Insurance News: Employee Benefits Newsletter

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Volume 59, No 4, April, 2016 Newsletter Archive
Companies May Be Losing Productivity to Presenteeism

While employers find it easy to track absenteeism, they face challenges in measuring "presenteeism," or when an employee physically turns up at work but is not fully focused on their job. According to a new report by human resource consultancy Global Corporate Challenge (GCC), presenteeism could be costing businesses the equivalent of nearly three months per year in lost productivity.

» Read more
Plan Sponsors Should Offer Participants Personalized Guidance

Rather than simply communicating with employees about their workplace retirement plan, employers should seek to offer participants personalized guidance on how to save for retirement, and make the process of contributing to and managing their retirement accounts easier and more effective, a report by Broadridge Financial Solutions recommended.

» Read more
The ACA Small Business Tax Credit Is Not Widely Used

The small employer health tax credit, which was established as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to encourage eligible small employers to provide health insurance for employees, has so far had a limited effect, a recently released report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicates.

» Read more

Previous Group Benefits issues
+ Volume 59, Issue 1 - January, 2016

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Employee Stress, Anxiety and Depression Levels Appear to Be Rising

The shares of employees who are reporting serious mental and emotional health concerns related to stress, anxiety, and depression have risen dramatically in recent years, according to the findings of an analysis of global Employee Assistance Program (EAP) data published by employee well-being services provider Workplace Options.

» Read more
Career Frameworks Help Organizations Build Talent From Within

As they assess their strategies for attracting and retaining top-performing employees, growing numbers of employers are developing career frameworks that enable them to build talent from within the organization, rather than recruiting outside talent, the results of a survey by human resources consultancy Mercer indicate.

» Read more
401(k) Plan Costs Show Signs of Declining

Mutual fund fees and other costs associated with 401(k) plans appear to be declining, but large plans are still far more likely than small plans to have automatic enrollment features, a study of 401(k) plans by the Investment Company Institute (ICI) and financial information company BrightScope reported.

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+ Volume 59, Issue 3 - March, 2016

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Easing Access to Multiple Employer Retirement Plans

On January 26, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez announced that President Obama will propose a number of new retirement plan initiatives in his fiscal year 2017 budget, including asking Congress to make it easier for groups of unrelated employers to pool together in a shared 401(k) plan known as a multiple employer plan (MEP).

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Health Plan Costs Continue To Outpace Inflation

While health care cost growth in the U.S. has been slowing in recent years, the average cost of employer-sponsored medical plans globally is still substantially higher than the overall inflation rate in most countries, and is expected to continue to increase well ahead of inflation in the years ahead, according to a report by human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt.

» Read more
Digital Media Are Transforming the Way People Work

While it is clear that digital technologies can boost productivity and enhance flexibility for workers and employers, it is also essential that companies develop proactive strategies for integrating digital media and technology into workflows, and for addressing the opportunities and pitfalls that increased connectivity brings to the business and its employees, a report recently released by the World Economic Forum has recommended.

» Read more

 



+ 2015 Newsletter Archive
+ Volume 58, Issue 1 - January, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Leadership Affects Employee Satisfaction Levels

In addition to being motivated by their job responsibilities and their relationships with their co-workers and immediate supervisors, employees are more engaged when they have company leaders who support long-term growth over short-term gains, and who provide their employees with a clear vision of the company's direction, according to a report on the factors that drive employee engagement and satisfaction recently published by Internet firm Answers Corporation.

» Read more
Employers Express Concerns About Retirement Readiness of Workers

Most sponsors of defined contribution (DC) plans acknowledge that retirement readiness has become a major issue for their employees, and are attempting to support their workers in saving for retirement by boosting their savings and investment education programs, and by adopting automatic features and target-date funds for their DC plans, the results of a survey by professional services company Towers Watson have revealed.

» Read more
Employees Are Using Technology to Remain Connected to Work

While employees around the world are becoming increasingly comfortable with using mobile devices to work remotely, most still prefer to spend at least some time each week in the office, according to a global study on the role technology plays in workplace and workforce trends by computer hardware manufacturers Dell and Intel.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 58, Issue 2 - February, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Hiring Managers Report a Lack of Job Candidates with the Right Skills

Most college-educated job seekers are failing to demonstrate they have the right combination of skills and traits for the positions available, according to the results of a survey of hiring managers conducted by The Career Advisory Board of DeVry University.

