Hot Topics in Total Rewards

  • 25 May 2021 8:43 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    BY DAN WITTERS | May 6, 2021 

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Black workers are more likely to stay in unwanted job for benefits
    • Half concerned that the rising cost of care will outpace ability to pay
    • Most Americans support government role in some cost-containment measures

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- One out of every six adult workers whose primary health insurance comes from an employer are staying in jobs they might otherwise leave out of fear of losing their health benefits. The fear is even more pronounced among Black workers and those making less than $48,000 a year. These results are based on a new study conducted by West Health and Gallup.

    Staying in Unwanted Job for Health Insurance Benefits, by Race/Ethnicity and Annual Household Income

    Are you currently in a job that you want to leave but don't because you are afraid of losing your health insurance benefits? (% Yes)

    Yes
    %
    All U.S. workers 16
    RACE/ETHNICITY:
    Black workers 21
    Hispanic workers 16
    White workers 14
    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME:
    <$48,000 28
    $48,000-<$90,000 19
    $90,000-<$120,000 12
    $120,000-<$180,000 10
    $180,000+ 10
    West Health-Gallup Healthcare Survey, March 15-21, 2021 (n=3,870)
    GALLUP PANEL

    Overall, Black workers (21%) are more likely to say they would stay in an unwanted job for purposes of keeping their health benefits than White workers (14%), a statistically significant difference. As such, Black workers are an estimated 50% more likely to be staying in their current job for this reason than are their White counterparts. Hispanic workers (16%) are not statistically different from either of the two groups. And workers in households earning under $48,000 per year are nearly three times more likely to stay in an unwanted job for the health benefits than are workers living in households earning at least $120,000 per year (28% to 10%, respectively).

    This survey was conducted by web from Mar. 15-21, 2021, with 3,870 adults, ages 18+, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia via the Gallup Panel, a probability-based, non-opt-in panel of about 120,000 adults nationwide.

    Concerns Run High That Rising Cost of Care Will Outpace Ability to Pay

    With millions of workers staying in unwanted jobs for the health benefits, concerns run high among all adults that the rising cost of care will persist to the point of being unaffordable. Recent research showed that 18% of U.S. adults -- an estimated 46 million persons -- could not afford quality healthcare if they needed it today. New results estimate that around 135 million adults are worried that they will eventually reach this point -- if they haven't already.

    Over half of survey respondents are either "concerned" or "very concerned" that the cost of healthcare services (53%) and the cost of prescription drugs (52%) will continue to rise in the future to the point that they will no longer be able to afford them. Black and Hispanic adults have modestly elevated concerns about the rising costs of healthcare compared with White adults. Forty-two percent of respondents, in turn, report concern that they would not be able to pay for a major health event, including 49% of Hispanic adults and 47% of Black adults.

    In comparison, 25% are concerned about losing their home, and 29% of workers are worried about losing their jobs.

    Concerns Over Potential Life-Changing Events, by Race and Ethnicity

    How concerned are you with each of the following? Very concerned, concerned, not very concerned, or not at all concerned? (% Very concerned/Concerned)

    U.S. total White adults Black adults Hispanic adults
    % % % %
    The cost of healthcare rising until you can no longer afford it 53 50 59 59
    The cost of prescription drugs rising until you can no longer afford them 52 51 59 53
    Not being able to pay for a major health event 42 40 47 49
    Losing your job (workers only) 29 26 40 37
    Losing your home due to your inability to pay for it 25 20 37 32
    West Health-Gallup Healthcare Survey, March 15-21, 2021 (n=3,870)
    GALLUP PANEL

    Majorities Support Government-Led Cost Control Measures

    The survey found substantial support for the federal government to play a bigger role in reducing the financial burden of healthcare on individuals and families via selected approaches. Such support is nearly indistinguishable among those with government-run or private insurance plans or those with no insurance.

    About three-quarters favor setting limits on prescription drug price increases (77%), capping hospital prices in areas with few or no other hospitals from which to choose (76%) and negotiating lower prices for some high-cost drugs without lower-priced alternatives (74%). Another 65% support placing government limits on prices charged by out-of-network care. Those with private insurance were just as likely as those on public health plans (including Medicare and Medicaid) to favor government intervention.

