on end. I think the 21st century, the ‘quiet quitting,’ the Great Resignation, they represent that the working class, the workers, have decided they want to have quality, meaningful work they value, but they also have things they want to do outside of work,” said 4 Day Week Global Managing Director and Co-founder Charlotte Lockhart. 

    Lockhart’s not-for-profit launched in 2019 after news spread about a successful trial the previous year at New-Zealand-based estate planning company Perpetual Guardian, a company co-founded by Lockhart’s 4 Day Week Global colleague Andrew Barnes.

    Since then, 4 Day Week Global has led more than 250 companies through pilot programs on shortened weeks. The latest cohort of companies included 33 businesses, most of which were in the U.S. or Ireland or were fully remote. Of those, none said they planned to return to a five-day week after the six-month pilot ended, a report released Nov. 30 found. Companies reported average revenue gains of 38% compared to the previous year and rated productivity at a 7.7 out of 10 during the trial. 

    On the employee side, about 97% said they wanted to continue with shortened weeks, and 70% said they would need to receive 10% to 50% more pay to work at a job with a five-day workweek, the report found. 

    “The four-day week has been transformative for our business and our people. Staff are more focused, more engaged and more dedicated, helping us hit our goals better than before. Greater employee retention and faster hiring has been surprisingly powerful in driving improved business outcomes, too,” Jon Leland, chief strategy officer at Kickstarter, said in a news release about the pilot program. “We’re achieving more as an organization, while giving people time to start new creative projects, rest and be with their families. It’s a true win-win.”

    Lockhart said there’s been a “real shift since the pandemic” on companies’ interest in shortening the workweek. 

    “Prior to the pandemic, we really did have to explain to people all of the benefits that are there. Now, it’s about the how. We shifted from why to how,” Lockhart told HR Dive. 

    Software company Buffer did two different consecutive trials on four-day workweeks starting in May 2020 as a way to give employees more flexibility. The company’s former Director of People Nicole Miller said, “The four-day workweek resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance.” 

    Buffer has Fridays as the default day off, which employees may use as overflow days when needed to catch up on work. Employees still get paid the same as when they were working five days per week. 

    Umber Bhatti, a content strategist at Buffer, said the schedule change initially took some adjustment

    “It was strange when Thursday rolled around, and people would say ‘have a great weekend’ in Slack. I kept forgetting that meetings couldn’t be scheduled on Fridays and end-of-week deadlines needed to be met by Thursday. There was even a bit of anxiety on my part as I wondered if the work was really doable in just four days,” Bhatti said. “But gradually, I became confident that this schedule was actually realistic.” 

    As more companies normalize reducing the time on the clock, Lockhart sees the four-day workweek movement making big strides in the coming years. 

    “There are some real conversations being had not just by companies but also by governments in some shape or form, whether they be national or local. I think we’ve got to the point now where some form of reduced-hours working will be the norm in the next decade,” Lockhart told HR Dive.

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 29 Dec 2022 9:23 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Professional African American woman

    ARLINGTON, VA, December 13, 2022 — Employers in North America need to reshape their performance management efforts and pay-for-performance programs to give them a much-needed boost, according to a survey of over 800 global organizations by WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. The survey revealed similar conclusions worldwide.

    The survey found just one in four North America employers (26%) reported being effective at both managing and paying for performance. Additionally, the gap between the priorities for performance management and delivering on those objectives is wide. For example, more than nine in 10 North America respondents (93%) cited driving organization performance as a key objective for performance management, yet less than half (44%) said their performance management program is meeting that objective. Similarly, nearly three in four (72%) said supporting the career development of their employees is a primary objective, but only 31% said their performance management program was meeting that objective.

    North America respondents also had mixed views on the effectiveness of managers in evaluating performance and differentiating pay. Less than half (49%) agree that managers at their organizations are effective at assessing the performance of their direct reports. A similar number — 46% — consider their managers effective at differentiating their direct reports’ performance. Further, only one in three organizations indicates its employees feel their performance is evaluated fairly. Interestingly, despite the rapid increase in remote and hybrid working models, only one in six employers (16%) reports having altered its performance management approach to align with such models.

    “Employers have their work cut out to raise the bar on their performance management programs. Many recognize that their programs have not kept up with the changes due to the pandemic and tight labor market, yet they have not taken action. Ideally, employers will reshape their programs to correspond with new work styles and employee career aspirations and provide a better employee experience,” said Amy Sung, Work & Rewards global growth leader, WTW.

