Quick Hits - June 1, 2022 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

Quick Hits - June 1, 2022

DOL issues new FAQs on FMLA—anxiety is now covered: While many people coping with mental illness may face barriers to treatment including social stigmas, a lack of available services or financial resources, the U.S. Department of Labor is determined to ensure that obtaining job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act is not another obstacle to overcome when workers seek the mental health support they need.  The newly published guidance includes Fact Sheet # 28O: Mental Health Conditions and the FMLA and Frequently Asked Questions on the FMLA’s mental health provisions. An eligible employee may take FMLA leave for their own serious health condition or to care for a spouse, child, or parent because of their serious health condition. Mental and physical health conditions are considered serious health conditions under the FMLA if they require inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider, such as an overnight stay in a treatment center for addiction or continuing treatment by a clinical psychologist.  A serious health condition can include a mental health condition. Even if someone is not the only family member who is able to provide care, that person is still allowed to use FMLA leave, according to the DOL. Source:  USDOL  5/25/22

College desire trending downwards with current high school graduates:  YouthTruth, a nonprofit, surveyed 22,000 members of the Class of 2022 and compared the results with a similar survey of the Class of 2019, the last high school class to predate the pandemic.  Among the results:  the percentage of Latino students who want to go to college dropped from 79% to 71%. The percentage of Black students who want to go to college dropped from 79% to 72%. The percentage of all male students who want to go to college dropped from 74% to 67%.  In the Class of 2022, 76% of white students said they want to go to college, 79% of Middle Eastern or North African students said they do, and 88% of Asian American students do.  Among women in the class, 82% want to go to college.  Of all high school seniors, 47% plan on attending a four-year college and more disturbing, the percentage of students who said they intended to attend a community college fell over three years from 25% to 19%. Knowing this, HR could conceive of policies and programs to not only help make college more affordable but create a pipeline of workers for the near future.  It is also a crossover for DE&I practices.  Source: Inside Higher Ed 5/23/22

Are you actively marketing internal pipelines to fill higher level jobs? In an October 2021 Gartner survey of 3,515 employees, 65% reported that the pandemic has made them rethink the role of work in their lives. For many employees, the result has meant leaving their employers for a new role elsewhere.  Unfortunately, most employees don’t think of their own organizations when they’re looking for a new opportunity. A Gartner survey of 3,000 candidates globally, conducted in May and June 2021, found only 33% of employees who searched for a new opportunity in the past 12 months searched internally first. Gartner analysis reveals only 51% of candidates are aware of available internal job openings, which are often communicated informally. This “tap the shoulder” approach gives the advantage to employees with stronger social connections and can perpetuate DEI challenges. Employees don’t feel supported in pursuing internal roles by their managers, peers, or by the organization. According to Gartner research, only 17% of employees feel their manager facilitates the process of applying for internal job openings, and only 20% feel supported by their peers and team. Many employees find it easier to look externally, because they can avoid the awkwardness of expressing their interest in changing jobs and the potential hint at dissatisfaction.  Source: Harvard Business Review 5/10/22

Crypto in the 401K? Under ERISA, the federal statute that regulates private pension plans, employers that sponsor 401(k) or 403(b) plans have a fiduciary duty to act prudently in selecting plan investment options. In Compliance Assistance Release No. 2022-01, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently discouraged in strong terms 401(k) plans from offering cryptocurrencies as investment options. The DOL's position would apply equally to 403(b) plans. The DOL urged plan fiduciaries to “exercise extreme care before they consider adding a cryptocurrency option to a 401(k) plan’s investment menu for plan participants.” The DOL didn’t mince words: “At this early stage in the history of cryptocurrencies, the Department has serious concerns about the prudence of a fiduciary’s decision to expose 401(k) plan participants to direct investments in cryptocurrencies, or other products whose value is tied to cryptocurrencies.”  DOL suggested a 401(k) plan that offered cryptocurrency as an investment option would be investigated. The DOL said it “expects to conduct an investigative program aimed at plans that offer participant investments in cryptocurrencies and related products, and to take appropriate action.” Therefore, discuss with your ERISA attorney before adding this option.  Source: Gordon Feinblatt LLC 5/18/22

More on employee salary views and jobs:  The Great Resignation is set to continue, according to a new global survey by PwC, with one in five saying they are likely to switch jobs in the next 12 months. PwC launched its “Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which surveyed more than 52,000 workers in 44 countries. The consulting firm said that higher pay, more job fulfillment and wanting to be “truly themselves” at work are the factors pushing workers to change jobs. 20% of employees aim to change jobs in the next year, citing better pay and more fulfillment as reasons.  Some 35% of respondents are planning to ask their employers for more money in the next 12 months.  The pressure for more compensation is highest in the tech sector, where 44% of respondents who work in the industry said they plan to ask for a raise, according to PwC. Conversely, only 25% in the public sector said they plan to do the same. Some 71% of survey respondents said a pay increase would prompt them to change jobs, yet 69% said they would change employers for better job fulfillment too.   Generation Z (ages 18-25) workers are less satisfied with their jobs and twice as likely as Baby Boomers (ages 58-76) to be concerned that technology will replace their roles in the next three years.  Source:  CNBC 5/24/22

City of Chicago requires harassment training: The Chicago City Council has created new employer obligations to provide training to employees and supervisors on sexual harassment prevention and how bystanders should respond to sexual harassment. The new ordinance also moves sections of the Human Rights Ordinance from Chapter 2-160 (“Human Rights”) of the Municipal Code to Article 6 (“Worker Protections”) and substantially revised former section 2-160-040 (“Sexual Harassment”), which is now part of section 6-10-040.  These amendments are effective on July 1, 2022. The revisions included in section 6-10-040 establish new policy and training obligations for employers licensed by or with work locations in the City. For example, every employer must have a written policy. The policy must be provided to employees in the employee’s primary language within the first calendar week of employment. Every employer must require its employees to participate in the mandatory annual trainings for the required number of hours. For the sexual harassment prevention training, employers may use the model sexual harassment prevention training program prepared by the Illinois Department of Human Rights pursuant to the annual training requirements in the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), or they may establish their own training that equals or exceeds the minimum requirements in the IHRA.  Source: Jackson Lewis 5/13/22

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