    Public Support for Proposed Government Cost Control Measures in Healthcare, by Insurance Status

    To what extent do you agree or disagree that a stronger role for government is needed to contain costs in the following situations? (% Strongly agree/Somewhat agree)

    U.S. total Insured by private plan Insured by government-run plan All insured Uninsured
    % % % % %
    Allowing the federal government to set limits on drug price increases 77 77 77 77 72
    Capping prices for hospitals in certain markets with limited or no competition 76 76 75 76 71
    Allowing the government to negotiate prices for certain high cost drugs that have no competitors 74 73 76 76 71
    Establishing limits on prices charged by out-of-network care 65 66 63 65 60
    West Health-Gallup Healthcare Study, March 15-21, 2021 (n=3,870)
    GALLUP PANEL

    The proposals generally have bipartisan support, even though Republicans are less likely than Democrats and independents to support a stronger government role. This includes majority support among Republicans for all proposals except for establishing limits on prices charged by out-of-network care, for which 81% of Democrats, 64% of Independents and 43% of Republicans strongly or somewhat agree with government action.

    Agreement levels for the remaining proposals are:

    Allowing the federal government to set limits on drug price increases:

    • Democrats: 91%
    • Independents: 74%
    • Republicans: 63%

    Capping prices for hospitals in certain markets with limited or no competition:

    • Democrats: 89%
    • Independents: 76%
    • Republicans: 59%

    Allowing the federal government to negotiate prices for certain high-cost drugs that have no competitors:

    • Democrats: 88%
    • Independents: 73%
    • Republicans: 58%

    Overall disagreement with the proposals is comparatively low, ranging from 11% who report that they strongly or somewhat disagree with capping prices for hospitals to 15% for establishing limits on out-of-network care.

    Implications

    Approximately 158 million people, or more than half of the U.S. adult population, receive health insurance via their own employer or the employer of a household member. As such, the 16% of workers who are remaining in their jobs for the sake of their benefits will frequently extend to other individuals other than themselves, bolstering their reluctance to seek out other work. The higher levels of these sentiments among Black workers and those in lower-income households underscores the disproportionate role that employment plays in needed health coverage for some Americans.

    High healthcare prices are likely fueling the problem. In the past five years, the average insurance premium for a family of four has increased 22%, and in 2020, premiums increased more than wages. The generally high agreement with several proposals for government action designed to contain the cost of various forms of care is understandable, particularly so as those with insurance are voicing support at levels that match those without it. Such sentiment could bolster the Biden Administration politically as it prepares to release a number of health policies intended to strengthen the Affordable Care Actexpand Medicaid, and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

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    Source: Gallup, Inc. 

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/349094/workers-stay-unwanted-job-health-benefits.aspx

  • 25 May 2021 8:39 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Program also includes short-form technology and business certificate programs, high school completion

    By Daniella Genovese | May 13, 2021

    Waste Management Inc. is eliminating the burden of college expenses for its employees and their families. 

    The company's Your Tomorrow program, in collaboration with Guild Education, offers employees and their "eligible dependents" the ability to chose "from a full range of education options, including earning a college degree" at no cost to them. 

    Nearly 36,000 full-time employees nationwide will have access to more than 170 fully funded programs, the company announced Thursday. 

    This includes undergraduate and graduate degrees and will also cover the cost of short-form technology and business certificate programs as well as high school completion.

    The education and training programs focus primarily on business, technology, science and mathematics, which directly ties into the needs of the business, according to Waste Management. 

    An employee walks toward a garbage collection truck in San Leandro, Calif., on Feb. 12, 2018. 

    An employee walks toward a garbage collection truck in San Leandro, Calif., on Feb. 12, 2018.  (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    Competency in these areas will be "critical to the future of WM’s business" where employees are asked to operate "technology-enabled fleet and equipment and enhance the customer experience." 

    The program "supports the reskilling and retention of existing talent, while also helping to attract new talent to equip the business with a skilled workforce for the future," according to Waste Management Chief People Officer Tamla Oates-Forney. 

    However, employees won't be the only ones benefitting from the education and upskilling benefit program.

    "[The program] will soon help our team members eliminate the financial burden of providing for their dependent’s education as well," Oates-Forney said. 