» Read more
New 401(k) Plan Participants More Likely to Invest in Target-Date Funds

As a result of changes in 401(k) plan design, there was a significant increase in the use of balanced funds, including target-date funds, by recently hired 401(k) plan participants between 1998 and 2013, a newly updated annual report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI) concluded.

» Read more
Onsite Medical Clinics Can Boost Worker Productivity

Employers are finding that providing workers with access to onsite or near-site medical clinics is a successful strategy for controlling health care costs, improving employee health, promoting engagement in worksite programs, reducing absenteeism, and ultimately increasing productivity, the findings of a study by the National Association of Worksite Health Clinics (NAWHC) and PwC US indicate.

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+ Volume 58, Issue 3 - March, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
CFOs Express Optimism about Year Ahead

Chief financial officers (CFOs) are generally optimistic about their company's prospects for the year ahead, but remain concerned about external risks such as industry regulation, government policy, and equity market valuations, according to the findings of a quarterly survey conducted by professional services firm Deloitte.

» Read more
Americans Express a High Degree of Confidence in 401(k) Plans

As a result of changes in 401(k) plan design, there was a significant increase in the use of balanced funds, including target-date funds, by recently hired 401(k) plan participants between 1998 and 2013, a newly updated annual report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI) concluded.

» Read more
ACA Compliance Continues To Be a Challenge for Employers

While employers that are affected by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have had several years to get ready to meet the law's complex requirements, organizations are still in the process of preparing to demonstrate compliance, according to the findings of a survey conducted by the ADP Research Institute.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 58, Issue 4 - April, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Employers Lack Confidence in Their Succession Management Programs

Many employers are not confident that they are promoting the right people to executive-level positions or fostering the talent they need to lead their organization into the future, according to a report recently released by executive recruitment firm Korn Ferry.

» Read more
Workplace Stress May Be Hazardous To Employee Health

Workplace stress appears to pose serious risks for workers and their employers, contributing to at least 120,000 deaths each year and accounting for up to $190 billion in additional health care costs, a new study released in February 2015 has warned.

» Read more
Employers Value Wellness and Well-Being Programs

Most employers see workplace wellness programs and well-being initiatives as key components to improving employee health and containing rising health care costs, the results of a recent survey conducted by WorldatWork and HealthMine indicated.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 58, Issue 5 - May, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Identifying Toxic Employees Before They Are Hired

As "toxic" employees who engage in violations of company policy or criminal acts can have major negative financial and cultural effects on companies, employers should seek to identify workers who are likely to cause serious problems in the workplace before they are hired, a report recently published by talent management software provider Cornerstone OnDemand has recommended.

» Read more
Employers Consider New Strategies for Retiree Medical Programs

As concerns about the high cost of retiree health benefits grow, many large employers are considering alternatives that better align with their current work-force planning initiatives, the results of a survey released by global professional services company Towers Watson indicate.

» Read more
Employer Contributions to HSAs Declined In 2014

While employer contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs) declined in 2014 from the previous year, enrollment in high-deductible health plans continued to expand, according to a survey conducted by United Benefit Advisors, an alliance of independent benefit advisors.

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+ Volume 58, Issue 6 - June, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Retirement Confidence Shows Signs of Recovering Among Workers and Retirees

American workers and retirees are expressing higher levels of confidence about their ability to afford retirement, even though many are still not taking the necessary steps to achieve that goal, according to the latest results of an annual survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates.

» Read more
Workforce Investment Can Lead To Better Financial Performance

Placing a greater emphasis on workforce development appears to be correlated with superior financial results for companies, according to a global study of best practices in talent strategies released by Oxford Economics with support from software provider SAP SE.

