Hot Topics in Total Rewards

  • 19 Sep 2018 8:39 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Valerie Bolden-Barrett


    Sept. 18, 2018

    Dive Brief:

    • The majority of employees and employers in a new Willis Towers Watson (WTW) study said they were satisfied with their benefits experience. WTW measured the responses of 150 employers and about 17,200 workers, and the company found employee satisfaction with benefits rose to 95% in 2018 from 92% in 2016, while employer satisfaction with benefit offerings rose to 99% — a 22% increase from 77% in 2016.
    • A majority (78%) of workers in the study said they would likely remain with their employer because of the benefits it offers, up from 72% in 2016. A whopping 90% of employers said the move to a benefits marketplace helped simplify their benefits administration process. Most employees (97%) preferred choosing their own benefits, rather than have their employer choose for them, and 96% said they were content with the enrollment and shopping experience.
    • "Employer satisfaction is a result of reduced costs, simplified administration and the ability to provide more choice in benefit offerings, while employees like the support to make educated decisions and choose benefits tailored to their unique needs," Alan Silver, senior director of benefits delivery and administration at WTW, said in a statement emailed to HR Dive.

    Dive Insight:

    Benefits satisfaction being at 95% might be especially welcomed by employers on the eve of open enrollment. It's also a good sign given the increased importance that fringe benefits now have in workers' decisions to stay with or leave their employers in a tight labor market.

    But employers are still tasked with determining how to best deliver popular offerings. Cost is the main driver of how employers choose offerings, and few sectors of benefits are driving cost more than healthcare. That may be why employers are increasingly turning to point solutions to help employees move more efficiently through healthcare systems. Such solutions allow employers to administer even personalized benefits cost-effectively to workers, who have expressed demand for self-service accessto benefits data in previous research.

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 04 Sep 2018 7:58 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Employees in Line for Pay Raises in 2019

    Low unemployment and a tight job market should drive modest pay hikes for employees next year. As reward and retention efforts continue, top performers can also expect slightly higher discretionary bonuses. Here's some fresh insight from executive recruiter Stacy Pursell of Pursell Group.

    September 4, 2018 – U.S. employers are projecting slightly larger pay raises for employees in 2019 as the unemployment rate has fallen sharply and the job market has tightened, according to a newly released Willis Towers Watson report. The survey also found employers rewarded their top performers with the biggest raises this year and are projecting modestly larger discretionary bonuses next year in their ongoing effort to reward and retain the best performing employees.

    The “2018 General Industry Salary Budget Survey” found U.S. employers expect to give exempt, non-management employees (i.e., professional) average pay increases of 3.1 percent in 2019, compared with three percent this year. Non-exempt hourly employees can also expect larger increases next year — three percent in 2019 versus 2.9 percent this year.

    Employers are planning smaller increases for executives (3.1 percent versus 3.2 percent), while steady increases are planned for management employees (3.1 percent) and non-exempt, salaried employees (three percent). Only three percent of companies plan to freeze salaries next year. Pay raises have hovered around three percent for the past decade. The last year employers provided significantly larger increases was 2008 (3.8 percent).

    The survey also found companies continue to reward their star performers with significantly larger pay raises than average performing employees. Employees receiving the highest possible rating were granted an average increase of 4.6 percent this year, 70 percent higher than the 2.7 percent increase granted to those receiving an average rating.

    Pressure to Boost Salaries

    “After a decade of consistently flat pay raises, we are witnessing a slight uptick as companies are feeling pressure to boost salaries, given the low unemployment rate and the best job market in many years,” said Sandra McLellan, North America rewards business leader at Willis Towers Watson. “While companies have been able to hold the line on raises, the tides are changing.”

    “Many companies are establishing slightly larger salary budgets while at the same time focusing on variable pay such as annual incentives and discretionary bonuses to recognize and reward their best performers,” she said.

    Indeed, the survey found companies are projecting that discretionary bonuses — generally paid for special projects or one-time achievements — will average 5.9 percent of salary for exempt employees, slightly larger than companies budgeted for this year. Slightly larger discretionary bonuses are planned for managers and salaried, non-exempt employees. Annual performance bonuses, which are generally tied to company and employee performance goals, are projected to hold steady or decline slightly in 2019 for most employee groups, the report said.

