Hot Topics in Total Rewards

  • 14 Aug 2019 4:40 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Image result for 2,600 Chipotle employees getting big bonus

    By Rachel Tesler

    Published August 13, 2019 | Retail | FOXBusiness

    Chipotle Mexican Grill announced Tuesday that over 2,600 employees from its 135 restaurants qualified to earn up to an extra week of pay through a new crew bonus program.

    All hourly restaurant employees who have been employed for the full quarter are eligible for the bonus, as long as the teams meet sales and cashflow requirements for the period. Chipotle calculates the bonus as an individual's average weekly pay per quarter, and employees can earn up to an extra month’s pay each year.

    The company also offers employees annual crew bonuses based on tenure and a minimum year of service. Chipotle crew members enjoy a number of benefits, including free English as a second language and GED classes for themselves and family members, 100 percent tuition reimbursement up to $5,250 per year, and standard medical benefits – and of course, free food.

    Chipotle spokesperson Erin Wolford told Fox Business, the company pays a national average of $12 an hour and likes to promote from within. According to Wolford, Chipotle employees received over $10 million in tuition assistance in 2018 alone.

    Please wait

    In a press release, the company said the full benefits and perks offered over the past year have contributed to lower turnover rates at the manager and crew level. It anticipates this change will increase the quality of the restaurant for customers, which was just named America’s favorite Mexican brand in a Market Force study.

    Ticker Security Last Change %Chg
    CMG CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL INC. 796.57 -20.39 -2.50%

    "We are strategically investing in our people by giving all employees the opportunity to earn a performance bonus and it's paying off," said Marissa Andrada, chief people officer of Chipotle. "It's exciting to see how many locations qualified and the high level of engagement from our restaurant teams."


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    Source: FOX News Network

    https://www.foxbusiness.com/retail/chipotle-employees-crew-bonus


  • 14 Aug 2019 8:03 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-employers-shifting-toward-variable-compensation-and-customized-benefits-to-hold-annual-salary-increases-below-3-percent-300893905.html

    U.S. Employers Shifting Toward Variable Compensation and Customized Benefits to Hold Annual Salary Increases Below 3 Percent

    Gallagher's 2019/2020 Salary Planning Survey Reveals Organizations Are Using Spot Bonuses, Performance-Based Compensation and Incentive Programs to Limit Structural Salary Increases, With Many Citing Higher Health Insurance Costs as a Primary Factor

    NEWS PROVIDED BY

    Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. 

    Aug 06, 2019, 09:00 ET

    ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., Aug. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- While economists and policymakers often argue that sustained low unemployment incentivizes employers to raise salaries, many organizations are experimenting with new ways to prevent base salary costs from rising by more than 3 percent annually according to Gallagher's 2019/2020 Salary Planning Survey Report. Employers of all sizes and across all industries are using variable compensation models and customized benefit options to attract and retain workers for whom the highest possible pay may not necessarily be the top factor in deciding where to work.

    The 2019/2020 Salary Planning Survey Report found nearly four out of 10 (39 percent) organizations now use variable pay for at least one employee group. While the tight labor market is directly responsible for the rise in employee referral, hiring and retention bonuses, 20 percent of employers reported using lump sum awards for at least one employee group. And approximately one-third (32-35 percent) rely on variable pay for executive and manager-level employees, while nearly a quarter (22-25 percent) of employers also offer variable pay to lower-level employees, including those already qualifying for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The portion of compensation subject to performance rises from 5 percent for low-level workers to 25 percent for executives.

    Additionally, more than one out of four (26 percent) employers indicated higher healthcare costs were a primary factor for keeping salary increases in check. This aligns with Gallagher's 2019 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey, where nearly half (47 percent) of employers noted that controlling employee benefit costs was a top human resource priority. That said, employers that implement healthcare cost-sharing tactics, such as increasing employee premium contributions, must be conscious of the fact that employees and their families — just like their employers — suffer the financial pressure of higher healthcare expenses. As a result, lower salary increases coupled with higher healthcare expenses can have a negative impact on employee retention.

