Hot Topics in Total Rewards

  • 26 Sep 2018 8:56 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    AUTHOR

    Valerie Bolden-Barrett

    PUBLISHED

    Sept. 26, 2018

    Dive Brief:

    • Most companies will enter open enrollment this fall, and more than three quarters of the 1,000 employees interviewed in a new UnitedHealthcare survey said they're ready for it. According to the 2018 UnitedHealthcare Consumer Sentiment Survey, 82% of full-time workers said they're prepared for the annual benefits shopping season. Only 69% of millennials said they felt prepared.
    • Technology has allowed employees to prepare themselves for open enrollment, the study found. More respondents than ever, 36%, said they had compared healthcare plans by doing research on the internet or on mobile apps. More than half of millennials used these tech tools to shop benefits in the past year. The majority of all comparison shoppers (84%) said the online shopping process was "very helpful" or "somewhat helpful."
    • Eighty percent of respondents cited ancillary benefits, such as dental and vision, as "important." In time spent researching health benefits, the survey found that 42% spent less than one hour, 29% spent from one to three hours and 20% spent more than three hours. More than 65% of insured respondents said they researched health plan networks to see whether their preferred providers are in the plans they want.

    Dive Insight:

    Employers may want to note how this survey highlights technology's positive effect on respondents' ability to shop and wisely choose health benefits. Technology has revolutionized access to healthcare and workers are taking advantage of it. A Paychex study released in June found that 73% of full-time employees want and expect to have 24/7 access to their benefits. The study also found that just more than half of employers can accommodate that desire. Employers who are able to replace or upgrade outmoded systems may want to do so to keep up with employees' expectations, bolster retention and engagement, and compete in the struggle for talent in a tight labor market.

    With open enrollment about to begin, and HR trying to get workers signed up with their benefit selections by the deadline, employers need to know how well employees understand their choices. Many employees don't understand their benefits as well as think. In fact, only 10% of employers in a recent HSA Bank white paper said they believe their workers understand their often-complicated health plans. HR can address the problem during open enrollment and throughout the year by communicating about benefits, updates and new offerings in clear detail, using various personalized methods, including tech platforms, in-person meetings and videoconferencing, to deliver the information to workers.

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    Source: HR Dive

    https://www.hrdive.com/news/77-of-workers-say-theyre-prepared-for-open-enrollment/533145/
  • 26 Sep 2018 8:54 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    AUTHOR

    Valerie Bolden-Barrett

    PUBLISHED

    Sept. 26, 2018

    Dive Brief:

    • Emotional stability and autonomy may be predictors of whether an employee can thrive in remote-work situations, according to Baylor University researchers. In two studies involving more than 400 adult workers, a research team measured each worker's autonomy (level of independence), strain (defined as fatigue, dissatisfaction and disengagement) and emotional stability. The team concluded that employers should consider workers' well-being in providing remote opportunities.
    • Published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychologyresearchers found: 1) autonomy is necessary to protect remote employees' well-being and help them avoid strain; 2) employees who said they have lots of autonomy and were emotionally stable seemed to thrive the best in remote-work situations; and 3) those who reported having a high level of autonomy, but lower levels of emotional stability, seemed to be more prone to strain.
    • Sara Perry, lead author of the study and assistant professor of management at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, said employees with less emotional stability might not want or need autonomy, which could be why they don't handle remote work as well as others. Perry recommended that employers provide these workers with more support and resources in the event that they need to work remotely.

    Dive Insight:

    Studies on the popularity of remote-work options among workers have been somewhat conflicting. According to one 2017 survey, 74% of employees said they would leave their current jobs for others offering remote-work opportunities, while a 2018 Randstad survey showed 62% of the workers preferred to work in-office. But industry trends point to workers wanting more flexibility, and that includes remote-work options. The challenge for employers is deciding how to best support those who decide to take advantage of remote work.

    Due to the nature of remote work, employers may miss signs of strain or even burnout among remote workers, who sometimes put in longer hours than when they worked onsite, struggle with trying to keep personal and work-related duties separate, or feel isolated from co-workers. Gregory BesnerCultureIQ's founder and CEO, previously told HR Dive that employers can help remote workers, including "road warriors" (those who frequently travel), by training managers to look for possible signs of depression​ or burnout, assigning them mentors to whom they can communicate frequently, and engaging them in as many onsite activities as possible.

    As demand for flexibility grows, flexible work schedules could become the default for many positions. HR may want to consider drafting flexible, transparent policies that specify which positions are eligible for such arrangements and which tools remote workers need to be successful.

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    Source: HR Dive

    https://www.hrdive.com/news/how-employees-handle-stress-may-determine-how-theyll-handle-remote-work/533129/
  • 19 Sep 2018 8:39 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    AUTHOR

    Valerie Bolden-Barrett

    PUBLISHED

    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

    https://www.hrdive.com/news/most-workers-are-satisfied-with-their-benefits-but-want-choice/532432/

  • 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 

    https://huntscanlon.com/employees-in-line-for-pay-raises-in-2019/

  • 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

    https://www.hrdive.com/news/employers-now-more-likely-to-offer-health-plans-to-compete-after-years-of-s/530846/

  • 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 | CFO.com | 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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    Source: CFO.com 

    http://ww2.cfo.com/compensation/2018/08/tight-labor-market-doesnt-move-wage-needle/?utm_campaign=CFODailyAlert&utm_nooverride=1&utm_source=CFO-email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=CFODailyAlert_Thursday_2018-8-16&utm_term=compensation

  • 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

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/31/worker-pay-rate-hits-highest-level-since-2008.html

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


    AUTHOR

    Valerie Bolden-Barrett

    PUBLISHED

    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

    https://www.hrdive.com/news/million-dollar-medical-claims-went-up-87-in-last-three-years/528344/

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

     

    AUTHOR

    Valerie Bolden-Barrett

    PUBLISHED

    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

    https://www.hrdive.com/news/employees-say-they-cant-get-30-minutes-of-uninterrupted-work-time/527815/

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


    AUTHOR

    Lisa Burden

    PUBLISHED

    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

    https://www.hrdive.com/news/auto-deducted-lunch-breaks-land-employer-in-hot-water/527690/

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