    While most employers recognize their programs are falling short of expectations, the survey found that North America employers already have several initiatives in place or are planning or considering enhancing their performance management and pay-for-performance programs:

    • Three in 10 respondents (34%) have strengthened the link between performance management and career development; another 60% are planning or considering doing so.
    • Over half of employers (54%) currently ensure ongoing and meaningful performance dialogue between managers and employees in a remote/hybrid working environment; another 39% are planning or considering taking actions to ensure meaningful dialogue.
    • Only 17% of employers have improved employees’ understanding of how their performance is evaluated, but 70% are planning to improve employee understanding.
    • Nearly one in four respondents (23%) has improved the employee and manager experience, but 64% are planning or considering ways to improve the experience.

    Employers that make the effort to improve their programs are likely to reap financial benefits. The study found that companies using performance management programs effectively are one and a half times as likely to report financially outperforming their industry peers and one and a quarter times as likely to report having higher employee productivity than their peers. Companies that are effectively using pay programs to drive individual and team performance are also more likely to outperform their peers (1.2 times) and report higher employee productivity (1.4 times) than their peers.

    “Our results show that performance management can be a key competitive differentiator as can pay-for-performance programs. While most organizations are currently planning for larger increases in 2023, the need to demonstrate to employees how their pay is tied to performance has never been greater,” said Alex Weisgerber, senior director, Work & Rewards, WTW.

    About the survey

    A total of 837 organizations worldwide, including 150 North America employers, participated in the 2022 Performance Reset Survey. The survey was conducted during September and October 2022. North America respondents employ more than 2.7 million workers.

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    Source: WTW (NASDAQ: WTW)

  • 21 Dec 2022 9:02 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    What to know about salary trends in 2023 - HR Executive

    By Kathryn Mayer on December 5, 2022

    Compensation is always an important part of the employer arsenal, but in 2023, that might be more true than ever. Fueled by a confluence of factors—rising inflation and changing employee expectations among them—HR leaders are planning to turn to larger-than-usual salary increases in 2023, data indicates.

    But reevaluating employee salaries isn’t the only thing HR and other company leaders need to think about in the coming year. Here is what to know about salary strategies as 2023 approaches.

    Next year looks to be a “banner year” for salary increases. A report from, which surveyed 1,000 HR professionals, finds that nearly half of U.S. employers plan higher year-over-year budget increases next year compared to 2022. The long-predominant 3% raise, which started its decline last year, has been replaced by a median raise of 4% across all employee categories, the survey finds. And a quarter of employers plan to give increases in the range of 5%–7% in 2023.

    “2023 promises to be another banner year for employees seeking salary increases,” says Chris Fusco, senior vice president of compensation at That’s a far cry from just a couple of years ago. When the pandemic began in 2020, Fusco adds, just under 10% of employers planned a higher salary budget increase than in the prior year.

    Other reports are finding similar results: New Willis Towers Watson data finds that salary boosts are forecast to be 4.6% in 2023, up from a mid-year estimate of 4.1%. And compensation consultancy Pearl Meyer data finds that 40% of business and HR leaders expect to provide higher salary increases next year than in 2022.

    Rising inflation—and talent wars—are driving the trend of higher salaries. Not one but two factors are helping to fuel higher salaries in 2023. Inflation has soared over the past year, causing employees to shell out more for their groceries, gas, housing, medical costs and more. Although inflation has fallen a bit in the last month from 40-year-highs (inflation jumped 7.7% in October versus a year ago, according to the latest cost-of-living index), costs are still hitting workers hard and resulting in a dive in their financial confidence. With employees struggling, many employers are responding. Gartner, for instance, found that 63% of executives plan to make compensation adjustments in response to high inflation.

    Plus, a competitive job market is making it all the more imperative for employers to rethink salaries, as well as benefits, to not only entice workers to join their ranks, but sway them to stay, experts say. A survey from human resources consulting firm Mercer finds that more than two-thirds of U.S. employers say they are looking to enhance their health and benefits offerings next year in order to attract and retain talent. Better healthcare access, more affordable medical care and increased family-friendly benefits are all on tap, Mercer found.

    Salary transparency laws are here. Pay transparency laws are taking effect throughout the country—from New York City to Colorado and, starting Jan. 1, California. It’s a big shift that has big implications for employers in those areas—and elsewhere.