    "Through our in-depth analysis of the data, as well as countless conversations with employers, decision makers appear reluctant to raise salaries across the board because this significantly increases operating costs both in the near and long-term," said William F. Ziebell, CEO of Gallagher Employee Benefits Consulting and Brokerage. "It's important to understand that pay increases are not the only solution for attracting and retaining employees – particularly Millennials. By leveraging tailor-made benefits and compensation strategies, organizations can create a deeper connection with their workforce and, at the same time, keep expenses in check. A few examples include flex-time or remote-working options, as well as health and wellness programs."

    ABOUT THE 2019/2020 SALARY PLANNING SURVEY REPORT 
    The 2019/2020 Salary Planning Survey Report from Gallagher helps employers make fully informed decisions about compensation and benefit plans and programs that attract and retain top talent without breaking the bank. During April and May 2019, the survey captured data from company leaders, human-resource and financial practitioners representing 943 organizations, with 53 percent of respondents working for for-profit organizations and 47 percent for non-profits. View the report here: ajg.com/US-SPS-2019

    ABOUT GALLAGHER
    Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE: AJG), a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm, is headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. The company has operations in 35 countries and offers client service capabilities in more than 150 countries around the world through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.

    Contact:          
    Mary Schwartz, Gallagher
    847.378.5893
    mary_schwartz@ajg.com

    SOURCE Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-employers-shifting-toward-variable-compensation-and-customized-benefits-to-hold-annual-salary-increases-below-3-percent-300893905.html

  • 14 Aug 2019 7:54 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    BY MARIANNE WILSON

    August 8, 2019

    Nordstrom has achieved 100% pay equity.

    The department store retailer announced it has achieved 100% pay equity for employees of all genders and races,  providing equal pay for comparable work. Nordstrom said it evaluated pay equity by analyzing base pay to assess whether employees with similar roles, experience and performance earn equal pay for comparable work.

    “At Nordstrom, we are constantly working to create an environment where employees can build long-term and rewarding careers,” said Christine Deputy, chief human resources officer at Nordstrom. “As a part of this, we believe in paying employees fairly for the work they do, and we are committed to delivering on equal pay for comparable work.”

    Nordstrom is also committed to pay parity, which it described as a way to measure and report on gender representation at all levels of the company.

    “We’re at nearly 100% pay parity for men and women, which reflects our strong female representation across the company,” the retailer stated. “We will continue our efforts in this space to build our representation of women at all levels across the organization.”

    Nordstrom said it has always been focused on having strong gender representation, paying employees fairly for the work they do and making pay decisions that are free from bias. In the last few years, it has increased its  focus in this space, making significant investments to understand how it is doing at a more granular level.

    “Paying our people fairly, regardless of gender or race, enables us to deliver on our commitment to an inclusive environment where we can all be ourselves, contribute ideas and do our best work,” said Deputy. “This is an area that we will continue to invest in and be vigilant on because equality and diversity makes us all stronger.”

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    Source: Chain Store Age

    https://www.chainstoreage.com/finance-0/nordstrom-in-big-pay-milestone-and-is-near-another-one-as-well/
  • 12 Aug 2019 7:56 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Performance management success factors: Align PM with organizational strategy

    by Tim McElgunn

    August 6, 2019

    Performance management processes and procedures have evolved at a blistering pace, perhaps faster than any other part of the Human Resources discipline.

    PM has transitioned from an industrial-age framework focused on maintaining consistent production schedules and quality to a flexible – and interconnected – tracking, coaching and talent development tool.

    Technology capabilities and limitations often drove process design in early PMS implementations.

    Organizations now require technology solutions that reflect their specific performance management framework and focus on the competencies that enable their unique strategy.

    Aligning performance management with organizational strategy

    To design an effective performance managemtn system, organizations need to understand how each job – and the career ladders or development paths for those jobs – feed into the organization’s strategic goals.

    That understanding provides the framework for how and how often performance assessment and guidance is conducted.

