Benefits

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Same-Sex Couples Now Must Marry to Get Employer Health Benefits

same-sex-marriage

Until recently, same-sex couples could not legally marry. Now, some are finding they must wed if they want to keep their partner’s job-based health insurance and other benefits.

With same-sex marriage now legal in 35 states and the District of Columbia, some employers that formerly covered domestic partners say they will require marriage licenses for workers who want those perks.

“We’re bringing our benefits in line, making them consistent with what we do for everyone else,” said Ray McConville, a spokesman for Verizon, which notified non-union employees in July that domestic partners in states where same-sex marriage is legal must wed if they want to qualify for such benefits. Read more…

Benefits, Talent Management

Dealing With Employee Stress: The Answer Is Right in Front of Them

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The job-stress connection isn’t new. It’s been around as long as the concept of employment.

So if it’s always been there, why should businesses worry about it? And why now?

There’s a simple answer to these questions: Employee stress costs every company money. Sometimes a lot of money. And it’s a bigger problem now than ever before. Read more…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

Employers Feeling Pressure to Pay More to Workers With Special Skills

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Across the U.S., employers and the agencies that help them fill jobs are feeling increasing pressure to raise pay for workers with special skills.

Although hiring in many parts of the country and for certain sectors — manufacturing being one of the more frequently mentioned — was strong the last several weeks, growth nationally was generally minimal, the Federal Reserve said in a report on economic conditions released today.

The Fed’s so-called Beige Book summarizes reports from business and employment contacts in the 12 Federal Reserve districts to provide a ground level view of conditions. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

President Calls For Paid Sick Leave For All American Workers

Obama

By Eric B. Meyer

In an announcement made late Wednesday on LinkedIn, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, posted that President Obama will call upon Congress today to pass the Healthy Families Act.

I’ve blogged about the Healthy Families Act before here. Essentially, the Healthy Families Act would require companies with 15 or more employees to permit each employee to earn at least one (1) hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Read more…

Compensation, Legal Issues

Labor Department Going After More Wage and Hour Laws Violations

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Employees in New York and California are being cheated out of millions in wages by their employers, a new study reveals, and the U.S. Department of Labor wants to find more employers who are skirting the law.

The wage study was conducted by the Eastern Research Group and commissioned by the Labor Department to measure the possible socio-economic impacts of minimum wage violations in California and New York. These two states were selected for the study because of their large workforce. Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

Avoiding the Holiday PTO Trap: You Need to Get Line Managers On Board

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If you work in HR, this is the time of year when you may be itching to discuss holiday PTO with line managers.

But there is likely a topic that you are hesitant to broach because it could put the line manager on the defensive: Whether employees who are owed PTO (paid time off) are actually going to be working from home when the books say they are officially “off.”

This is what I like to call the “Holiday PTO Trap.” Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Small Businesses Drop Health Coverage Due to Obamacare Alternatives

health care reform

For two decades Atlanta restaurant owner Jim Dunn offered a group health plan to his managers and helped pay for it. That ended Dec. 1, after the Affordable Care Act made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Health-law subsidies for workers to buy their own coverage combined with years of rising costs in the company plan made dropping the plan an obvious – though not easy – choice.

“I had a lot of regrets going into it,” Dunn, who owns three Italian Oven restaurants in suburban Atlanta, said of his decision. “I don’t think I have as many now — only because I’ve seen the affordability factor for my managers improve.” Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Employers Love Wellness Plans, But the Question is – Do They Even Work?

workplacewellness

If you get health insurance at work, chances are you have some sort of wellness plan, too. But so far there’s no real evidence as to whether these plans work.

One thing we do know is that wellness is particularly popular with employers right now, as they seek ways to slow the rise of health spending. These initiatives can range from urging workers to use the stairs all the way to requiring comprehensive health screenings.

The 2014 survey of employers by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 98 percent of large employers and 73 percent of smaller employers offer at least one wellness program. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of KFF.) Read more…

Benefits, HR Management

The Challenges an Employee May Have Switching to a Spouse’s Insurance

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If a married couple who each have health insurance through a job want to switch coverage from one employer to the other, usually it’s a snap.

During the fall open enrollment period the husband, for example, can simply drop his on-the-job coverage for the new year and his wife can add him to her plan Jan. 1.

Since many companies have calendar year coverage periods, that’s the way it typically works. Read more…

Compensation, Rewards & Recognition

Believe It or Not, Promotions Are Also Viewed as Workplace Rewards

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Promotions are a form of reward, even though they don’t always jingle like direct cash.

A jump in title status alone is sometimes enough to be strong motivation for greater employee engagement. Psychic income, whether intrinsic or extrinsic in origin, should count as compensation, anyway, since it is part of the employee value proposition.

Movement into a higher pay classification generally means more aggressive raises, too. And when a promotional increase accompanies hierarchical advancement, the positive consequences are even greater. There are also situations when promotions are used as rewards in place of any formal pay for performance program. Read more…