    Later this year, benefits-eligible dependents, which include nearly 34,000 children and spouses, will be allowed to enroll in educational programs for the following year. 

    Waste Management said this is the first time a company has extended education opportunities "at this scale." 

    In doing so, Guild Education CEO Rachel Carlson said Waste Management is "setting the standard for how organizations can creatively invest not only in their employees, but also those employees’ children and families, in a way that ties to their company strategy."

    The program is one of a handful of incentives the company announced as part of its hiring push to fill essential frontline driver and technician positions across North America. 

    The company will be holding "career day" events on May 21-22 in an effort to fill the positions. To persuade job seekers, the company said the positions will come with a range of new employee benefits aside from the Your Tomorrow program, including flexible work schedules and sign-on bonuses. 

    "Through our Career Day events, we hope to attract new team members that want to evolve their career and will take advantage of this new benefit program," Oates-Forney said. 

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    Source: Fox News

    https://www.foxnews.com/us/waste-management-college-bills-employees

  • 25 May 2021 8:37 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Mental Health Telehealth Visits Rapidly Increase During the Pandemic

    Well before the pandemic, provider payments have been paid at the same reimbursement rate as in-person visits since 2013.

    May 10, 2021

    MINNETONKA, Minn. — Medica members accessing mental health care through telehealth technology has increased by 2,515 percent since the pandemic began in March 2020. Meanwhile, Medica's network of providers offering mental health care via telehealth has increased more than sixfold in the same period.

    "For six years, Medica has understood the value of telehealth services for providing mental health care and has been paying providers for these visits at the same rate as in-person visits," said John R. Mach, M.D., Medica's chief medical officer. "When it became clear to us early in the pandemic that telehealth care was particularly well-suited for taking care of our members' mental health needs, we worked quickly with our provider partners to build a more robust network to support our members."

    In the first quarter of 2020, early in the pandemic, Medica processed approximately 650 telehealth claims for mental health. During a similar time stretch spanning late 2020 to early 2021, Medica had processed 17,000 claims.

    An analysis of mental health telehealth claims provide some insight to the effect of the pandemic. The top three conditions treated by telehealth were anxiety, depression and trauma (which includes diagnoses for post-traumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, adjustment disorder and reactive attachment). For those conditions, approximately 70 percent of claims were telehealth visits.

    A breakdown of mental health telehealth claims for all conditions shows that people ages 35 to 49 used this service the most when seeking mental health care, followed by those ages 27 to 34. For those claims, women outnumbered men by a 3:2 ratio.

    In the first few months of the pandemic, the number of Medica's in-network providers offering mental health services through telehealth increased from 5,500 to 39,800 nationally. In Minnesota, the number increased from 3,841 to 7,130.

    A key factor in the network expansion was that Medica, with its behavioral health vendor, fast-tracked the onboarding process for providers who wanted to offer telehealth visits. Medica also worked with providers to quickly move visits to a virtual setting to minimize care interruptions as patients were more hesitant to have face to face appointments during the pandemic.

    "At a time when people's mental health was drastically impacted by the pandemic, we were pleased that Medica stepped up to ensure continued — and enhanced — access to mental health treatment through telehealth," said Sue Abderholden, executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota. "On behalf of NAMI Minnesota, we appreciate Medica's commitment to payment parity because whether it's in person or through telehealth or even telephonic, mental health professionals deserve fair reimbursement for the important care they provide."

    Paying Telehealth Visits at the Same Rate

    Medica has reimbursed mental health visits via telehealth at the same rate as in-person visits since 2013.

    Medica Mental Health Pandemic Experience

    "Payment reimbursement at the same rate regardless of delivery mode is one of the reasons Medica was able to respond so quickly to our members' needs for mental health services through telehealth," Mach said. "Providers who were perhaps on the cusp of providing the service already had an incentive in place and they quickly saw the value it would bring to their patients."

    The future of mental health by telehealth

    Medica has placed a priority on ensuring its members have access to mental health care in the setting that is most comfortable for them. To ensure they have access to the highest quality providers, Medica will continue to reimburse these visits — office and telehealth — at the same rates.