    It provides a way to assess performance not just in terms of “what have you done for me so far?” but also, “Where can we best use your talents and optimize your skills going forward?”

    Why is that so important?

    Effective and engaged employees share a couple of common characteristics, regardless of industry, job function, or seniority.

    They understand how their daily efforts make a difference in whether and how their organization achieves its strategic goals.

    Without that understanding, how can they to rate their own efforts and see where they should develop strengths and overcome limitations?

    An effective performance management solution provides the tools to answer that deceptively straightforward question for individual contributors, teams and organizations.

    And, like individual performance goals, a PM system design should flow from a clearly-defined strategy. Otherwise, those systems can limit, instead of advancing, that strategy.

    Asking the right questions

    Often, discussions about the need for performance management approach the topic at a tactical level.

    Indeed, many vendors’ websites suggest that customers look at tactical drivers when they are researching performance management tools.

    They suggest organizations ask themselves,” Why are we looking at investing in a new PMS?”

    • Compensation decision making?
    • Administrative support?
    • Developmental planning and guidance?
    • General performance measurement and reporting?

    For nearly every organization, the answer is, “Yes, all of that.”

    The good news is that there’s a growing ecosystem of performance management technology providers that support those core capabilities. And that’s fine as far as it goes.

    But that is also a problem. In the end, those are questions about the tool’s capabilities, not about the competencies required to implement your strategy.

    Strategy drives competencies, competencies drive PM

    Strategy is the expression of an organization’s mission, goals, objectives and interrelated action plans for achieving each of those targets.

    Those are the factors that determine what competencies you need to build, maintain and nurture.

    Mapping strategy components onto various functions — product development, production, marketing, sales, management and administration and partnerships — helps define and prioritize the tasks that you ask each of your people to perform.

    Answering strategic performance management questions requires the customer, and solution provider, to understand how each job – and any associated development plans and career ladders – feed into the organization’s strategic goals.

    An understanding of the competencies needed to support your strategic aims provides a framework for defining jobs, assessing performance and guiding employee development.

    Shared understanding of why, what and how

    If each of your processes flow directly from strategy, you can trace everyone’s work (actions and behaviors) from task to outcome.

    That allows everyone to see how their work combines with everyone else’s to enable the organization’s strategic ambitions.

    When everyone shares a strategy-based understanding of job responsibilities and interdependencies, they are empowered to hold themselves, and each other, accountable for outcomes.

    They can see where changes and improvements in their jobs might better support strategy. And they can anticipate and participate in realizing those changes.

    Feedback and adjustment

    So, if everything flows from strategy, is this a one-way, top down process?

    No. Like any successful living organism, companies, government agencies, charitable foundations or any other group enterprise operate in an infinite series of feedback loops and adjustment mechanisms.

    Designing a performance management structure and selecting the tools that can best support that structure needs to be a similarly interactive process.

    PMS design needs to include ways to capture and consider input from all stakeholders ranging from senior executive management through to line managers, employees and unions and, in many cases, indirect input from end customers.

    Are you optimizing people or processes?

    When companies were measuring how many acceptable widgets came off production Line B, and knew they’d be making those widgets for the foreseeable future, performance was easier to assess and to manage.

    Employees weren’t expected to change tasks on the fly, if at all. Training requirements were well-defined and could focus on a few specific skills.

    Today, however, you need every employee ready to quickly learn new skills and perform new tasks to support an evolving strategy.

    Managers need visibility into how workers’ capabilities fit with their current jobs and insight into any talents and interests that would be valuable elsewhere.

    Workers need to see how their skills fit with current tasks and what new skills they can and should develop to climb their chosen career ladder.

    That means both managers and workers need a holistic view of current and future competency requirements.

    And there is a real payoff: the more of a role your employees play in recommending and selecting skills they want to develop, the more excited they will be to use those skills.

    Performance management is everyone’s responsibility

    Of course, these highly complex and interdependent performance management tools and processes are only valuable if used consistently across your organization.