    One thing HR leaders should keep in mind about the new rules? Posting broad salary ranges in response to the law rather than good faith estimates—say, a salary range that is $75,000-$250,000—is likely going to hurt employers by not only opening an employer up to city or state penalties, but also by deterring potential candidates. “This is forcing organizations to put out one of the things that really builds trust, and that’s transparency around pay,” says Tony Guadagni, senior principal in the Gartner HR practice. “If done right, it could be a really positive thing, a boon for organizations.”

    Bonuses may be an even bigger part of the equation. What’s a hot job market without salary increases, benefits enhancements and bonuses? More employers say they’re offering, or considering offering, bonuses to employees to both reward workers and help them with rising expenses. According to Pearl Meyer, 5% to 20% have increased or plan to increase competitive positioning for one or more pay components, like base salary, cash bonuses or equity-based incentives.

    Compensation attention should be focused on both new hires and current employees. Many employers are upping the ante for potential hires, offering large paydays. A survey of more than 635 workers and 650 hiring managers by software firm Capterra, for example, finds that companies are increasing pay for new hires: 65% of hiring managers say starting salaries and wages at their organization are higher than usual right now due to inflation and talent shortages. On average, new hire pay is 9% higher than usual. But, some analysts warn, efforts to woo candidates could be to the chagrin of current employees, many of whom are suffering from financial stress as they reel from the soaring cost-of-living and seek help from employers in the form of compensation increases.

    Though a focus on competitive pay for new hires “solves one problem—filling important job openings,” says Brian Westfall, principal HR analyst with Capterra, it’s also creating pay discrepancies with tenured employees.

    “That’s causing tension. Inflation has already left workers feeling slighted about the reduced purchasing power of their paychecks,” he says. “The fact that new hires are getting higher wages and salaries right now feels like adding insult to injury.”

    Westfall recommends that HR leaders audit compensation frequently to identify glaring discrepancies between new and existing employees. “You may not be able to increase salaries and fix every discrepancy you find, but hopefully you can close the gap in the worst cases,” he says.

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    Source: Human Resource Executive

  • 21 Dec 2022 8:55 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    How one beverage distributor tackled chronic employee illness

    By Phil Albinus on December 16, 2022

    Today’s healthcare system is failing blue-collar workers who deal with chronic diseases, creating unnecessary “barriers” that are worsening employee health.

    So says George Brown, director of Retro Health, the onsite clinics created by beverage distributor L&F Distributors, which provides medical testing and consultation to L&F’s 1,200 employees and their dependents in Texas and New Mexico. 

    L&F employees, many of whom drive delivery trucks or move cases of beer in a warehouse, told their supervisors and HR leaders that time and money prevent them from accessing care to control issues like weight, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and more.

    They typically say “I’ve got to clock out, drive across town and see a doctor. I’m going to sit there for a couple of hours in the waiting room and then see the doctor for maybe 10 minutes or probably less,” explains Brown. 

    L&F executives took a two-pronged approach to provide more attentive medical care to their employees while reducing their visits to emergency departments. In 2017, the employer built nine onsite medical offices inside their distribution centers and a year later it provided employees with health solution provider b.well Connected Health’s platform, a suite of mobile tools through which employees can store medical records, co-pay and insurance information, and receive healthcare advice.

    With this one-two approach, the beverage distributor saw ED visits slashed by 69%, overall per-member, per-month health costs reduced by 22%, and utilization of the onsite clinics increased by 57% in one year. (A recent UnitedHealth Group study found that an ED visit costs around $2,200 on average, and about two-thirds of the nation’s roughly 27 million annual ED visits are avoidable.)

    For Brown, a major driver of the success comes down to the employee adoption rate of the b.well solution. So far, 90% of employees have registered for the tool, and more than 60% have used it on a regular basis since its introduction in 2018. And during the early days of COVID, the b.well app was HR’s primary form of communication for employees to learn about prevention information and pandemic updates. 

    b.well describes its platform as a digital health management tool that combines employees’ medical history gathered from their physicians and caregivers to share this information with the employees’ current and future medical professionals for a holistic view of their health. The solution also gives employers data analysis of the workforce to provide a “snapshot” of employee health and wellness without violating the end users’ HIPAA rights, says Heather Crosby, director of clinical programs for b.well.

    In addition to improving employee health, the app and the rollout of onsite clinics have also helped with the beverage distributor’s employee engagement. Brown says that beverage distributors typically experience a high worker turnover rate but resignations have lessened since it implemented the b.well app and services from the onsite clinics, suggesting that the focus on health is impacting more than just employees’ physical wellbeing. [Employee engagement will be a key topic at the 2023 HR Tech Virtual Conference from Feb. 28 to March 2.]

