Quick Hits - May 25, 2022 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

Quick Hits - May 25, 2022

Do you have this benefit – egg freezing? By the time a woman hits her 40s, her chances of pregnancy drop to 5% per menstrual cycle, meaning five out of 100 women will successfully become pregnant per cycle, according to research from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Egg freezing may allow women to get pregnant using their own eggs well into their 40s, but the trick is to harvest and store one’s eggs before 35, says Dr. Jane Frederick, a reproductive endocrinologist, infertility specialist and medical director at HRC Fertility Clinic in Newport Beach, California. Family planning is often closely tied with a person’s career choice, yet egg freezing has been an underrated employee benefit. Just 19% of large employers with 500 or more employees cover the procedure, according to Mercer.  If you are looking at how DE&I impact benefits, here is a prime example. Offering support and coverage for this life stage is an important signal that an employer’s benefits are inclusive of all, Dr. Frederick says. They can also be key to helping employers keep their DEI promises, since these benefits give women and LGBTQ workers the power to choose how and when they want a family.   Source: EBN 5/10/22

OFCCP announces 400 new compliance audits: On May 20, 2022, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs published a new Corporate Scheduling Announcement List (CSAL) for supply and service contractors, comprised of 309 Contractors and now subcontractors, no more than 4 per each contractor for a total of 400 audits.  The size of the contractor went down for minimum review purposes from 80 employees now to 50 employees, although on the list there are locations with less than 50.  In those situations under 50 employees, depending on the value of the contract, they will still review the Veteran and Disabled AAPs. The CSAL is a courtesy notification to contractors selected for a Compliance Review (Establishment Review), Corporate Management Compliance Evaluation, or Functional Affirmative Action Program Review. The review will begin once the contractor receives the OFCCP’s Office of Management and Budget approved scheduling letter.   

States that have the hardest time finding employees:  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in March 2022. Nationwide, there are 11.5 million job openings, setting a record for the 20-year-old Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. However, states are not experiencing the Great Resignation equally, and employers may find themselves having a harder time hiring in some states compared to others, says Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at personal finance resource WalletHub. Based on the company’s analysis, the 10 states where employers are struggling the most to hire workers, based on the states’ latest job-openings rates and their job-opening rates in the last 12 months are Alaska, Georgia, New Hampshire, South Carolina, West Virginia, Montana, Idaho, Kentucky, Rhode Island, and Nevada.  Michigan is ranked 16th.  Source:  EBN 5/5/22, WalletHub 4/20/22

Are your mental health benefits properly managed? According to the CDC, 44% of high school students reported persistent feelings of hopelessness and sadness, while emergency department visits for attempted suicides increased by 51% for teen girls and 4% for teen boys since 2019. And yet, health insurance companies have faced scrutiny for denying mental health treatment claims at alarming rates. Even before a pandemic surge, a 2014 CBS 60 Minutes Sunday report revealed a claim denial rate of over 90% by Anthem. “Most insurance plans do provide mental health benefits and are supposed to be provided on a pretty broad scale under law,” says John Joseph Conway, a national employee benefits attorney. “Where the problem arises is when insurers' interpretation of their contracts become overly restrictive.” However, restrictive interpretation of mental health coverage is technically against federal law — namely, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which required that access to mental health and substance use disorder services is comparable with access to medical and surgical services.  However, this year, the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury reported that none of the health plans or insurers they reviewed for compliance with the parity act passed.  Source:  EBN 5/2/22

The need for more H-1B – tech worker shortage:  Tech-industry representatives came to Capitol Hill to warn that the remote work trend will lead to more offshoring of software developer and other technology jobs unless the U.S. admits more high-skilled immigrants. Remote jobs in tech jumped by more than 420% between January 2020 and last month, growth that was intensified by the pandemic, according to a jobs data review by Tecna, a trade group for regional tech councils. In February, more than 22% of all tech jobs were listed as remote, compared with 4.4% in January 2020. The U.S. allows 65,000 skilled-worker visas annually under its H1-B program, plus another 20,000 for people who hold graduate degrees from American universities. Those numbers haven’t budged since 2005 despite the sharp rise in tech jobs.  In contrast, Canada has no cap on visas for immigrating tech workers making it an attractive destination for Indian, Chinese, and Eastern European computer coders and software engineers who have had a hard time obtaining U.S. visas. The U.S. unemployment rate for tech occupations was 1.3% as of March, its lowest level since June 2019 and about one-third of the national unemployment rate, according to data from the Computing Technology Industry Association and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Source:  The Wall Street Journal 5/10/22

Disability discrimination coming to forefront:  The EEOC released a technical assistance document, “The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Use of Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence to Assess Job Applicants and Employees,” focused on preventing discrimination against job seekers and employees with disabilities. Based on the ADA, regulations, and existing policy guidance, this document outlines issues that employers should consider in order to ensure that the use of software tools in employment does not disadvantage workers or applicants with disabilities in ways that violate the ADA. The document highlights promising practices to reduce the likelihood of disability discrimination.   The DOJ’s guidance document, “Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Disability Discrimination in Hiring,” provides a broad overview of rights and responsibilities in plain language, making it easily accessible to people without a legal or technical background. “New technologies should not become new ways to discriminate. If employers are aware of the ways AI and other technologies can discriminate against persons with disabilities, they can take steps to prevent it,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “As a nation, we can come together to create workplaces where all employees are treated fairly. This new technical assistance document will help ensure that persons with disabilities are included in the employment opportunities of the future.”  Source:  EEOC 5/12/22

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