    Here again, tying the performance management process back to strategy makes it clear to all stakeholders just how critical it is.

    Leadership support for and continued attention to employee development sets the tone, but ease of use plays a huge part in how effective PM processes and technology solutions are for the organization.

    Employees and managers need to be able to learn and use PM systems without a massive time investment that takes away from productivity.

    That means organizations need to make learning and using performance management processes and tools part of every job description.

    And organizations should push PMS providers to continually improve both user interfaces and user training so those meet your specific needs.

    Measuring performance management ROI

    Performance management systems provide powerful tools for developing and nurturing competencies, making them among the most important investments an organization must make.

    Ultimately, performance management that maximizes workforce development and flexibility in line with a strategic framework is what differentiates successful and less successful organizations – even in the most highly-automated industries.

    The return on your performance management investment can be measured in financial terms reflecting increased efficiency, reduced turnover and other metrics.

    But the true measure of a successful PMS implementation is a flexible, teachable workforce that understands and supports your strategy and that has the resources they need to succeed and grow with your business.

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    Source: HRMorning

    https://www.hrmorning.com/articles/linking-performance-management-strategy/
  • 07 Aug 2019 2:47 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    AUTHOR

    Riia O'Donnell@RiiaOD

    PUBLISHED

    Aug. 5, 2019


    Dive Brief:

    • Sixty-seven percent of more than 2,000 participants in a recent Monster survey said they were unable to negotiate for their current salary. Data emailed to HR Dive by Monster, which was compiled in July, revealed how candidates negotiate salary in addition to vacation time. 
    • For pay negotiations, 41.5% of 1,982 respondents said that their company told them what they would make. Only 4.4% of those polled reported they were offered a pay rate higher than what they'd asked for, and 14.6% of candidates provided a salary range and the employer offered them a salary within that range, Monster said. For 15.3%, the final salary offer was less than what they requested.
    • When negotiating for vacation time, 22% of 1,667 respondents were able to negotiate their vacation time and agreed with the statement: "The vacation policy is why I work here." Some respondents (32%) tried to negotiate for more time, but were unsuccessful, while 21.3% said they were "just happy to get hired," Monster said. 

    Dive Insight:

    Although some reports have suggested salary negotiations are the new norm for most job seekers, those who don't partake cost themselves money in the short-term as well as into the future. The subject of salary is coming up earlier in the hiring process, as workers may be becoming more aware of their value in a tight talent market. Many believe that for some job seekers, like black candidates, not negotiating could contribute to wage gaps.

    On the whole, pay equity across genders and other demographic groups is top of mind for many employers, as they struggle to adjust policies and audit past practices in an effort to achieve parity. A move toward salary transparencycan be helpful, but there are limits to what businesses should make public, experts have said. 

    "You can be transparent about the company's overall compensation philosophy, how it sets compensation, and how it evaluates performance, salary increases, and bonuses without actually handing out a spreadsheet indicating how much each person earns," Felicia Davis, a partner at Paul Hastings, previously told HR Dive. 

    Many suggest competitive salaries now include more benefits, too. Unlimited paid time off is one perk employers have used to sweeten the pot, but one survey showed that around a third of employees don't even utilize the time they earn with traditional PTO policies. 

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    Source:  HR Dive

    https://www.hrdive.com/news/monster-67-of-candidates-did-not-negotiate-their-salaries/559671/
  • 25 Jul 2019 7:51 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Despite a growing demand for the practice, sharing pay information can invite drama for employers ⁠— from workplace culture issues to legal actions.

    AUTHOR

    Jennifer Carsen

    PUBLISHED

    July 24, 2019


    Pay transparency has been dominating the headlines lately — but the concept tends to raise more questions than answers.

    Should you start distributing spreadsheets that include employee names and salaries? Are there any legal requirements to consider? What should you do if you discover inequities in your compensation practices? And how do you appease chatty or web-savvy employees who complain they're being paid less than they deserve?

    Two types of pay transparency

    Pay transparency can have two different meanings, according to attorney Liz Washko, a shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, who spoke to HR Dive via email.