    “A growing number of companies are coming to grips with the fact that employees are more willing to change companies to advance their careers and to talk openly about their pay,” said Ms. McLellan. “As a result, organizations are facing increased pressure entering next year to devise a focused strategy and plan on how to allocate their precious compensation dollars or risk losing some of their best talent.”

    The Willis Towers Watson Data Services General Industry Salary Budget Survey was conducted between April and July, and includes responses from 814 companies representing a cross section of industries. The survey report provides data on actual salary budget increase percentages for the past and current years, along with projected increases for next year.

    Similar Findings

    Wages for U.S. workers grew three percent over the last year, increasing the average wage level by 80 cents to $27.46 an hour, according to the latest ADP “Workforce Vitality Report.” The report tracks the same set of workers over time, which provides a more insightful picture of wage growth than overall wage growth.

    “We’re seeing interesting shifts in labor-market dynamics this quarter,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Employment growth for new entrants has dipped to -0.1 percent, while it has increased by 4.5 percent for those who are 55 and older.”

    “In addition, job switchers who are 55 and older are seeing wage growth of 6.3 percent which is 1.5 percent higher than the prime workforce group who are 35-54,” Dr. Yildirmaz said. “This shift suggests employers are searching far and wide for skilled talent and workers who were once sitting on the sidelines have begun to return to the labor market in response.”

    Veteran Recruiter Weighs In

    “The focus for employers in this market is definitely on hiring the best candidates and retaining their best employees,” said Stacy Pursell, CEO of the Pursell Group. “Talent is at a premium right now. Because of that, employers have no choice but to spend more money recruiting top talent in the marketplace and also compensating the star employees they already have. If they don’t do the latter, then there is a very real risk that competing organizations will attempt to hire their best employees away.”

    Related: Increasing Demand for Talent Spurs Steady Wage Growth

    Professionals are more willing to change positions and change employers, especially under current market conditions, Ms. Purcell said. “One reason for this is the arrival of the Millennial generation in the workforce during the past decade,” she said. “Millennials by their very nature crave challenges, and they’re more willing to seek them out. Another reason is the scarcity of talent in the marketplace, which has created more and better opportunities for those professionals who are willing to explore them.”

    CEO Wage Growth

    According to a recent report by Korn Ferry, CEOs at the largest companies in the U.S. last year received the highest compensation increases since the recession. “Even with the anticipation of the CEO pay ratio disclosure mandate, so far we haven’t seen it dampen organizations’ willingness to pay for performance, including strong shareholder value and net income increases,” said the search firm’s 11th annual “CEO Compensation Study.”

    The study, which examined pay for CEOs at the nation’s 300 largest public companies, included those that filed proxy statements between May 1, 2017 and April 30 of this year. Median revenues for the 300 businesses were $18.7 billion.

    Median total direct compensation (TDC) for CEOs increased 8.7 percent to $13.4 million, said Korn Ferry. That is twice as much as last year’s 4.2 percent increase in TDC and the highest percentage increase since 2010, the first year of recovery from the Great Recession. While year-over-year base salaries remained relatively flat, with a 1.5 percent increase to a median of $1.3 million, a large percentage of the TDC increase came from performance-based compensation growth, said the study. Annual bonuses were up 4.1 percent. And LTIs (long-term incentive value) were up 7.4 percent.

    “In years past, we’ve seen LTI increases but not bonus increases,” said Donald Lowman, Korn Ferry executive pay and governance practice leader for North America. “However, this year we are seeing increases in both areas. Even with the anticipation of the CEO pay ratio disclosure mandate, so far we haven’t seen it dampen organizations’ willingness to pay for performance, including strong shareholder value and net income increases.”

    Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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    Source: Hunt Scanlon Media

  • 30 Aug 2018 5:39 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Dive Brief:

    • For the first time since 2008, the number of private-sector employers across all sizes that offer health benefits has gone up, according to a new report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The report said that the increase may be credited to "a strengthening economy, lower unemployment rates, and/or relatively low premium increases."
    • The report showed that the percentage of large employers offering health plans increased from 92.5% to 96.3% between 2014 and 2016, and the percentage of small employers, those with fewer than 10 employees, rose from 21.7% to 23.5% between 2016 and 2017. 
    • EBRI said that while the rate at which businesses offered health plans trended down until 2017, more workers have been becoming eligible for health coverage since 2015. As the amount of workers eligible for health coverage in 2017 (76.8%) heavily outweighed the percentage of employers offering coverage, it is reasonable to conclude that workers have been moving to jobs offering health coverage, the report said. 