    “They’re living healthier lives. We’re saving money, we’re able to share those cost savings back with the employees by keeping their premiums and their deductibles low,” says Brown. “It just becomes this flywheel where everybody wins.” 

    At first, some L&F managers and executives doubted that its workers would download and use a health app on their mobile devices. “We were told when we started this that these are blue-collar guys and they don’t like technology,” says Brown. “That’s complete B.S. because if it’s done really well and it’s useful and helpful, they’ll use it.”

    “They won’t use bad technology,” he adds. “They’ll use really good and helpful technology.”

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    Source: Human Resource Executive

  • 24 Oct 2022 7:04 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Resources for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being — Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General

    October 20, 2022

    Reports of “Quiet Quitting” and the Great Resignation Highlight How the COVID-19 Pandemic Shifted the Way Americans Live and Work

    Framework Highlights Five Essentials for Workers in Organizations, and Businesses of Every Size to Help Leaders Develop Policies and Practices that Support the Mental Health and Well-Being of Workers

    (Washington, DC) -- Today, United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a new Surgeon General’s Framework for Mental Health & Well-Being in the Workplace outlining the foundational role that workplaces should play in promoting the health and well-being of workers and our communities. As reports of “quiet quitting” and the Great Resignation have shown, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature of work for many and the relationship that some workers have with their jobs.

    With more than 160 million people participating in the United States workforce and with the average full-time worker in the United States spending about half of their waking life at work, workplaces play a significant role in shaping our mental and physical well-being. Employers have a unique opportunity not only to invest in the mental health and well-being of their workforce, but also to strengthen their organizations’ success by doing so.

    “A healthy workforce is the foundation for thriving organizations and healthier communities,” said Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. “As we recover from the worst of the pandemic, we have an opportunity and the power to make workplaces engines for mental health and well-being, and this Surgeon General’s Framework shows us how we can start. It will require organizations to rethink how they protect workers from harm, foster a sense of connection among workers, show workers that they matter, make space for their lives outside work, and support their growth. It will be worth it, because the benefits will accrue for workers and organizations alike.”

    The COVID-19 pandemic brought the relationship between work and well-being into clearer focus for many U.S. workers. According to recent surveys:

    In the Surgeon General’s Framework for Mental Health and Well-Being in the Workplace, Dr. Murthy outlines Five Essentials for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being to help organizations develop, institutionalize, and update policies, processes, and practices that best support the mental health and well-being of all workers.

    1. Protection from Harm: Creating the conditions for physical and psychological safety is a critical foundation for ensuring mental health and well-being in the workplace. In order to promote practices that better assure protection from harm, workplaces can:
      1. Prioritize workplace physical and psychological safety
      2. Enable adequate rest
      3. Normalize and support focusing on mental health
      4. Operationalize Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) norms, policies, and programs
    2. Connection and Community: Fostering positive social interaction and relationships in the workplace supports worker well-being. In order to promote practices that better assure connection and community, workplaces can:
      1. Create cultures of inclusion and belonging
      2. Cultivate trusted relationships
      3. Foster collaboration and teamwork
    3. Work-Life Harmony: Professional and personal roles can create work and non-work conflicts. In order to promote practices that better assure work-life harmony, workplaces can:
      1. Provide more autonomy over how work is done
      2. Make schedules as flexible and predictable as possible
      3. Increase access to paid leave
      4. Respect boundaries between work and non-work time
    4. Mattering at Work: People want to know that they matter to those around them and that their work matters. Knowing you matter has been shown to lower stress, while feeling like you do not can increase the risk for depression. In order to better assure a culture of mattering at work, workplaces can:
      1. Provide a living wage
      2. Engage workers in workplace decisions
      3. Build a culture of gratitude and recognition
      4. Connect individual work with organizational mission
    5. Opportunities for Growth: When organizations create more opportunities for workers to accomplish goals based on their skills and growth, workers become more optimistic about their abilities and more enthusiastic about contributing to the organization. In order to promote practices that better assure opportunities for growth, workplaces can:
      1. Offer quality training, education, and mentoring
      2. Foster clear, equitable pathways for career advancement
      3. Ensure relevant, reciprocal feedback

    A Surgeon General’s Framework is a guide to call attention to a public health issue, developed to help the American public better understand and address factors that affect health. This particular Framework provides Essentials, a foundation of key components, for workplace leaders to engage all workers and equitably support their mental health and well-being. It includes evidence-informed practices that leadership across workplaces of varied sizes and industries can apply to reimagine and reinvigorate their organizations.