    "First, pay transparency can refer to permitting employees to discuss their pay with other employees without repercussions," Washko said. "From a legal standpoint, employers cannot prohibit this for any employees covered by the [National Labor Relations Act]." Some recent state laws forbid employers from enforcing such rules as well, Washko said.

    Attorney Marissa Mastroianni, an associate at Cole Schotz, similarly cautioned employers about Section 7 of the NLRA: "Employers can't have a policy (written or unspoken) saying that employees can't speak about compensation with each other."

    Second, pay transparency can refer to "one or more systems whereby the employer provides or publishes information regarding its applicable pay ranges for a position or even the specific pay for an employee or position," Washko said. While a limited number of states, including California, require employers to provide the pay range for a position upon the reasonable request of an applicant, in most places this is not legally required, she said.

    How much should you share?

    "Many external factors are putting pressure on employers to be more transparent about compensation," said Felicia Davis, a partner at Paul Hastings. "Employees are asking more questions, shareholder groups are asking employers to be more transparent, and foreign countries are asking for more information to be reported. There is also an EEO-1 component."

    That said, added Davis, there are different ways to be transparent. "You can be transparent about the company's overall compensation philosophy, how it sets compensation, and how it evaluates performance, salary increases, and bonuses without actually handing out a spreadsheet indicating how much each person earns," she said.

    Very few companies, Davis said, are completely transparent with respect to individual compensation decisions. "So many factors go into what an individual is compensated, and I have never met an employee who doesn't think they're a top performer," she said. "Disclosing this data can lead to hurt feelings and is not productive."

    Mastroianni said that total openness about pay can foster a competitive workplace environment, one in which many workers "don't thrive," she said. She added that a company paying at or below market rates may find it difficult to hire and retain talent.

    Complete transparency about pay can also expose a company to legal risks. Even in the absence of a pay equity law, said Mastroianni, it's still a discriminatory practice to pay employees differently on the basis of protected characteristics. And employees are likely to interpret the data subjectively. The lowest earner in a job description may wonder, for example, if he or she is illegally being paid less because of a protected characteristic, like a disability, Mastroianni said.

    Davis pointed out that many compensation audits are conducted at the direction of counsel. In this situation, the more information about pay that is widely shared, "the more you might risk waiving privilege," she said.

    Pros to pay transparency

    Employees appreciate when employers are transparent about compensation philosophies and practices, said Davis; "It helps people feel they are being compensated fairly and helps engender goodwill." It can also motivate employees to work harder, said Mastroianni, if they know they are in the middle of the pay scale and want to move up.

    Washko said providing applicants with information about pay ranges can keep both employers and applicants "from wasting time on a hiring process that was not likely to be successful." On the other hand, if a business pays at or above market rates, said Mastroianni, this can be a plus — applicants may be able to envision their possible earnings trajectory at your company over the long term.

    Pay transparency may have broader societal implications as well. "Transparency is the only path that leads to income equality," said Steven Power, global president at Deputy, who spoke to HR Dive via email. "It should be a company's obligation to demonstrate their approach to the remuneration and benefits process in a consistent manner for the same positions across the organization. This will lead to equal opportunities — approached congruently by businesses — as well as an amazing morale boost."

    Management can be "blissfully ignorant" about pay disparities sometimes, said Mastroianni. Publishing and analyzing compensation information "can bring pay equity issues to the forefront" and help remedy gaps.

    What to do about disparities?

    "The first thing an employer should do when it discovers a pay disparity is to determine whether the individuals subject to the pay disparity are performing equal or substantially similar work," said Washko. "The reference to 'equal' work is applicable under the federal Equal Pay Act; the reference to 'substantially similar' work is applicable under some state pay equity laws that have recently been passed." 

    If the work is equal or substantially similar, she said, the employer should determine if there is a legitimate justification for the pay disparity — such as meaningful differences in education, experience, training, or performance.