    Dive Insight:

    A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released in March showed that employer-sponsored health benefits were available to 69% of private-sector employees, and that 89% of state and local government workers have access to health coverage. The percentage of employees eligible for health coverage is the largest for the first time in six years, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. The exact number of employers offering health plans and that of workers who are eligible for coverage might differ from source to source, but a majority of employers offering health coverage is still, as the EBRI stated, good news for workers overall.

    As more employers offer health plans, they will naturally continue to look for ways to control healthcare costs. Some large corporations, like Intel, Cisco Systems, Walmart and Boeing, are taking a bold step by bypassing insurance companies and negotiating prices directly with healthcare providers. Other cost-cutting strategies include offering second-opinion services, focusing on healthcare outcomes and preventive care and finding ways to change the payment and delivery of healthcare services through performance networks​, accountable care organizations (ACOs) and centers of excellence. Generally, employers are getting more directly involved in healthcare management, especially as healthcare benefits remain a key talent attractor. 

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 16 Aug 2018 3:06 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Image result for Tight Labor Market Doesn't Move Wage Needle

    Even with low unemployment and this year's tax windfall, employers are planning essentially flat salary increases for 2019, studies show.

    David McCann

    August 16, 2018 | | US

    The labor market is tight. U.S. companies are challenged more than ever to find, win, and retain talent. At the same time, a majority of U.S. companies have extra cash on hand, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

    Despite all that, companies generally are planning to boost their compensation budgets by only the tiniest of increments in 2019, according to two new reports from major human capital advisory firms.

    Mercer reported that the average budget for merit salary increases for non-union employees, which has grown at a flat 2.8% each year from 2015 through 2018, will tick up to just 2.9% for next year. The data was derived from a survey of 1,526 organizations.

    A similar trend line was documented by Willis Towers Watson, based on a survey of 814 companies. The firm’s numbers show that exempt, non-management (i.e., professional) employees will receive an average pay hike of 3.1% in 2019, compared with 3.0% this year.

    Non-exempt, hourly employees will see pay growth of 3.0%, versus 2.9% in 2018, according to Willis Towers Watson. Raises for management employees and non-exempt salaried employees will stay flat with last year’s 3.1% and 3.0%, respectively. Executives actually will see the rate of increase in their salaries fall, from 3.2% this year to 3.1% in 2019.

    As is usually the case with data, these statistics can be viewed in multiple lights.

    “After a decade of consistently flat pay raises, we are witnessing a slight uptick as companies are feeling pressure to boost salaries, given the low unemployment rate and the best job market in many years,” said Sandra McLellan, North America rewards business leader at Willis Towers Watson. “A growing number of companies are coming to grips with the fact that employees are more willing to change companies to advance their careers.”

    She continued, “While companies have been able to hold the line on raises, the tides are changing. Many companies are establishing slightly larger salary budgets while at the same time focusing on variable pay, such as annual incentives and discretionary bonuses, to recognize and reward their best performers.”

    Mercer, by contrast, criticized companies for their tepid pay hikes.

    “This should be a ‘golden age’ for American workers” because of low unemployment and the concomitant war for talent, according to a blog post by Lauren Mason, principal, workforce rewards, and Mary Ann Sardone, partner and North America workforce rewards practice leader.

    “Talent is critical to business transformation, and how you reward your talent will impact your ability to retain and build the workforce you need to deliver on future business objectives,” they wrote.

    However, they added, “current compensation systems are suffering from 10 years of minimal salary increase budgets that are generally being spread through organizations like peanut butter.”

    Employees understood the tight budgets in a weak economy, but the economy has improved, Mason and Sardone noted. The proportion of employees who consider their pay to be “fair” has declined to 52% from 57% over the last five years, and those who perceive their pay is aligned with their performance have dropped to 47% from 55%, according to Mercer analyses.

    Nonetheless, U.S. salary increase budgets likely will remain relatively flat through 2021, based on current economic projections and 20 years of historical data, according to Mercer.

    Many factors are contributing to the flat trend, the bloggers wrote, but three stand out:

    Cost containment: As companies have placed more focus on maximizing shareholder value, they’ve focused on reducing costs.

    Economic uncertainty: Due to the current political climate, CFOs and other financial leaders continue to be conservative and hold onto cash reserves. Salary increases are not easily reversible, so there’s hesitation to pull the trigger on longer-term fixed costs.