» Read more
Employers Increasingly Use Big Data to Manage Benefit Programs

As "big data" changes many aspects of the business world, private-sector employers and researchers are committing to capturing and analyzing the vast amount of health and retirement data in their benefit plans in an effort to control costs and improve the quality of their benefit programs. According to plan sponsors and researchers who spoke at a recent policy forum sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

» Read more

 

+ Volume 58, Issue 8 - August, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Bonus Payments Tied to Non-Financial Performance

In response to regulatory pressures and difficult market conditions, banks and insurers across the globe are making changes to their executive pay programs, with many adding bonus malus or clawback provisions and non-financial performance metrics to compensation packages, the results of a recent survey by human resource consultancy Mercer indicate.

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HR Faces Challenges, Workforces Become More International

As trade liberalization and technological advancements have encouraged companies to expand internationally and trade their products and services on a global scale, companies are becoming more transnational and workforces are becoming increasingly cross-cultural‚??trends that are creating both risks and opportunities for human resource management, a report researched and written by the Economist Intelligence Unit for the SHRM Foundation observed.

» Read more
Workers Focus On Short-Term Goals Instead of Retirement

American workers find it difficult to save for retirement because their distant financial needs tend to take a backseat to more immediate economic concerns, even if they have their day-to-day finances under control or are financially literate, according to a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 58, Issue 9 - September, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Talented Managers Enhance Productivity and Profitability

To remain competitive, companies should select managers based on their innate talent for developing and engaging employees, and for creating enthusiastic, energized teams, a research report by performance management consultancy Gallup recommended.

» Read more
Working after Leaving the Office

As increasingly advanced forms of communication technology allow workers to remain connected to clients and the workplace around the clock, the traditional eight-hour work day may no longer be relevant, especially among workers in professional and business services, the results of a recent survey by recruitment website CareerBuilder survey indicate.

» Read more
Most IRA Withdrawals Are Legally Required Distributions

A relatively small share of individual retirement account (IRA) owners make withdrawals in a given year, and most of those who do are individuals over age 70¬Ĺ who are required by law to take a distribution from their traditional IRA, according to a report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

» Read more

 

+ Volume 58, Issue 10 - October, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Companies Increasingly Open to Hiring Boomerang Employees

Employers report that they are increasingly willing to hire "boomerang employees," or former employees who left the organization and then apply to return after working elsewhere, according to a study by the Workforce Institute at human resources software provider Kronos and WorkplaceTrends.com.

» Read more
Shift to 401(k)s Not Linked to Reduced Wealth

American workers do not appear to have lower levels of retirement wealth as a result of the shift away from traditional pensions to 401(k) and other defined contribution plans, but savings levels have declined slightly and the balance of risk assumed by employees and employers has changed, according to a study released by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

» Read more
Growth in Health Benefit Costs Remain Low in 2016

Employers report that growth in the cost of employee health benefits in 2016 will be less than 5% for the fifth straight year, and that they see consumer-directed plans as a key strategy for avoiding the excise tax on employer-sponsored health coverage mandated under the Affordable Care Act, the findings of a recent survey by human resources consultancy Mercer indicate.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 58, Issue 11 - November, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Working Parents Want More Support from Employers

Most working parents report that struggling to balance work and family responsibilities is causing them to feel burned out, but many believe that having more support from their employer would help them manage these competing demands more effectively, the results of a survey commissioned by daycare provider Bright Horizons Family Solutions indicated.

» Read more
Expansion of Flexible Work Programs Shows Signs of Slowing

Even though advances in technology are making it increasingly easy for employees to work from anywhere, the rates of adoption of flexible staff schedules are flat, in part because executives at many companies are skeptical of teleworking, according to a report released by nonprofit human resources research organization WorldatWork.

» Read more
Health Plan Premium Growth Remains Moderate in 2015

Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose an average of 4% in 2015, continuing a decade-long period of moderate growth, according to the findings of a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 58, Issue 12 - December, 2015

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Companies Make Slow Progress Towards Gender Equality in Management

While most global senior executives predict that within 15 years there will be as many women as men in the executive suites of large global companies, many women appear to be experiencing "gender pipeline fatigue," as companies fail to take the steps necessary to turn this expectation into a reality, according to a new study released by public relations firm Weber Shandwick.

» Read more
Employees Come To Work with the Flu Despite Knowing the Risks

Both managers and rank-and-file employees are well aware of the impact of the flu on workplace productivity and have a strong understanding of how to stop the flu from spreading, but more than half admit that they continue to go to work even when sick, and often fail to take the recommended steps to stop the flu from spreading, the results of a survey by office supplies retailer Staples indicate.