    If there is no such justification, a remedy could "include an adjustment in pay to the person or persons determined to be underpaid," said Washko. "But it should also include an assessment of how the disparity came about and whether there are opportunities to improve one or more policies or procedures to prevent these issues from arising in the future." This process could involve a legally privileged pay equity analysis, she added. 

    How to handle individual employee complaints?

    There is potential for drama when it comes to pay transparency, said Mastroianni, which might require "company leadership to sit down with management and say, 'people will have questions.' The company should be able to explain those numbers — not only what they are, but how they were obtained."

    Additionally, Mastroianni said, employers must be prepared to "have a discussion with a disgruntled employee; you must give this employee a solution." Employers could explain, for example, why employees are paid the amount they're paid and lay out a roadmap for improved performance and pay going forward, she said.

    Individual concerns may be handled on an individual level, said Washko. Employers may need to adopt a broader strategy if the complaints spread: "If a larger group of employees raises concerns, the employer may need to consider a broader message to help employees understand the types of information the employer considers in making pay decisions — to illustrate that the employer takes the matter of compensation seriously and makes decisions based on fair and appropriate reasons." 

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    Source: HR Dive

    https://www.hrdive.com/news/pay-transparency-how-much-should-you-share-with-employees/555923/
  • 25 Jul 2019 7:47 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Beach

    Andrew Filev - Contributor

    For those of us with jobs in competitive fields or high-growth companies, the thought of taking a vacation can be stressful. Between keeping teams engaged, investors happy, and hitting key project milestones, it feels like there’s never a good time to take a break from work. It’s such a big problem that this year, the WHO announced that “Burnout” will be listed as an occupational phenomenon in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases.

    That’s why the role technology plays in vacations has been fiercely debated since the days of email, and even more so since the rise of the cloud and mobile. Some say that technology like mobile devices have tethered us permanently to our jobs, making it impossible to get away from the stressors of work. Others say they’ve liberated us to enjoy more flexible work schedules and blend work and life so that we can maintain careers while exploring the world.

    A survey from 2018 sheds some light on the debate, and some of the data seems to support the argument that technology forces us to stay connected when we don’t want to be. When asked about work habits on vacation, 22% of respondents said they spend a few minutes each day working, usually sending short responses to questions or forwarding time-sensitive emails to someone at the office. Another 24% said they don’t intend to work, but will reply to emails or phone calls from their boss. These actions seem small, but they all detract from the benefits of a truly disconnected vacation.

    Findings from a more recent survey might provide support for the opposing view. This year, 62% of respondents said that the digital tools they use in the workplace helped very or extremely well in preparing their teams for time away from the office, which may mean the majority of workers feel that digital work has actually improved their ability to disconnect. 

    If you’re trying to build a culture that embraces vacation and allows your workforce to relax without interruption, here are some tips that can transform the way your business operates with team members on vacation.


    Preparation is the key to a disconnected vacation

    In the age of digital work vacation requires preparation, usually in the form of aggregating information about projects from many digital locations into a centralized place so colleagues can find it in your absence. While it sounds easy, the majority (54%) of employees described their stress level as very high or extremely high compared to normal in the days leading up to vacation, showing that this kind of information if frequently difficult to find.

    Since preparation is the difference between a disconnected vacation and one with constant work interruptions, companies that value employee time off should think about ways they can support the preparation process. The most simple way is to keep project data centralized at all times with a work management system that keeps this information organized from the start of a project.

    Management must lead by example and disconnect on vacation

    Employees are more likely to work on vacation if their managers work on vacation, with millennials 36% more likely than older generations to say their managers influence them on vacation. Since millennials are the largest generation in the workforce and also 37% more likely to feel guilty about taking a vacation, it’s important that you give them permission to take time off and disconnect. Management must align from the top down to lead by example, and especially respect boundaries of those who are on vacation by not pinging them daily through digital channels. 

