Quick Hits - February 10, 2021 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

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Quick Hits - February 10, 2021

Quick HitsEmployees want better benefits and lower costs:  According to the Willis Towers Watson 2020 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey of nearly 5,000 U.S. employees, more than a third of respondents (37%) cited reducing benefit costs as their top benefits priority for 2021, followed by receiving greater benefits security from their employer (26 %). Roughly two in 10 employees identified receiving more benefit choices (19%) and having more flexibility in where, when, and how often they work (18%) as top priorities.  Over half (53%) of the respondents identified saving for retirement as the area in which they would most like help from their employers. When asked what would best meet their needs to save for retirement, over half of surveyed employees (53%) cited a guaranteed retirement benefit; four in 10 respondents (42%) said receiving more generous retirement benefits in exchange for other benefits and less pay would help meet their needs, while 41% said retiree medical benefits would help. Just over a quarter of employees (29%) said access to other savings and investment products would help meet their needs to save for retirement. Source:  CCH 1/26/21

Should you mandate COVID-19 vaccines: As employers decide how to navigate the gradual rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the U.S., a survey of 1,000 workers by people analytics firm Perceptyx found respondents were divided over employer requirements that employees be vaccinated.   53% of workers surveyed said employers should not require vaccination, and 60% of self-identified essential workers surveyed said they believed employers should not require employees to be vaccinated before returning to a physical workplace, according to Perceptyx. Moreover, 43% of all respondents said they would consider leaving their employers if they were required to be vaccinated. However, 53% of employees said they would "likely" receive a vaccine if it were available today, and 56% said they would do so if encouraged by their employers. An even greater share, 60%, would get vaccinated if their employers offered an incentive of $100 or more.  Source:  HR Dive 1/28/21

Employees worried about COVID-19 vaccine side effects: About seven in 10 employees are concerned about side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a survey of 1,000 consumers from wellness provider Welltok. Meanwhile about half of Americans (52%) are concerned there will not be enough supply of the vaccine, and nearly 60% of people also indicate preference for a specific brand of COVID-19 vaccine, the survey finds. The numbers are the latest to highlight the hesitance and concerns some employees feel about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. A recent Gallup survey finds that about one-third of Americans do not plan to be vaccinated against coronavirus. Despite those impediments, encouraging employees to get vaccinated is a main goal of many organizations this year as vaccination is the primary way for employers to get back to business as usual. Communication should be frequent and come from both team leaders and company leaders, experts say. Giving them safety and efficacy data on the COVID vaccine can be helpful, too.  For tips on vaccine employee communication, read this recent EPTW article. Source:  HR Executive 1/25/21

Will you have a problem with talent if requiring a return to office?  Many companies plan to ask their employees to return to the office once a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available later this year. However, an online survey of 1,022 professionals conducted by LiveCareer reveals 29% of working professionals would quit their jobs if they couldn't continue working remotely. 42% of the U.S. workforce has been working from home full-time during the pandemic, according to a Stanford University study. Those teleworking are generally white-collar office workers who can perform their jobs with a phone and computer.  The survey underscores that at least some businesses and their workers may be on a collision course as life gradually returns to normal and employers start requiring staffers to come back to the mother ship. 61% of the white-collar workers surveyed said they want their company to let them work remotely indefinitely, even after the pandemic is over, while 79% said their company plans to return to on-site work eventually.  Source:  CCH 1/27/21

Was absenteeism a problem last year? More workers called in sick in 2020 than at any time in at least two decades, a USA TODAY analysis of federal labor market data has found.  An average of 1.5 million people a month missed work because of their "own illness/injury/medical problems," 45% more than normal over the past 20 years.  Childcare-related absences increased even more, soaring 250% above the 20-year average. Roughly 67,000 people a month said childcare problems made them miss work. The data also show a huge increase in workers who missed work for other, unspecified reasons. From 2000 through 2019, the highest number of workers in this category in one month was 1.27 million. Last year, the monthly average was 2.5 million. During the pandemic last year, however, absences rose and remained high in July and August before dropping in September. They then jumped to new heights in November and December.  "To see a spike in absenteeism in the summer is sort of the opposite of what we'd expect to see,'' Matthew Groenewold, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says. "We've known for a long time that workplace absenteeism is highly correlated with the occurrence of influenza type illness."  Source:  USAToday 1/21/21

U.S. DOL Office of Disability Employment Policies (ODEP) turns 20: ODEP was established by Congress in fiscal year 2001, but its roots trace back to the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities that was formed in 1998. The task force proposed and designed ODEP, establishing the interagency connections that are the hallmark of its work today. ODEP’s creation also heralded an important shift in how we talk about disability and employment in America, one focused not on whether people with disabilities can work, but rather the strategies and supports that drive the change needed to make work happen. One of ODEP’s early endeavors was to develop a means for reliable and accurate monthly data collection on the employment status of people with disabilities. Following more than seven years of extensive research and testing, we partnered with the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2008 to add six disability-related questions to the monthly Current Population Survey, the official source for estimates on U.S. labor force participation, employment and unemployment. As a result, monthly data on the employment status of people with disabilities were released for the first time in January 2009 — and have been every month since.  Source:  USDOL 1/28/21

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