» Read more
Focus on Cash Saving Hinders Americans in Reaching Retirement Goals

Although Americans put urgent financial goals like a secure retirement high on their list of priorities, their attitudes and behaviors regarding money are not necessarily aligned with their intentions, the findings of an annual global survey on savings and investment behavior from BlackRock suggest.

» Read more

 


+ 2014 Newsletter Archive
+ Volume 57, Issue 1 - January, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Volume 57, Issue 1 - January, 2014
Many Employers Fail To Leverage Benefits As A Tool

While the role of benefits in attracting and retaining talented employees is becoming increasingly important amid stagnating wages, many human resource professionals are failing to emphasize their company's benefit offerings in their recruitment and retention efforts, according to the results of an annual survey released in December, 2013 on the state of employee benefits conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) have shown.

» Read more
Employers Face A "Brain Drain"

While many Americans claim they plan to continue working well into their retirement years, employers with a large share of older workers may face a significant loss of talent unless they plan ahead for the likelihood that their employees will indeed start to retire as they reach age 65, the results of a recent survey released in December, 2013 by executive recruitment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas have indicated.

» Read more
Most Employees Are Satisfied With Their Health Benefits

Although the recent rollout of health insurance marketplaces as part of the Federal health care reform has raised the issue of whether employers will continue to offer health coverage to their employees in the future, most workers say they are satisfied with the health benefits they have now, and express little interest in changing the current mix of benefits and wages offered by their employers, according to the results of a June, 2013 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and market research firm Greenwald and Associates.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 2 - February, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Many Older Workers Underestimate Retirement Risks

While a majority of older Americans who have yet to retire claim they plan to continue to work after reaching retirement age, a minority of people who have already retired report that they actually remained on the job after the age of 65, a survey conducted by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) showed.

» Read more
Workers Fear Retaliation When Reporting Injuries

Nearly one in 10 U.S. workers claim they have been injured on the job but did not report getting hurt for fear of retaliation from their employer, such as being fired or harassed, according to the results of a survey published by legal information website FindLaw.com in December 2013.

» Read more
U.S. Learns From Other Countries' Spend-Down Strategies

As American workers are primarily saving for retirement through 401(k) and other defined contribution (DC) plans, regulators and plan sponsors in the U.S. should learn from the experiences of other countries with DC systems when looking for new ways to assist retiring workers in making complex decisions about how to spend their savings throughout retirement.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 3 - March, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Employers Offer Tools to Improve Financial Wellness

As U.S. employers become increasingly concerned about the financial well-being of their workforce, companies are offering employees a wide range of financial management tools and information designed to help them not just with retirement planning, but with day-to-day budgeting, according to the results of a survey conducted by human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt and published in January 2014.

» Read more
Employers See Human Capital As Key To Recovery

Although business leaders around the world are still dealing with the political and economic repercussions of the 2008 financial crisis, most are less focused on returning to pre-crisis global growth rates than on building a performance-oriented workforce and a company culture able to attract and satisfy customers in the face of tough global competition, a report published in January 2014 by The Conference Board has asserted.

» Read more
Wellness Programs May Reduce Costs

Workplace wellness programs can lower health care costs in workers with chronic diseases, but components of the programs that encourage workers to adopt healthier lifestyles may not reduce health costs or lead to lower net savings among participants who are not already sick, according to the findings of a new study by the RAND Corporation published in the January 2014 edition of the journal Health Affairs.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 4 - April, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
President Obama Extends Overtime Pay Protections

On March 13, President Obama, signed a memorandum that directs the U.S. Department of Labor to expand overtime pay protections and streamline overtime rules so that many more salaried workers in lowerlevel supervisory and professional positions are eligible to receive time and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours a week.

» Read more
Long-Term Incentives Increasingly Tied To Performance

Although the use of stock options and other appreciation awards in executive compensation has declined in recent years, the growing popularity of performance-based awards, as well as increased diversification in the executive longterm incentive (LTI) mix, has more than offset this drop, the results published in March 2014 of an analysis of the LTI programs of large companies conducted by human resources consultancy Towers Watson have shown.