    As the Nation’s Doctor – the 21st Surgeon General of the United States – Dr. Murthy has focused much of his work, research, and public platform on how the nation can recover from the pandemic stronger than before, including his recently-issued Surgeon General’s Advisories on Youth Mental Health and Health Worker Well-Being. The Surgeon General’s Framework for Mental Health and Well-Being in the Workplace is part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) ongoing efforts to support President Joe Biden’s whole-of-government strategy to transform mental health services for all Americans—a key part of the President’s Unity Agenda that is reflected in the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget. Following the President’s State of the Union in March, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra kicked off the HHS National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health to address the mental health challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including substance use, youth mental health, and suicide.

    You can read the full Framework here.

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    Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

  • 24 Oct 2022 6:57 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Piggybank on wooden table with stacks of coins beside it. A hand putting a coin into the piggy bank.

    Janet NovackForbes Staff

    The Internal Revenue Service announced today that young workers will be allowed to contribute up to $22,500 pretax to a 401(k) or similar retirement savings plan in 2023, a $2,000 jump from the current $20,500 limit. Those 50 or older will be permitted to sock away up to $30,000, a $3,000 boost, which includes a $7,500 “catch-up” contribution, up from a $6,500 catch-up in 2022. That means employees who are already contributing the maximum and are able to save more will in effect be able to give themselves a tax cut.

    At the same time, the IRS said, the limit for contributions to a pre-tax or Roth IRA will rise next year to $6,500, up from the $6,000 level where it has been stalled for four years. Those 50 and older can make an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution to an IRA—a number that is not subject to inflation adjustments.

    Meanwhile, the maximum contribution an employee can make to a Simple IRA Plan—a retirement plan designed for small businesses—will rise to $15,500 in 2023, up from $14,000.

    The contribution limit increases were widely anticipated since they are based on the inflation rate—now running at a 40-year high. According to benefits consultant Mercer, the limit increases are all the largest ever. (The last time inflation was this high, automatic adjustments weren’t a part of the tax code.)

    Last week, the IRS released a slew of other inflation adjustments, including higher standard deductions and tax brackets and increases in the amount of wealth that can be transferred free of gift or estate tax. The Social Security Administration also announced an 8.7% cost of living adjustment for 2023—an automatic benefits boost increase for 70 million Americans.

    The full set of IRS adjustments to retirement plans are available here, in Notice 2022-55.

    Here’s more of what you need to know about the retirement adjustments for 2023.

    401(k) Plans

    The new $22,500 and $30,000 limits apply to employee contributions that are made either pre-tax or to a Roth account in a 401(k) plan, or to similar plans maintained by non-profit and government employers—403(b) plans, most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan for workers.

    There’s also an overall limit (including employer contributions) on how much can go into any employee’s 401(k) each year. That will be jumping from $61,000 to $66,000 for younger workers and from $67,500 to $73,500 for those 50 plus, who get that catch-up boost. The highest paid employees may find that number relevant, since some plans permit workers to top up their own contributions to reach the limit. Top-up contributions must be made with after tax dollars and don’t go into a Roth.

    It works like this: Pre-tax contributions reduce your current tax bill and grow tax deferred, but all your withdrawals in retirement are taxable (with certain exceptions for money transferred directly to charity). Roth contributions are made after tax and all earnings on them (as well as the original contributions) are tax free when taken out in retirement. Earnings on after-tax contributions are merely tax deferred and only the original contributions come out tax free.

    IRA Contributions And Income Limits

    While the amount you can contribute to an IRA is rising from $6,000 to $6,500, that’s not the only number that has been adjusted for inflation. You can’t make a tax deductible contribution to an IRA unless you either have no workplace retirement plan or your income is below certain limits. For 2023, the deduction will phase out for single taxpayers earning between $73,000 and $83,000 (up from $68,000 to $78,000) and for married couples filing jointly earning $116,000 to $136,000 (up from between $109,000 and $129,000). If your spouse is covered by a workplace plan and you’re not, your deduction for an IRA phases out between $218,000 and $228,000 in 2023, up from $204,000 to $214,000 in 2022.

    At the same time, the income limits to make a contribution to a Roth IRA, which are higher than those for the pre-tax IRA, are also rising sharply. (Important note: the pre-tax and Roth IRA are both subject to the same $6,500/$7,500 contribution limit. Roth IRAs are generally considered a desirable account to fund because they are so flexible—you can always take out your original contributions to a Roth IRA without facing the sort of tax penalties that can hit pre-retirement withdrawals from other accounts. In fact, Roth IRAs can even function as an emergency account for young savers.)