    About Medica

    Medica is a non-profit health plan headquartered in Minnesota. The company serves communities in the heart of America by providing health care coverage and related services in the employer, individual, Medicaid and Medicare markets. It operates in Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

    Medica's vision is to be trusted in the community for our unwavering commitment to high quality, affordable health care. Medica's annual report, which includes the organization's community involvement activities, is available online.

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    Source: Medica

    https://www.medica.com/newsroom/press-releases/2021/05102021-mental-health-telehealth-visits-rapidly-increase-during-the-pandemic

  • 04 May 2021 3:53 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Amazon

    PUBLISHED WED, APR 28 20214:59 PM | EDTUPDATED WED, APR 28 20216:48 PM EDT

    Annie Palmer

    Amazon announced Wednesday it will give more than 500,000 workers a raise.

    Amazon will hike pay by between 50 cents and $3 an hour for over half a million of its U.S. operations employees, Darcie Henry, vice president of global human resources for Amazon, said in a blog post on the company’s website. Amazon will spend more than $1 billion on incremental pay for these workers, Henry said.

    The pay raises will start to take effect in mid-May through early June of this year, Henry said. Amazon said it moved up annual pay review for positions across its customer fulfillment, delivery, package sorting and specialty fulfillment teams from fall to this spring.

    The raises are meant to help incentivize hiring for tens of thousands of operations jobs across the U.S., Henry said. The jobs will add to the hundreds of thousands of workers Amazon brought on in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic pushed the company to go on a hiring spree to keep up with a spike in online orders.

    As the economy has started to reopen, some businesses say they’ve struggled to find workers and are pointing to expanded jobless benefits as a possible reason for the staffing shortage. Critics have argued that employers should consider raising wages to attract workers.

    Amazon in 2018 raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all U.S. employees, following pressure from politicians and worker advocacy groups. The company has thrown its weight behind the Raise the Wage Act, a bill backed by President Joe Biden and top Democrats that would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour from $7.25 an hour by 2025. Amazon also touted its starting pay of $15 an hour as part of its argument against unionization amid a high-stakes election at one of its warehouses in Alabama earlier this month.

    The e-commerce giant is the second-largest private employer in the U.S., behind retail rival Walmart, with more than 800,000 employees nationwide.

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    Source: CNBC

    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/28/amazon-to-hike-wages-for-over-500000-workers-to-up-to-3-an-hour.html

  • 04 May 2021 3:50 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Ginger's on-demand mental healthcare services are now available to Cigna's 14 Million behavioral health customers nationwide. (Graphic: Business Wire)

    April 28, 2021 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

    SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ginger, the leader in on-demand mental healthcare, today announced it is joining the Cigna network of providers to bring Ginger’s full suite of virtual mental health services to 14 million Cigna behavioral health customers nationwide. Now, Cigna customers with employer-sponsored or individual and family (IFP) insurance plans can access Ginger’s behavioral health coaching, therapy, and psychiatry services as an in-network benefit.

    Cigna customers can get started with Ginger by downloading the Ginger app (available via the iOS App Store and Google Play) and providing their insurance benefit information, which Ginger will verify in real-time. Eligible customers will have the option to begin texting with a Ginger behavioral health coach within 60 seconds, in addition to accessing Ginger’s robust library of self-guided content and skill-building activities. For individuals who need higher levels of care, a therapist or psychiatrist can be added to their care team for video-based sessions.

    With this new addition to its network, Cigna is the first national health plan to offer Ginger’s behavioral health coaching as an in-network benefit. Behavioral health coaching takes an active, goal oriented approach to address a wide array of sub-acute mental health challenges, ranging from sleep issues to relationship struggles. Available 24/7, Ginger’s behavioral health coaching offering is:

    • Prevention-focused: Behavioral health coaching is designed to prevent the onset of more serious mental health conditions before they start.
    • Collaborative: Coaches are trained to identify the need for higher-level care, and can help to escalate customers into therapy or psychiatry services when needed. Coaches support individuals through their entire care journey with Ginger.
    • Evidence-based: Ginger’s team-based approach is proven to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, as published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. Ginger’s providers are supported by artificial intelligence technology, which helps to surface care insights, support collaboration, and improve quality assurance.
    • Cost-effective: Ginger’s behavioral health coaching services support the needs of 80% of the population. One month of care costs less than a single traditional therapy visit.

