Quick Hits - May 4, 2022 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

Quick Hits - May 4, 2022

What is the drop dead date for filing EEO-1 reports? Per an EEOC FAQ,  following the May 17, 2022 published deadline, the EEOC will enter the “failure to file” phase. All filers who have not submitted and certified their mandatory 2021 EEO-1 Component 1 Report(s) by the Tuesday, May 17, 2022, published deadline will receive a notice of failure to file instructing them to submit and certify their data AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, and NO LATER THAN TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2022. This additional time, through Tuesday, June 21st, 2022, will be available to ALL filers who have not submitted and certified their 2021 EEO-1 Component 1 Report(s) by the May 17, 2022, published deadline.  Please be advised that AFTER the June 21, 2022, deadline passes, NO additional 2021 EEO-1 Component 1 Reports will be accepted, and eligible filers will be out of compliance with their mandatory 2021 EEO-1 Component 1 filing obligation.

What are you doing about disengagement? While the engagement issues companies are experiencing are of no surprise, the measurable drop in productivity is a shock. Challenger, Gray & Christmas conducted an online survey in late March among 169 companies of various industries and sizes nationwide. Of the 77% of companies who are experiencing engagement issues, 22.8% are investing in programs and policies to combat disengagement. Another 24.3% report engagement issues but have not measured a cost. Despite the engagement issues, in a virtual event hosted by Challenger on April 5th and 6th of over 140 HR professionals and practitioners, 79% did not have a formal, written retention strategy. To retain and attract workers, employers are increasingly offering more intangible benefits to entice new hires and current workers to stay. In the most recent survey, 72.5% of companies reported they are offering hybrid work arrangements, up from 57% of companies who offered this in September 2021, while 71% are offering flexible work hours, up from 43% who offered this last September.  Pay is important but not in top five strategies.  Source:  Challenger, Gray & Christmas 4/14/22

What’s important to employees? Retirement and healthcare:  Another survey, this time by Willis Towers Watson, found that six in 10 employees (60%) cited their employers’ retirement benefits as an important reason they remain with their current employer, compared with 41% in 2010. Nearly half said their company’s retirement programs (47%) and healthcare benefits (48%) were important reasons why they joined their employers, versus just 25% and 32% in 2010, respectively. The survey also found more employees are willing to have additional money deducted from their paychecks for better benefits. Nearly six in 10 employees (59%) said they would pay more for a larger, more generous retirement benefit, up from 54% in 2020. As to managing healthcare, nearly half of employees (46%) would forgo more pay for a more generous healthcare plan versus 36% in 2020.  Half (46%) want a more generous healthcare plan, 42% said health screenings and risk assessments would help them manage their health, and 37% prefer a more generous dental plan. Within the group of employees who rated flexible work as an important benefit for employers to focus on, half (50%) want more generous paid time off and sick leave, 47% desire work from anywhere/remote work options, and 45% prefer the option to determine when they work.  Source:  Willis Towers Watson 4/19/22

Are you reviewing your fertility benefits to cover the LGBTQ community? A former New York City employee and his husband fired off a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission earlier this month, claiming that the city's health plan defines infertility in such a way that homosexual men can't qualify for coverage for in vitro fertilization. The couple appears to be the first to try to take on an employer for alleged sexual orientation discrimination in its fertility benefits. Their legal battle also comes in the wake of a pair of federal lawsuits launched against insurance giant Aetna within the past year by gay women claiming that the company's policies, which feature essentially identical language to that of the New York City plan, put them at a disadvantage too.  It may be time to review all benefits provided with legal counsel to ensure they are not restrictive in a way that causes liability.  The fertility benefit issue is growing.  Source:  Law360 4/20/22

Employee pushback and inflation affect return to office: Employers’ plans to return to the office, already strained by concerns about the spread of the coronavirus and the demands of an emboldened work force, are now colliding with the pressures of inflation. The cost of a daily routine — travel, coffee, food — is far pricier than it was when offices shut down two years ago. Consumer prices were 8.5% higher last month than they were a year earlier, the fastest 12-month inflation rate since 1981. While office occupancy has crept up to its highest level since March 2020, above 40%, some workers have experienced return to office sticker shock. “If employers are like, ‘Hey, yeah, you need to come into the office, you need to spend this money on gas, you have to eat at the office,’ people are going to go, ‘This is too expensive,’” Erika Lance, security software company KnowBe4’s head of human resources, said. The talent shortage has boosted pay, but not enough to keep pace with inflation; wages grew 5.6% in the last year. And for those companies asking their staff to give up the flexibility of remote work, the pressure to raise wages has grown.  Something is going to have to give, and unfortunately manufacturing and healthcare will be hardest hit.  Source:  New York Times 4/20/22

Bad lawyers, bad cases, or both? On Thursday, April 14, 2022, a Texas jury acquitted Neeraj Jindal and John Rodgers, operators of the physical therapy staffing company Integrity Home Therapy, on charges of price-fixing in violation of the antitrust laws. The DOJ filed the charges—its first criminal wage-fixing case—in December 2020, alleging that Jindal and Rodgers conspired with a competing staffing business to mutually lower rates paid to physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. On Friday, April 15, 2022, a Colorado jury acquitted kidney dialysis company DaVita Inc. and its former chief executive officer Kent Thiry on three counts of conspiring with competitors to suppress competition in the market for employees. This complaint alleged that Thiry coerced three companies led by DaVita alumni—Surgical Care Affiliates, Radiology Partners, and Hazel Health—to agree not to recruit, or “poach,” any of each other’s senior-level employees. This was the first criminal antitrust charge brought by the DOJ against a company executive for so-called “no-poach” agreements. Interesting enough, the two cases selected to be bellwether examples of the DOJ’s goal to criminally prosecute conduct affecting labor markets under the antitrust laws halts the momentum that the DOJ has been building with these “no poaching agreements” prosecutions.  Source: Mintz 4/19/22


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