» Read more
Americans Face Challenges In Saving For The Future

Despite the recent upturn in the economy, large numbers of Americans continue to face significant challenges in accumulating enough savings to cover their long-term financial needs, according to the findings of a national survey released in February 2014. The survey interviewed 1,018 adults and assessed household savings as part of the "America Saves Week" event, an annual event in which government, business, and nonprofit organizations at the local, state, and national levels work together to promote good savings behavior.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 5 - May, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Employers Set Higher Educational Standards For Workers

The college degree is increasingly becoming the new high school diploma, as growing numbers of employers report that their educational requirements for both job candidates and existing employees have risen over the last five years, a recent survey by CareerBuilder revealed.

» Read more
Employers Seek To Influence Employee Health Habits

In their efforts to tackle the problem of rising health care costs, employers are increasingly using targeted strategies and intervention programs that directly influence employees' individual behaviours and health habits, the results of an annual survey on health and productivity by Willis North America's Human Capital Practice have shown.

» Read more
Baby Boomers Step Up Retirement Planning

While members of the baby boom generation have expressed declining levels of confidence in their ability to save for retirement over the past several years, the shares of boomers who report saving and setting goals for retirement have been increasing, according to a study recently released by The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI).

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 6 - June, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Workers Take Only Half Of Their Vacation Time

The average American employee who has paid vacation used only half of his or her entitlement in the past 12 months, and the majority of employees who have taken time off claimed they continued to work while on vacation, according to the results of a quarterly survey by the career website Glassdoor.

» Read more
ACA: Affecting Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Significant shares of employers claim the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is having an impact on their current retirement benefit strategy and spending levels, and anticipate that the cost of complying with Federal health care mandates will cause them to reduce their focus on retirement benefits in the future, a study published in April 2014 by LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute (SRI) has warned.

» Read more
Employee-Friendly Companies: Better Performance

Companies that offer employee-friendly work environments and have policies that promote work-life balance have better financial performance and lower risk levels than comparable companies, a study published in 2013 by several business school researchers has concluded.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 7 - July, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Sign-On And Other Bonus Programs Expand At Many Companies

As the labor market has tightened over the past two years, growing numbers of employers are offering recruitment and retention bonuses, with sign-on bonuses becoming increasingly widespread, according to the results of a survey conducted by the human resources association WorldatWork (June 2014).

» Read more
Employers Embrace New Strategies For Lowering Health Care Costs

While shifting costs to workers remains the most prevalent strategy used by employers to manage the expenses associated with sponsoring a health care plan, employers are becoming increasingly interested in changing their plan design and adopting new strategies for reducing costs and improving the health of their employee populations, according to the results of a survey by human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt described in a June 2014 press release, but not yet published.

» Read more
Low-Income Workers Face Greater Risk of Retirement Shortfalls

While all baby boomers and Gen Xers run some risk of outliving their retirement savings, the lowest 20% of American earners are in far greater danger of running short of funds a decade or more into retirement than middle- and higher-income groups, according to a recently published study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 8 - August, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
More Companies Adopting Cash Balance Retirement

The number of U.S. employers sponsoring cash balance retirement plans continues to grow, and these "hybrid" plans are becoming increasingly widespread among small and midsized businesses, according to a 2014 report recently published by the retirement plan management firm Kravitz, which designs and administers retirement plans.

» Read more
HR Survival Mentality Threatens Growth

Even as economic indicators are becoming increasingly positive and business confidence is improving, most companies around the world have yet to invest in the human resources infrastructure they will need to attract and develop talent, which could threaten their ability to grow, warns a report on global talent management practices recently published by the human resources consultancy CEB.

» Read more
Consumer-Directed Health Plans Need More Support

Americans are increasingly being asked to play a more active role in health care decision-making, but many do not fully understand consumer-directed account-based health plans, and need more decision-support resources to help them better manage their expanding responsibilities for purchasing and funding health care, according to the results of a survey published in July 2014 and conducted by Alegeus Technologies, a health care and benefit payment specialist.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 9 - September, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Consistent 401(k) Participants Have Bounced Back from Downturn

The average 401(k) account balance among employees who consistently participated in a 401(k) plan between 2007 and 2012 increased at a compound average annual growth rate of 6.8% over the period, despite having decreased 34.7% in 2008 during the height of the financial crisis, according to a study published in July 2014 by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI).