    Globalization of labor forces: Wage stagnation is not just a U.S. issue, but a global one. Employers are increasingly able to tap into a global pipeline for talent, which drives wages toward a global equilibrium over time.

    A mere 4% of Mercer survey respondents said they will be directing savings generated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into their salary increase budgets. Two-thirds (68%) said they won’t be using tax-windfall dollars for that, while 28% said they’re not anticipating any tax savings as a result of tax reform.

    Meanwhile, the discretionary bonuses that McLellan of Willis Towers Watson referred to are generally paid for special projects or one-time achievements, she said.

    Those will average 5.9% of salary for exempt employees in 2019, up slightly from this year, according to the firm’s survey.

    At the same time, annual performance bonuses, which are generally tied to company or employee performance goals, are projected to hold steady or decline slightly in 2019 for most employee groups, Willis Towers Watson said.

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  • 31 Jul 2018 3:58 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    A worker spot welds a metal door during production at the Metal Manufacturing Co. facility in Sacramento, California.

    Jeff Cox@JeffCoxCNBCcom

    Published July 31, 2018
    • The employment cost index rose 2.8 percent for the second quarter, the biggest increase since the third quarter of 2008.
    • Wage growth has been the missing component of the economic recovery, though the ECI has been steadily rising over the past year and a half.
    • The Federal Reserve meets this week and is unlikely to increase interest rates, though the rise in compensation will factor into discussions.

    Compensation for workers rose to a nearly 10-year high in the second quarter as inflation pressures continued to percolate in the U.S. economy.

    The employment cost index increased 0.6 percent for civilian workers in the three-month period ending in June, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics release Tuesday. That brought the 12-month rate up to 2.8 percent, the highest level since 2.9 percent in the third quarter of 2008, amid the financial crisis and the Great Recession.

    Significant wage gains have been a missing part of the economic recovery, with average hourly earnings increases barely keeping pace with inflation.

    However, the ECI has been on a steady rise over the past year and a half. The index had struggled to stay above 2 percent for most of the period following the recession as the Federal Reserve kept interest rates low and inflation stayed well below historical norms. However, the index has been climbing steadily from the 2.2 percent level just prior to President Donald Trump taking office.

    "With the labor market tightening, stronger wage pressures should continue to feed through into higher inflation over the rest of this year," Andrew Hunter, U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

    The index draws from a sample of 27,200 observations of some 6,600 private businesses as well as 8,000 observations from 1,400 government offices.

    Wages and salaries rose 0.5 percent for the quarter and 2.8 percent for the 12-month period, while benefits costs increased 0.9 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

    Private industry compensation was up 2.9 percent, a substantial rise from the 2.4 percent recorded as of June 2017. Government compensation increased 2.3 percent for the period, which actually was a pullback from the 2.6 percent gain recorded in June 2017.

    Industry-wise, sales and related jobs recorded a 3.5 percent gain while transportation and material moving rose 3.4 percent. Hospital work showed the smallest gain at 2.2 percent.

    The release comes ahead of Friday's closely watched nonfarm payrolls report. Economists expect a gain of about 190,000 and a 2.7 percent increase in average hourly earnings. It also follows last Friday's robust GDP release, which showed the economy grew 4.1 percent in the second quarter.

    Also this week, the Federal Reserve meets to discuss monetary policy. The central bank's Federal Open Market Committee is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate target at between 1.75 percent and 2 percent, and wait until September for the next increase. However, committee members are believed to watch the employment cost index closely.

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    Source: CNBC

  • 24 Jul 2018 5:32 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Valerie Bolden-Barrett


    July 24, 2018

    Dive Brief:

    • The number of patients filing million-dollar medical claims rose 87% from 2014 to 2017, Sun Life Financial's 2018 High-Cost Claims Report found. Cancer treatments remain the costliest of healthcare services; high-cost medical conditions added up to $6.9 billion in paid charges from 2014 to 2017 during the four-year period.
    • According to Sun Life Financials, re-imbursements to self-insured employers totaled $798.7 million from 2014 to 2017. Of charges over $1 million, most ranged from $1 million to $1.5 million, with a total of more than $935 million in paid charges. Dan Fishbein, M.D., president of Sun Life Financial U.S., said that new life-saving treatments are fueling the growth in million-dollar claims.  
    • The report also found that rare medical conditions, including hereditary conditions like angioedema and hemophilia, had the highest costs. Patients with claims higher than $1 million made up 2% of stop-loss claims from 2014 to 2017; and four of the five most expensive injectable medications, used to treat cancer-related conditions, accounted for about $45 million. 

