Quick Hits - August 3, 2022 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

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Quick Hits - August 3, 2022

Are Millennials utilizing employers’ saving plans?  Likely not.  According to Bank of America’s “2022 Financial Life Benefits Impact Report,” despite 58% of eligible employees participating in a 401(k) plan, 61% of them contributed below $5,000 last year. The study also found that fewer than one in 10 participants’ contributions reached the ceiling on elective deferrals, under IRS Section 402(g)—that is, $19,500, last year. The report says Millennials are failing to optimize the potential of their 401(k) benefits—70% contribute less than $5,000 annually—compared with 54% of Generation X and 51% of Baby Boomers. Millennials also are the least likely to participate in a 401(k) plan: 54% participate vs. 65% of Gen X employees and 59% of Baby Boomers.  Additionally, just 4% of Millennials contribute up to the IRS annual limit, compared with 12% of Gen X participants and 14% of Baby Boomers, the report says. “For plan sponsors, this also creates an opportunity to expand offerings to adopt auto[matic]-enrollment and auto[matic]-increase features,” says Kevin Crain, head of retirement and personal wealth solutions research at the bank. “These tools help ensure the employees are capitalizing on their 401(k) plan and are powerful in driving both employee engagement and increased contribution amounts.”  Source: PlanSponsor 7/18/22

Good news for DEI: As of at least July 2022, all Fortune 100 companies have made a public commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  On July 13, conservative activist Christopher Rufo, senior fellow and director of the Manhattan Institute’s initiative on critical race theory and contributing editor for the City Journal published a column highlighting this Fortune 100 milestone. Once an arguably neglected HR niche, diversity is front and center for the dozens of companies shaping the future of business.  While some have expressed concern regarding “virtue signaling” or performative allyship, the Fortune collective appears to be moving the needle and building on previous DEI accomplishments. Next to mandates and audits, another way HR leaders have held executives’ feet to the fire is by linking DEI progress to compensation. About one-third of S&P 500 companies have folded DEI metrics into their executive incentive plans. Semler Brossy reported that 28% of S&P 500 companies included DEI in executive compensation plans; Mercer reported 35%.  Source:  HR Dive 7/20/22

Gender pay gap won’t be resolved in our lifetime:  Efforts to close the global gender gap improved slightly this year after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed gender equality by at least three decades, the World Economic Forum said.   In its 16th Global Gender Gap Report the WEF said overall gender disparity across politics, work, health, and education improved and it will now take 132 years to reach full parity compared with 136 years last year. Before the pandemic, the gap was set to close within 100 years. Female labor force participation dropped precipitously in 2020 following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and now stands at the lowest level since the report was first created in 2006.  Iceland topped the ranking for the 13th consecutive year due to the nation’s high educational attainment score and the high percentage of women in government.  In the U.S., which is ranked 27th of 146 countries, there was a small increase in the gender gap score after President Joe Biden took office in 2021. Over the past year, women in the country saw improvements in perceived wage equality and estimated earned income.  But female political empowerment continues to lag in the U.S. where women hold less than 31% of seats in congress and there has never been a female president.   Source: Bloomberg 7/13/22

Conference Board survey finds 1/3 of workers planning to leave even if recession hits: Nearly one out of three workers (31%) plan to quit their jobs in the next six months, and 94% of workers who left their companies during the past year do not regret the move, the Conference Board said, describing findings from a survey primarily of professional employees and office workers. Only 38% of respondents said they plan to remain with their current employer in the next six months, the Conference Board said, citing the June 21-28 survey of 1,100 individuals. Nearly one out of four workers (22%) left their jobs for higher pay, while 17% quit for a more flexible work schedule.  Source:  HR Dive 7/18/22

But there is good news – people like coming back to the office: According to a new survey by workplace platform Envoy, 90% of those returning to in-person work say that being back in the office is better than expected — even those who were forced back — thanks largely to the camaraderie of coworkers. Nearly half of workers said that casual interactions with colleagues are the most exciting part of returning to work, while 47% said they just needed to get out of the house. According to survey respondents, 40% of workers are back full-time while 60% are in 1-4 days a week.  Source:  EBN 7/20/22

Additional good news – no NLRB fines:  The Inflation Reduction Act, announced late Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., includes key provisions of Biden's domestic agenda, including reduced insurance and drug costs and hefty investments in renewable energy. But the real good news for employers is that the bill plan leaves out a provision that would have allowed the NLRB to issue six-figure fines for violations of the National Labor Relations Act.  The omission will come as a relief to employers and a disappointment for labor advocates, who had hoped Congress would strengthen NLRB enforcement by raising the stakes for employers that violate workers' labor rights.  Currently, the board may only order employers to make wronged workers whole, such as by requiring back pay and reinstatement for workers who are illegally fired. Labor advocates argue this remedial scheme is ineffective at deterring employers from interfering in union drives or punishing workers who act collectively.  Source:  Law360 7/28/22

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