    The income phase-out for contributions to a Roth IRA for singles and heads of household will be $138,000 to $153,000 in 2023 (up from $129,000 to $144,000). For married couples filing jointly, the phase-out range will be $218,000 to $228,000, up from $204,000 to $214,000 this year.

    SEP IRAs and Solo 401(k)s

    These are plans designed for the self-employed and small business owners. The maximum that can be saved in a SEP IRA will go to $66,000, up from $61,000 in 2022. That’s considered an employer contribution and is based on total earnings. A self-employed person can effectively contribute up to 20% of earnings of up to $330,000, up from $305,000 in 2022.

    The limit for total contributions to a Solo 401(k)—a 401(k) for self-employed folks—is rising from $61,000 to $66,000 for younger folks and from $67,500 to $73,500 for those 50 and older. That’s the same as the overall limit for regular 401(k)s. One part is the employee contribution, which has the same contribution limits as any other 401(k)—$22,500 in 2023 for younger workers and $30,000 for those 50 or older. The other part is the employer contribution and is based on earnings. One advantage of a Solo 401(k) is that the employee contribution part allows the self-employed to save large amounts at lower earnings levels than with a SEP IRA. Another advantage is that those 50 and older can make an additional catch-up contribution to a Solo 401(k), but not to a SEP IRA.

    Saver’s Credit

    This is a tax credit designed to encourage low and moderate income workers to save for retirement by matching (at a rate of 10% to 50%) some of what they contribute to an IRA or workplace plan. The credit phases down and out as a taxpayer’s income rises. In 2023, the credit will phase out at $73,000 for married couples filing joint tax returns (up from $68,000); $36,500 for singles and couples filing separately (up from $34,000); and $54,750 for heads of household (up from $51,000).

    Defined Benefit Plans

    The amount that can be put into a plan for any one worker is affected by a Congressionally set (and inflation adjusted) limit to how much of that worker’s salary can be considered for calculating his future benefit. That maximum salary in 2023 will be $265,000, up from $245,000. The use of defined benefit plans has declined at big companies, but older small business owners have increasingly been using custom designed defined benefit plans to sock away huge amounts on a pre-tax basis.


    The dollar limit on the amount of your IRA or 401(k) you can invest in a qualified longevity annuity contract will rise in 2023 to $155,000 from $145,000. A QLAC pays you money some time in the future and is considered a way to avoid outliving your money or to provide for long term care expenses late in life. The $155,000 is a lifetime limit, not an annual limit.

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    Source: Forbes

  • 24 Oct 2022 6:52 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    2023 FSA limits increase in response to rising inflation

    By Kathryn Mayer | October 21, 2022

    Spurred by soaring inflation, which has been on an upward trajectory over the last year, the Internal Revenue Service pushed the cap for flexible spending accounts next year above $3,000 in one of the larger increases in recent years.

    Employees will be able to contribute $3,050 to FSAs—made pretax through salary reductions—in 2023, the agency said this week. That’s up $200 from this year’s $2,850 limit. FSA limits generally increase by about $100 each year.

    For cafeteria plans that permit the carryover of unused amounts, the maximum carryover amount is $610—an increase of $40, the IRS said.

    Shobin Uralil, co-founder and COO of health savings account provider Lively, says the increase in FSA contribution limits is “a step in the right direction” but isn’t enough to address financial concerns from employees. “Americans are seriously struggling due to high inflation rates, and the reality is that they will need more ways to save and invest their dollars to protect their retirement,” he says.

    Indeed, the 7% increase for FSA limits is still lower than the current inflation rate, which is 8.2%, according to the latest consumer price index. Inflation has taken its toll on nearly all aspects of employees’ finances, from monthly expenses to emergency savings and retirement savings, information that is spurring many employers to make changes in the form of salary adjustments, bonuses or enhanced financial wellness benefits.

    Still, a bigger increase in FSA limits—as well as health savings accounts—can be helpful for workers. The IRS back in May announced its 2023 annual HSA limits, which also increased more significantly in response to inflation. Health savings account contribution limits for an individual with self-only coverage will jump to $3,850—a significant $200 increase from $3,650 for this year. Last year, the amount climbed just $50 from $3,600 for 2021. For family coverage, the HSA contribution limit jumps to $7,750 next year from $7,300 in 2022.

    Experts say employers would be wise to promote HSAs and FSAs and encourage workers to increase their contributions as a helpful way to assist with medical costs.

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    Source: Human Resources Executive

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