    An important strategy that both managers and employees can use to help disconnect is to set clear expectations about whether or not they’ll work on vacation. If you are in the midst of a critical project, set defined times in advance when you’ll be reachable, and establish rules for what people should ping you about. These boundaries help keep everyone on the same page about what constitutes an “emergency” and help vacationing workers segment their days into “work time” and “relax time.”

    Better planning can prevent vacation fire drills

    One of the most preventable causes for vacation work is poor planning—and not by vacationers themselves. When management and team members don’t see their needs coming far enough in advance to prepare for the absence of a mission-critical colleague, it’s the vacation that suffers. That’s why an overall improvement of process and project management and investment in visibility can pay dividends on keeping projects moving forward in the summer, when employees frequently take turns with time spent out of the office.

    Employees can help themselves by giving early, frequent reminders about their vacation plans, so they don’t surprise anyone by being unavailable. If you have visibility into upcoming projects, you can try to tackle work early, or work with stakeholders to schedule tasks around your time off. 

    Channel Communications into a single place

    Leaving for vacation isn’t the only stressful part. 45% of survey respondents said that returning to work after vacation also brings about significantly higher stress levels than usual. This may also be the result of the need to spend time reviewing messages to make sure nothing critical has fallen through the cracks. Reduce this kind of stress by sending your communications to a single feed, so there’s only one place to check when you return. You can do this using tools like Zapier to automate message replication between apps, or encouraging your team to push critical messages through the channel that you use the most. 

    Vacations are an important part of wellness for employees. It’s also necessary to attract and retain talent, who say that PTO is the most important perk a workplace can offer. Companies and leadership must share this value to help workers truly disconnect for restful vacations in the digital age. 


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    Source: Forbes

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewfilev/2019/07/16/employees-need-vacation-but-are-employers-enabling-time-out-of-the-office/#2871e13dc928

  • 22 Jul 2019 8:44 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Caregiver and older woman

    By Scott Wooldridge | July 05, 2019 at 10:19 AM

    The unprecedented number of older Americans with complex health care needs is taking an increasing toll on working family members.


    A new study by Health Affairs outlines the high financial burden being shouldered by working-class families who provide care for aging parents and other relatives. These caregiving costs for families is likely to double over the next 30 years, the study found.

    The study said that the aging population is creating unprecedented numbers of older Americans with complex and costly health care needs. Many of them rely on family members for caregiving, and the strain this puts on working Americans is increasing over time.

    “The older population is growing in size much faster than the younger population is, and the ratio of adults ages 20–64 relative to those ages 65 and older is projected to decline,” the study said. “This is why a much larger share of the working-age population in the future would need to be caregivers just to keep up with the current prevalence of unpaid caregiving, based on age. By mid-century more than 10 percent of all adults ages 20–64 would be caregivers, and their number would increase by more than ten million compared to 2013.”

    An aging population relies on family caregivers

    The study notes that as of 2011, about ten million Americans ages sixty-five and older were living in setting other than nursing homes and receiving help from caregivers, frequently family members. That assistance included help with bathing, walking, and eating. In addition, there is a growing number of older adults with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer disease and other dementias. “These people overwhelmingly rely on unpaid help and care provided by family and friends, most commonly by their working-age children,” the study noted.

    Providing this help has costs—including lost wages as workers give up hours or take leaves to help with caregiving. The Health Affairs study found that the current costs of caregiving provided by family members is $67 billion. The study projected that those costs will double to $132—$147 billon by 2050, due in part to the growing number of older Americans in need of care.

    Higher-income Americans will shoulder more of the burden

    The report’s author notes that there are limitations to the study, in part because assumptions made about costs and what the system of care will look like in the future.

    However, one interesting projection is that caregivers will include a higher proportion of people with higher earning capacities, who will begin facing substantially higher work-related opportunity costs due to caregiving. For example, in 2013, over 50 percent of the opportunity cost was borne by workers who did not have a bachelor’s degree; the report projects that by 2050, demographic changes will mean that those with a bachelor’s degree will account for 60 percent or more of the opportunity cost burden.