    “Cigna's mission is to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we serve by making healthcare simple, affordable and predictable,” said Cigna’s Dr. Doug Nemecek, chief medical officer for behavioral health. “Right now, more than ever, individuals are seeking out mental health support, and our relationship with Ginger creates more access to that care, when and where customers need it.”

    "We're facing a nationwide supply-demand crisis in mental healthcare, with demand reaching unprecedented levels, and fewer providers entering the industry than ever before," said Russell Glass, CEO of Ginger. "We're proud to partner with leading organizations like Cigna that recognize not only the scope of the nation's mental health crisis, but the importance of taking a preventative approach to this challenge. Together, we are opening up access to incredible mental healthcare for millions, at a fraction of the cost of traditional care."

    Ginger and Cigna have had a longstanding relationship, including an investment by Cigna Ventures in early 2020.

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    Source: Business Wire

    https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210428005278/en/Ginger-Brings-On-Demand-Mental-Healthcare-to-14-Million-Cigna-Behavioral-Health-Customers-Nationwide

  • 26 Apr 2021 8:16 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Remote Workers Expect Pay to Reflect Their Locations


    By Stephen Miller, CEBS | April 21, 2021

    More employers are adopting 'geographic pay' policies

    Geographic pay policies that set and adjust pay for far-flung workers based on local compensation factors, such as cost of labor and cost of living rates, are becoming more common among employers, new research shows.

    With 67 percent of employees expecting their compensation to reflect their location, geographic pay has become a pressing issue for employers, according to WorldatWork's Geographic Pay Policies Study, based on a February survey with responses from 1,063 organizations and 503 employees.

    "Work is no longer a place," said Scott Cawood, CEO of WorldatWork, an association of total rewards professionals. "With remote working requests continuing to emerge and surprise leaders, companies are re-evaluating how to create cohesive, consistent and fair geographic pay policies."

    Of the 62 percent of organizations with existing geographic pay policies, 44 percent are considering modifying or have recently modified their policies due to the increase of full-time remote work, the survey found. Among other results:

    • The top two considerations for organizations addressing localized compensation are expanding (38 percent) or consolidating (20 percent) pay differentials by geographic area.
    • The more locations an organization has, the more likely it is to consider creating a U.S. geographic pay policy, especially as full-time remote work rises.
    • 41 percent of organizations apply pay differentials as a premium/discount to either a jobs-based pay structure or to individual pay, and 33 percent create separate base pay structures for each different geographic location where employees are working.

    Localized Pay Factors

    Over half (55 percent) of organizations use city/metro areas for setting geographical pay differences. Cost of labor is overwhelmingly a greater influence than cost of living for determining the pay policy approach, employers said.

    Almost all organizations are somewhat or moderately flexible regarding voluntary relocations for full-time remote workers. As for their employees, 50 percent say that a pay adjustment—either higher or lower—would be very or extremely influential in their decision to voluntarily relocate.

    A determining factor for many employers will be if pay localization policies affect retention. Remote work, which "used to only be an occasional issue is now a frequent request, and savvy employers will need to respond with fair, transparent and attractive geographic pay policies for distributed workforces if they wish to remain competitive," Cawood said.

    Limits on Adjustments

    While more companies are adopting geographical pay policies, the extent to which pay rates will vary by location is unclear.

    Silicon Valley tech firms that adjust pay for those who moved out of the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, make smaller downward adjustments than might be expected, Tauseef Rahman, a partner at HR consultancy Mercer in San Francisco, observed last year.

    "National data would suggest that a job paid $100,000 in San Francisco would be paid about 13 percent less in Puget Sound" in Washington state, he noted. "However, our research indicates that the current pay differential is smaller—closer to 6 percent less. So instead of expecting a $13,000 pay cut, the hypothetical reduction would be closer to $6,000."

    Rahman concluded, "The tech job market will soon be national, and 'local market rates' will be replaced by some variant of 'Silicon Valley tech rates less 10 percent.' " In the end, "candidate pools and pay will be less about city address and more about availability and capability."