    Dive Insight:

    Drug costs account for much of the rise in medical expenses; prescription drug plans can make up from 18% to 25% of total healthcare costs, according to a PwC report. And for specialty drugs, the percentage can rise as much as 30%. Employers can reap some of the savings through rebates and discounts from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Savings, however, are mostly on brand-name drugs, rather than less costly generic drugs. 

    Some proposals for saving on drug and medical costs include: conducting clinical reviews of drug formularies; eliminating unnecessary or low-value medical procedures; and offering account-based health plans (ABHPs) with health savings accounts (HSAs), strategies attributed to "high-performing" organizations, according to a Willis Towers Watson study released in March.

    The industry has seen a number of big moves, company-wise, in the pharmaceutical space in recent months, including CVS's deal to buy Aetna — a move that experts say could force employers to rethink common assumptions about how they purchase prescription drug benefits. Amazon, also, recently made headlines for its purchase of PillPack, an online pharmacy offering home delivery.

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 17 Jul 2018 9:54 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)



    Valerie Bolden-Barrett


    July 17, 2018

    Dive Brief:

    • The average worker can't let six minutes go by without checking incoming email or text messages, according to a new study by RescueTime, a time management app. Based on responses from 50,000 knowledge workers, RescueTime said that 40% of employees never get 30 minutes of uninterrupted work time, and that 17% can't even get 15 minutes of focused time without digital distractions. 
    • In other key findings, 35.5% of employees in organizations with on-demand cultures check their email or instant messages at least every three minutes. Slack users switch between communication platforms to check messages every five minutes on average, compared with non-Slack users, who check messages every eight minutes.
    • Citing results from a Microsoft and University of Illinois studyRescueTime said that multi-tasking prevents employees from reaching their highest performance, and that it takes nine minutes to return to a task after an interruption.

    Dive Insight:

    RescueTime points out that employees must be conscious of how they use digital communication; it's important to ensure that the technology doesn't create more problems than it solves. Email and instant messaging have, in some workplaces, replaced telephone calls as office interruptions. And while instant messaging platforms aim to improve productivity by cutting time waiting on emails, apps designed to ease workflow and boost productivity often lead to communication overload for employees, a RingCentral, Inc. report found. Employees use an average of four apps for texts​, phone calls, web meetings, team messaging and video conferencing.

    The workplace is already a distracting environment without digital interruptions. A Udemy report found that most workers (69%) said they're distracted at work by chatty coworkers, office noise, overwhelming workplace changes and social media. But 66% won't ask for help, such as time management training to help them stay focused and more productive. 

    Employers might need to treat digital interruptions as time management problems, which entails helping workers learn how to control all the digital demands on their time by setting priorities. Managers can offer workers guidance on how often to check messages, which incoming messages require an immediate response and which are a low priority.

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 17 Jul 2018 9:51 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Lisa Burden


    July 17, 2018

    Dive Brief:

    • Lubbock County Hospital District, doing business as University Medical Center, has paid $119,175 in back wages to 197 emergency room workers to settle wage and hour claims stemming from automatically deducted lunch breaks, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
    • Investigators from DOL's Wage and Hour Division found that the hospital, based in Lubbock, Texas, automatically deducted 30 minutes for lunch from the emergency room staff's timesheets — regardless of whether they took a lunch break. This created a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime violation in instances where the employees worked through their lunch break, DOL said.
    • The agency said the medical center also violated the FLSA's recordkeeping requirements by failing to accurately track break time.

    Dive Insight:

    The FLSA doesn't explicitly prohibit automatic deductions, but they can be risky, experts say. The law requires that employees be paid for all hours worked, and that employers maintain accurate records about those hours.

    Employers that use exceptions timekeeping should ensure that managers and employees are properly trained on the employer's requirements. For example, they must sign off on time records, according to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations and should be encouraged to report any deviations.

    During the previous administration, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a guidance that employers need only record employees' total hours worked — not their exact start and stop times. Experts, however, cautioned against this practice, warning employers that it might not meet the agency's "complete and accurate" standard.

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 11 Jul 2018 10:04 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Newborn Baby with Parents

    More employers are offering additional paid time off to moms and dads of all kinds.

