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Quick Hits - September 9, 2020

Quick Hits

Positive drug tests are the highest reported in long time:  According to a new Quest Diagnostics study, employers saw the highest rate of positive workforce drug test results since 2003. As expected, marijuana was the most detected drug, including in states where marijuana remains illegal. The study reported a surge in positive results in the Midwest for cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. However, the report found a decline in positive opioid tests for 2019. The Quest Diagnostics report provided encouraging results on the types of testing triggering positive results. As in prior years, for-cause testing produced the highest percentage of positive results, followed by follow-up and return-to-duty testing. The report also highlighted the industries producing the most positive results – the Retail Trade Industry had the overall highest positive rate and the Other Services category (grantmaking, advocacy, and providing personal services) also had a high rate. The Accommodation and Food Service category had the highest positive rate for marijuana.  Source:  Jackson Lewis 8/31/20

California companies will be required to report pay data: California Governor Gavin Newsome is expected sign legislation requiring employers with 100 or more employees to submit annual pay data reports to the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The annual reports would break down employees by race, ethnicity, and sex into ten job categories. The new law, which would go into effect March 31, 2021, is part of a continuing effort in California to shrink the pay gap for women and minorities.  Source:  Fortney Scott 9/2/20

Men like and gain more from working from home:   While a 77% majority of men said that they've been more productive working from home with children, only 46% of women said the same, according to the Qualtrics and theBoardlist study of over 1,000 working adults.  Some 57% of men believed that working from home has had a positive effect on their careers while just 29% of women agreed.  Men are 2.3 times more likely -- at 71% -- to say working from home for an extended period of time would positively impact their career progression, while only 31% of women concurred. Nearly half of the women surveyed said working from home would neither positively nor negatively affect their career, while only 20% of men held that opinion.  Additionally, the findings highlighted a stark contrast between races on productivity.   “White workers are 62% more likely than black workers to say they’ve been more productive during the pandemic,” a blog post that accompanied the report explained. Among other conclusions, researchers found that 34% of men with children at home received a promotion versus only 9% of women. And some 20% of men with children at home got a pay raise compared with 13% of women.  Source:  Fox Business 8/27/20

Economists predict that pandemic will make the wage gap worse: A recent study by a team of economists has found that the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting women harder than men. Between February and April 2020, female unemployment increased 12.8%, compared to a 9.9% increase for males. This disparity results in large part from the negative impact the pandemic has had on many in-person service jobs, which are disproportionately held by women. The pandemic’s effect on the female workforce has been exacerbated by the closures of schools and daycare facilities, forcing many women to take time away from work to care for their children. The study projects that these factors may cause the gender wage gap to widen by as much as 5 percentage points, with the average female worker only earning 76 cents for every dollar earned by male workers.  Source:  Fortney Scott 9/2/2

Should employers provide all employees a mental health day off?  Google is. Google is giving employees another day off to avoid burnout as the Covid-19 pandemic enters its seventh month. The company marked last Friday as a one-time paid holiday for “collective wellbeing” that applies to full-time employees and interns. The added off day turned the Labor Day holiday into a four-day weekend. Workers who are considered temporary or are vendors or contractors did not qualify for the day off. Their actual employer would have to make that determination. The contingent workforce makes up roughly half of Google’s overall workforce.  Source:  CNBC 9/3/20

Governor Whitmer replaces Executive Order 2020-161 with Executive Order 2020-175Executive Order 2020-175, Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19, was updated to include information for the addition of safety protocols around public pools (Section -14 ) and the addition of bowling alleys, roller rinks, and ice rinks to Sec 13 (sports and exercise facilities).  Make sure this EO is cited in any internal documents going forward about safety requirements and expectations for employees.

Are you at risk of being replaced by automation? One in five organizations automated jobs in 2019 and, while manufacturing is often considered for automation, results of the survey indicate heavier activity in HR, finance, and data analytics.  The survey also found that virtual assistants may be augmenting traditional office support roles as 45% of organizations are trying to reskill jobs in office and administrative support. Automation isn’t just for manufacturing anymore. Source: CCH 8/27/20


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