    Much less certain, however, is whether the trend among big tech companies toward a national labor market, give or take 10 percent of pay, will be repeated by industries where competition for talent is less severe.

    The desire to keep pay policies simple could be a factor here. "Multinational companies are already well-versed in the practice of differential pay policies at a global scale," wrote Brett Christie, managing editor of WorldatWork's Workspan Daily. However, for companies with offices exclusively in the U.S., "the prospect of overhauling pay structures to account for geographic differences might seem daunting."

    Employees Don't Want a Pay Cut When Relocating
    (with an Exception)

    Craftjet, a company that connects local home service professionals with homeowners, recently asked if employers should adjust salaries down—making a locality adjustment—when an employee moves from a more expensive area to a less expensive one.

    The answer from workers was a resounding no—87 percent believe they should be paid the same amount they're currently being paid, no matter where they move.

    However, when people were asked what pay cut they would take to relocate to their ideal spot, most Americans (83 percent) would take a 10 to 20 percent pay cut to make that move, with 60 percent saying 10 percent would be the maximum they would tolerate.

    The survey was conducted March 29 to April 9, with 2,888 respondents, including 50 to 150 residents in each of 24 major American cities. Respondents' average age was 38 years old.

    Among other survey responses:

    • When asked if they would move if given the opportunity to work permanently remote, most Americans living in cities (61 percent) said yes. Many of the most expensive and densely populated cities contained the highest percentages of people looking for a change.
    • Of those who would leave their current city, when asked what reasons would most compel a move, desire for a bigger, better home and lower cost of living were the top reasons cited, followed by desire for more access to nature and being closer to family and friends.

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    Source: Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 

    https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/compensation/pages/remote-workers-expect-pay-to-reflect-their-locations.aspx

  • 26 Apr 2021 8:12 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Workplace Experience: Why Evergreen Is Everything | Avanade Insights Blog

    NEWS PROVIDED BY: WorldatWork  |  Apr 20, 2021, 08:53 ET

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Sixty percent of employees are currently working remotely, and 76% indicate they would like to continue in that capacity after the pandemic. However, employers anticipate that 34% of employees will continue working remotely after the pandemic setting up possible future tension between organizations and their workforces. Also, thirty-two percent of employees state they would not return to work and look for a new job if they cannot work remotely. These findings are in the "WorldatWork COVID-19 Employer Plans and Employee Perceptions" survey, conducted in partnership with SalesGlobe. The comprehensive survey, a follow-up to April 2020's "COVID-19 Employer Response Survey" covers vaccine policies/incentives, hazard pay, financial impact/forecasting, business travel, remote work, investment in software solutions, work-from-home expense reimbursements, worker protections, employee recruitment, PTO policies, and vacation stances, among other topics. (Journalists: contact kstrauss@worldatwork.org for survey reports.)

    Sample Findings:

    • 60% of organizations report they will not require employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to returning to work, an indication that organizations are opting to maintain a personal vs. professional line by not, as of now, requiring the vaccine. And most employees are choosing to obtain the vaccine; 72% of employees have received a vaccine or plan to get one when it becomes available to them.    
    • Organizations and HR professionals successfully adjusted their business and people operations in 2020 to help sustain financial viability. Only a handful of organizations (9%) report their financial performance has decreased by 30% or more under plan over the past 12 months. Among those that have experienced financial losses, 66% believe their organization will be able to recover in two years or less.
    • 31% percent of organizations are providing hazard pay for essential workers who are required to be on-site during the pandemic and organizations that are providing hazard pay have increased by eight percentage points since last year's survey. This positive trend shows that employers recognize the importance of providing fair compensation to essential workers for the additional risk they incur. 
    • 38% of organizations reimburse expenses related to working from home, a 13 percentage-point increase from June 2020's "WorldatWork Back to Work Playbook," and 92% of employees feel their organization provide sufficient reimbursement for work from home expenses.
    • Organizations are still managing travel expenses conservatively and adjusting the way they do business to incorporate less travel, with 68% of organizations expecting the same level of business travel or less in 2021, as compared to 2020. 