    By Barbara Frankel and Audrey Goodson Kingo 

    Updated: June 29, 2018

    Proponents of paid leave, take heart: While we may not have a federal policy in place yet in the U.S., more and more private companies are picking up the slack and offering paid maternity leave to their employees.

    In fact, more than one in three U.S. employers offers paid maternity leave beyond the amount required by law, up from one in six in 2011, according to new data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Bloomberg reports. And all 20 of the biggest companies in the U.S. offer at least some paid maternity leave.

    It's not just that more companies are offering the benefit for the first time—many are also expanding the plans they already had in place, sweetening the pot so their star employees don't quit.

    Since late 2017, an increasing number of private employers have expanded their paid maternity leave and paternity leave offerings, some doing so dramatically.

    Why? It makes business sense in a war for talent. According to SHRM, more than 700 of the 1,012 organizations surveyed said that increased benefit offerings in the last year were meant specifically to retain talent. And thus far, the federal government and all but six states aren’t providing new parents with the paid time off they need.

    The United States remains one of only four countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, although there currently are discussions before Congress on this. On January 1, New York joined three other states—CaliforniaNew Jersey and Rhode Island—in offering some form of paid family leave to most workers in the state and all kinds of new parents, from birth mothers to dads to families welcoming children through adoption, fostering and surrogacy. Since employees get paid through disability insurance, their checks come directly from the state, not from their employers. A few others, including Delaware and Indiana, have recently started offering paid parental leave to state employees only, but this doesn't apply to private-sector workers there.

    Another potential motivator for the increase in private companies offering paid parental leave: new corporate tax breaks. Businesses that offer at least two weeks of paid leave at a minimum of 50% salary to employees earning less than $72,000 can start receiving credits under President Trump’s newly signed plan. That’s on top of an across-the-board corporate tax cut, from 35 percent to 21 percent. Employees seeking leave might become the benefactors of those earnings and savings.

    Here’s an up-to-date list of which employers have stepped up their leave game in recent months:

    • Effective November 1, 2017, Cisco’s parental leave policy is gender-neutral and pays new parents for 13 weeks off, a big rise from the former four weeks just for new mothers. The change also includes unlimited PTO for appointments.

    • In September, DocuSign expanded paid parental leave to six months, effective February 1, 2018. The benefit is available to primary caregivers, whether through birth, surrogacy or adoption.

    • EcoLab announced an additional six weeks of 100 percent paid parental leave for all U.S. primary caregivers, effective January 1. The leave can be taken within the child’s first year of birth or adoption. Birth mom employees there will now have 12 paid weeks of leave.

    • IBM’s new policy, announced in October 2017, increases paid maternity leave to new birth mothers employed at the tech giant from a maximum of 14 weeks to 20 weeks. Fathers, partners and adoptive parents, meanwhile, receive 12 paid weeks off—double the previous benefit of six. Parents have up to a year to take the leave, with extra flexibility for scheduling the additional time off for employees whose children were born months ago. At the time of the announcement, Barbara Brickmeier, VP of Benefits, said, “It’s important for IBM to reinvent family-friendly programs to address the needs of today’s parents. It’s among the many reasons IBM attracts and retains top talent. We’ve been at this a very long time—we just made Working Mother magazine’s Best Companies list for the 32nd consecutive year—and we will continue to adapt programs for employees that are in step with the way families and work evolve.”

    • Investment bank Legg Mason in December said it will provide all U.S. employees 12 weeks’ pay for new parents, whether or not the person has a stay-at-home partner. The policy applies to birth and adoptive parents.

    • Lowe's announced on February 1 that it will offer 10 weeks' paid maternity leave and two weeks' paid parental leave, plus an adoption assistance benefit of up to $5,000. Previously, Lowe's offered no paid leave for new parents.

    • Lyft also recently changed its policy on parental leave to offer 18 weeks paid leave for full-time employees, regardless of gender. The policy also expands caregiver support leave from two weeks to 12 weeks. Previously, Lyft offered three months' paid leave to primary caregivers and four to six weeks' paid leave to secondary caregivers.

    • In November, Morgan Stanley announced it would allow primary caregivers to break the 16 weeks of paid parental leave into two-week sections after the first eight weeks. The company said it is offering paid leave of up to four weeks for non-primary caregivers after birth, adoption or foster placement. Previously, they had offered just one week to those parents.