    The study concluded by noting the economic and policy implications for these growing caregiving costs. “Alongside negative health consequences and other burdens of providing unpaid care, [these costs] could translate to a growing negative fiscal impact through forgone taxes and potentially larger outlays for social programs,” the study said. “Therefore, future discussions of the role of family caregiving should recognize that this is a finite and increasingly expensive resource. Future policy action could benefit from accounting fully for the costs in addition to the benefits of caregiving, which would help better define the scope and size of programs needed to support caregivers—many of whom struggle to balance their work and caregiving activities.”

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    Source: BenefitsPRO

    https://www.benefitspro.com/2019/07/05/caregiving-costs-to-working-families-to-double-by-2050/?slreturn=20190622114407
  • 22 Jul 2019 8:41 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Anjalee Khemlani - 

    Reporter

    July 17, 2019

    The Treasury Department and IRS issued a notice Wednesday that will help health care plan enrollees with high deductibles qualify for more preventative care benefits.

    The move, which expands the uses for Health Savings Accounts, was issued in response to President Donald Trump’s June 24 executive order. That document ordered the Treasury “to issue guidance to expand the ability of patients to select high deductible health plans that can be used alongside HSAs and cover low-cost preventive care, before the deductible, that helps maintain health status for individuals with chronic conditions.”

    The new list adds services and treatments for certain chronic care that the IRS, Treasury and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined were low-cost. It is unclear what data set was used to determine this information.

    The insurance industry, which would be required to approve claims that fit the new standards as well as design plans around the new guidance, had no immediate reaction to the new guidance.

    The news came as most insurance officials were focused on Capitol Hill, where the Senate was debating a series of health care bills.

    Blue Cross Blue Shield Association vice president Kris Haltmeyer told Yahoo Finance it was a move the industry welcomes.

    “We strongly support providing consumers with better access to care to keep them healthy and addresses chronic conditions,” he said.

    “We’re pleased the administration also advanced this goal by giving health insurers more flexibility to cover high-value services on a pre-deductible basis for consumers enrolled in high deductible health plans,” Haltmeyer added.

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    Source: Yahoo Finance

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/irs-rule-gives-high-deductible-plans-more-benefits-220148710.html
  • 18 Jul 2019 6:41 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    CA bringing back a key part of Obamacare

    By Katy Grimes, June 25, 2019 6:40 am

    Despite that 93 percent of Californians have health insurance, the California Legislature voted Monday to tax California citizens who do not buy health insurance. This penalty revenue will be used to fund health insurance subsidies to encourage more people to purchase health insurance, and to provide health care to illegal immigrants.

    Passage of SB78 creates the “Individual Mandate” to require Californians to purchase health insurance, and imposes a fine for failure to do so.

    The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office warned this could indirectly result in increased state costs in Medi‑Cal, and/or if the individual mandate actually succeeds in more Californians signed up for state health insurance, fewer Californians will pay the penalty tax resulting in less money.

    Data from the Affordable Care Act shows that the people most likely to owe the penalty are young, healthy people with jobs that pay $30,000 to $50,000 per year. “It makes no sense that young people making $30-50k per year are paying so that other people making $75k-130k per year can get a subsidy,” Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) Tweeted. “The fine, or tax because that’s what it is, is $695 per adult, $347.50 per child, or 2 1/2 percent of a household’s gross income, whichever amount is greater.”

    Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to reinstate the individual mandate is to force healthy people to buy the state health insurance. In essence, the people who will be punished are the ones who can’t afford insurance because they don’t receive subsidies for not buying the some of the most expensive insurance in the country, and will likely cost them $14,000 per year, and will not be actual insurance until the $5,000 deductible is paid. This penalty/tax will be used to pay for the health coverage for illegal immigrants.

    Lawmakers also approved a bill that to provide Medi-Cal government-funded health insurance to illegal immigrants, in the country illegally. Since both of these were covered in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s original budget, it is anticipated he will approve both within the budget trailer bill.

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    Source: California Globe

    https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/california-legislature-passes-health-insurance-individual-mandate-penalty/
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