    Methodology
    WorldatWork invited its member and customer base to participate in a survey on employer plans regarding COVID-19. A total of 380 responses were received. In addition, 1,418 full-time business professionals in the U.S. responded to employee view questions via MarketCube, an online panel, and via SalesGlobe. Data was collected in February 2021 over a three-week period.

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    Source: WorldatWork

    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/employer-actions--employee-perceptions-gauging-the-covid-19-workplace-experience-301272485.html

  • 12 Apr 2021 9:38 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Expanded pay equity capability helps companies assess where and why gaps exist

    By:  PRNewswire | March 25, 2021

    Salary.com, the compensation management solution providing more of the trusted data and intuitive software organizations need to get pay right, today announced the launch of the CompAnalyst Pay Equity Reporting Toolkit. As companies prioritize identifying potential pay disparities within their organizations, the timely launch of this Toolkit allows for a deeper dive into identifying differences in pay based on gender, race, age, or any basis of comparison that a company finds important. As part of CompAnalyst®’s Reporting and Analytics Module, the Pay Equity Reporting Toolkit provides the tools needed to assess where pay discrepancies exist, giving companies valuable insights into why such gaps exist, and the corrective actions they can take.

    The standard reports in the new Pay Equity Reporting Toolkit are analyzed by job, family, level or grade across gender, ethnicity or age, all of which can be customized. Among the types of reports offered are:

    • Pay Equity at My Company
    • Pay Equity by Ethnicity, Gender or Age
    • Equal Pay for Equal Work
    • Individual Employee by Job
    • Average Pay Spread by Gender

    The Pay Equity Reporting Toolkit is best leveraged in tandem with Salary.com’s other tools as part of a workforce planning suite, including:

    • JobArchitect™, which streamlines job description management by offering guidelines for jobs with similar duties, responsibilities, and leveling based on matching, which is critical when looking for pay disparities.
    • CompAnalyst Market Data, an HR-reported compensation database that ensures that once the content of jobs is defined, HR can understand any pay differences that might exist compared to the market.

    “Given that today is Equal Pay Day, it’s particularly meaningful to the Salary.com team to launch this expanded pay equity capability,” said David Cross, senior compensation consultant at Salary.com. “Pay equity legislation and DE&I initiatives have led employers to review their compensation practices on a recurring basis. This renewed focus is proving beneficial to both employers and employees, as paying equitably helps companies acquire and retain the best talent, build employee engagement, increase innovation, and improve business performance. By using our Pay Equity Reporting Toolkit alongside JobArchitect and CompAnalyst Survey Data, organizations have a solid foundation on which they can build a sound workforce plan and get pay right.”

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    Source: HrTech Cube

    https://hrtechcube.com/salary-com-launches-pay-equity-reporting-toolkit/

  • 12 Apr 2021 9:34 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Author: Julie Littman | Published: April 12, 2021

    Dive Brief:

    • Taco Bell has expanded benefits for general managers at company-owned restaurants, offering four weeks of accrued vacation annually, four weeks of paid time off for "baby bonding" for new parents and guardians and eight weeks of paid short-term disability following the birth of a child, according to a press release
    • The fast food chain is also hosting its fourth annual hiring parties event on April 21, with plans to hire at least 5,000 team members across nearly 2,000 locations. While open positions will vary, job roles will range from cashier to general manager. Restaurants are also hiring more "bellhops," who use tablets to service drive-thru orders.
    • The expansion of general manager benefits comes just over a year after Taco Bell tested $100,000 annual salaries for restaurant managers at company-owned locations. The company also expanded its sick leave last year at Taco Bell-owned locations, offering at least 24 hours of paid sick leave for all levels of employees.

    ​Dive Insight:

    Taco Bell aims to reach 10,000 locations globally by the end of the decade, and adding 5,000 additional employees will help it reach its goal. Last summer, the chain made a goal to hire at least 30,000 team members. This year, the company is eyeing more reopenings, remodels and new builds, according to the release. Taco Bell collaborated with Diversified Restaurant Group, for example, to open its first drive-thru Cantina in Danville, California, last month. The chain is also opening a kiosk-focused location in Manhattan this year and will roll out more Go Mobile concept stores, which it tested in 2020.  