    • In January 2018, New Seasons Market, a large chain of grocery stores on the West Coast, became one of the first in its industry in the U.S. to provide paid parental leave. They now offer four weeks of paid leave regardless of gender for birth, adoption, guardianship or foster placement of a child.

    • OpenTable increased parental leave from four to 10 weeks for employees in states that did not provide Paid Family Leave.

    • As of January 1, OppenheimerFunds has 16 weeks of paid leave for birth parents, up from 13 weeks, and eight weeks of paid leave for non-birth parents, up from five.

    • Rio Tinto, an international mining company, in September 2017 announced a new global minimum policy of 18 weeks’ paid parental leave at full pay for primary caregivers, regardless of gender, following the birth or adoption of a child. Secondary caregivers receive one week pay. Their U.S. employees were able to start taking advantage of this in October 2017.

    • In late January, Starbucks announced that effective October 1, the company will give six weeks' 100 percent paid leave for hourly workers (full- and part-time), regardless of gender. Previously, Starbucks offered 67 percent pay for birth mothers and adoptive parents but no paid leave for fathers. Salaried birth mothers receive 18 weeks' paid leave at 100 percent and salaried non-birth parents receive 12 weeks at full pay.

    • Effective January 1, TIAA changed their parental-leave policy to be gender-neutral. All full- and part-time employees now have access to 16 weeks of fully paid leave to be with their child after birth, adoption or after a child is placed with them for foster care. Before 2018, TIAA birth moms received 12 weeks of paid leave, while dads and adoptive parents received four weeks of paid leave.

    • Walmart announced in January that it will offer full-time U.S. employees 10 weeks’ paid maternity leave and six weeks’ paid parental leave. Previously, Wal-Mart gave salaried birth-mom employees six weeks’ partially paid leave while non-birthing employees got nothing.

    • Whirlpool announced that effective January 1, four weeks’ paid leave at 100 percent were added for new mothers, for a total of 12 weeks. New fathers now get four weeks at 100 percent pay, as do domestic partners and adoptive parents.

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    Source: Working Mother

  • 03 Jul 2018 10:19 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Valerie Bolden-Barrett


    July 2, 2018

    Dive Brief:

    • Independence Day in the U.S. falls on a Wednesday this year, but that's not stopping workers from extending their July 4 celebrations by a day or two, an Office Pulse survey found. Half of the employees polled plan to take vacation time around July 4, causing concerns: about one in five managers queried by Office Pulse report feeling overwhelmed by the high volume of vacation requests.
    • Citing June 2018 statistics from AAA, Office Pulse said 46.9 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles away from home this Fourth of July, the highest number since AAA began tracking 18 years ago. Only 14% of professionals in the Office Pulse survey said they "resent their employer for their treatment of vacation time."
    • Other results in the Office Pulse survey showed that 19% of respondents who plan to return to work on Thursday say they'll be "extra tired" or "hungover," including 30% of millennial respondents and 10% of boomer respondents.

    Dive Insight:

    Major holidays are popular vacation times that can leave managers scrambling to find enough employees to cover work schedules. Encouraging workers to submit their vacation requests early using a first-come, first-served system for granting time off allows managers to plan work-schedule coverage ahead of time. Employees won't always be pleased with their vacation options, but having a fair system for granting requests is best practice.

    Holidays also create moments for employees to de-stress; one or two weeks off can even boost employee engagement, according to a new O.C. Tanner study. That said, many employees struggle to find time to take that time off; a Project: Time Off study shows that while employees are taking more vacations now than previously, many still leave unused days on the table. A recent CareerBuilder study shows that 61% of workers are burned out on their jobs, yet 33% don't take enough time off to decompress. Even among those in the CareerBuilder study who do take enough time off, one in three stay wired to the office while they're out.

    Many employees who don't take enough vacation time, or hardly any at all, say their organizational culture makes them feel guilty about taking time off from work. But the adverse impact of stress on people's health, productivity and healthcare costs should compel employers to encourage workers to take their vacations. The top five stress symptoms, according to CareerBuiler, are constant fatigue, sleeplessness, aches and pains, high anxiety, and weight gain, conditions that raise healthcare costs and drain productivity.

    Then there's the issue of actually getting away from the office — even when you're away from it. Employers can discourage workers from staying connected to the office while vacationing. They also can forbid workers from carrying over unused vacation from one year to the next.

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    Source: HR Dive

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