    Retaining general managers will be critical to Taco Bell's growth. Chains, in general, were working to improve retention of these employees even before the pandemic, especially since the longer the tenure, the higher the potential sales of the location, CNBC reports. Then the coronavirus hit and shortly after the crisis began, Taco Bell provided a $1,000 one-time bonus to its restaurant general managers at its 1,200 company-owned stores and committed to paying their second quarter bonuses even if restaurant sales performance wouldn't allow them to normally qualify, Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs said during the company's Q1 2020 earnings call

    Taco Bell's hiring parties will include on-the-spot interviews that will take place in patio areas, with some candidates able to participate in drive-up interviews. All participants and interview locations will be at least six feet apart and masks are mandatory. 

    Even with all these safety measures in place, Taco Bell could struggle to meet its employment needs. Including its franchisees, the company has over 34,000 open positions listed on its website. With dining rooms reopening, chains and local restaurants are increasingly pressed to fill positions to meet growing consumer demand as they feel more comfortable returning to restaurants. Many hospitality workers who lost their jobs early in the pandemic turned toward other industries, such as construction and real estate, Reuters reports. 

    During Q1 2021, the restaurant industry added 442,000 jobs according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, with the bulk of its gains occurring in February with the addition of 286,000 jobs. However, these gains are a drop in the bucket, with employment in foodservices and drinking places short 1.7 million jobs compared to January 2020, according to the BLS data

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    Source: HR Dive

    https://www.hrdive.com/news/taco-bell-expands-pto-benefits-for-managers-eyes-filling-5k-positions/598212/

  • 25 Mar 2021 5:48 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Gov. Newsom signs off on paid COVID leave for most Californians | abc10.com

    The COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave law will include retroactive payments through January 1st.

    Author: Lena Howland (ABC10)

    Published: 7:31 PM PDT March 22, 2021

    Updated: 6:21 AM PDT March 24, 2021

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Millions of Californians are breathing a sigh of relief after Governor Newsom signed off on the supplemental paid sick leave bill last Friday. The bill is expected to impact 10.4 million workers across the state, for every company with 25 or more employees.

    It's been nearly three months since the Families First Response Act lapsed and families had no supplemental paid sick leave for coronavirus-related reasons.

    "I was seriously concerned about my well being and being able to pay for the bills coming up without pay," said a temp worker for Sacramento County, who didn't want to be identified over fear of retaliation.

    She said after she called out for a day earlier this month for medical reasons, her managers told her she needed to self-quarantine at home for 10 days because her symptoms sounded COVID-related. However, as a temp worker, she only gets three sick days, the rest would be unpaid.

    "I'm already pretty much paycheck to paycheck, like I don't have room, I'm not blessed with my financial situation, I have student loans to pay, I have apartment rent that just keeps getting higher to pay," she said.

    Now that Governor Newsom has signed off on the new supplemental paid sick leave bill, it's people like her that will likely be paid retroactively, upon request, according to employment attorney Jennifer Shaw.

    "If you gave someone time off after January 1 for a COVID reason or reason that is covered by the sick leave, at their request you have to go pay them for that time," Shaw said.

    Last year's supplemental sick leave was for employers with 500 or more employees. This one includes all companies with 25 or more employees. 

    The Center for Workers Rights says because of Prop 22, this does not include ride share drivers, it also means businesses with 25 or fewer employees won't be covered.

    "That's a large portion of California's workers and in particularly our service workers, you know small restaurants, most of those places of employment are 25 or fewer," Daniela Urban, the Executive Director for the Center for Workers Rights said.

    This bill sets aside 80 hours or two weeks of pay for anyone showing symptoms, has to self-quarantine or is diagnosed with coronavirus.

    It also sets aside time to go get your vaccine and it includes time for parents helping their kids with distance learning.

    "It's nice that the legislature recognized workers who did sacrifice those weeks of pay in order to do what's right and quarantine or take the time off after a positive diagnosis and allows them to recover the money that they lost as a result," Urban said.

    The latest federal relief bill includes tax credits for businesses that pay for COVID sick leave, so that should help businesses owner worried about the cost.

    The new law will last through the end of September.

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    Source: ABC10

    https://www.abc10.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/newsom-two-weeks-paid-covid-19-leave-californians/103-1cd39ba8-f8bc-4a57-9c28-0f5299554984

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