» Read more
Employers Struggle To Keep Up With Rising Benefit Costs

As the cost of providing a full range of benefits to workers continues to rise, many employers are finding it increasingly challenging to attract and retain a competitive workforce while keeping benefit costs in check, according to a survey conducted by the benefits consultancy Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

» Read more
U.S. Top Destination For International Job Candidates

Job seekers who are looking for work beyond the borders of their own country are more likely to search for a position in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, and more than one-quarter of U.S. job seekers are open to employment outside of their home state, according to a study released by the Indeed Hiring Lab in July 2014, the research arm of the international online recruitment service Indeed.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 10 - October, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Workers Express Concerns About Health Care Benefits

While American workers rate their own health care plan highly and are generally confident that their employer will continue to provide health benefits in the future, many are concerned about cost increases and maintaining access to treatments and providers, according to a recent report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

» Read more
Confidence in DC Retirement Plans Shows Signs of Returning

Both employers and workers are regaining confidence in defined contribution (DC) retirement plans as the increasingly stable economy and job market are helping to alleviate employee anxiety about saving for the future, indicated the results of an annual survey of 401(k) and 403(b) plan sponsors by Deloitte Consulting.

» Read more
Health Benefit Costs Projected to Rise 3.9% in 2015

The cost of providing health care benefits to employees is projected to increase in 2015, as employers continue to adjust their plans to comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to early responses from an ongoing survey by Mercer, a human resources consultancy.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 11 - November, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Employers Weigh Adjusting Health Plans to Avoid the Excise Tax

A significant share of U.S. employers are already taking steps to avoid triggering the excise tax on high-cost health plans when it goes into effect in 2018, but the employers remain committed to continuing to provide health coverage for their employees, according to the results of a survey by the human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt.

» Read more
Trend Toward Paid Time Off Banks Shows Signs of Leveling Off

The percentage of employers shifting from traditional systems of paid leave to more flexible paid time off (PTO) banks increased steadily between 2002 and 2010, though this upward trend appears to have stalled in recent years, suggest the findings of a study recently released by the benefit consultancy WorldAtWork.

» Read more
Relationships with Co-Workers Improve Employee Engagement

Positive relationships with coworkers are critical to employees' feelings of job satisfaction and commitment to their employer, and the inclusion of colleagues in service anniversary ceremonies make these events much more meaningful to the employees who receive awards, according to a report recently released by the social recognition solutions provider Globoforce.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 57, Issue 12 - December, 2014

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Americans Worry about Saving For Health Care in Retirement

Even though a majority of working Americans over age 50 report that they are saving for health care costs in retirement, many doubt they will have enough money to cover their health care expenses when they reach retirement age, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by AARP.

» Read more
Retirement Plan Participation Rebounded in 2013

The percentage of workers in both the private and public sectors who participate in an employment-based retirement plan increased in 2013 for the first time since 2010, and participation levels among all types of workers showed signs of recovering from the sharp declines in participation following the financial crisis, a report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) published in October 2014 has revealed.

» Read more
Companies with Effective HR Strategies Outperform Peers

Employers rated as having highly effective and efficient human resources processes and strategies outperform their peers, as they have lower costs per worker and operate with fewer employees than the typical company, according to a report released in October 2014 by business benchmarking consultancy The Hackett Group.

» Read more

 


+ 2013 Newsletter Archive
+ Volume 56, Issue 1 - January, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Volume 56, Issue 1 - January, 2013
Voluntary Benefits Boost Value of Benefit Plans

As slow economic growth makes it challenging for employers to fund large pay raises and more generous benefits, many Human Resources professionals are turning to voluntary benefits, such as supplemental medical and accident insurance, as a way to improve employees' perceptions of the value of their company's benefits package, according to the results of a recent study, "Benefits USA 2012/2013," released by Compdata Surveys in November.

» Read more
Moderate Executive Pay Raises in 2013

As U.S. companies seek to limit executive compensation increases in the absence of meaningful performance gains, growth in executive pay is expected to be more moderate in 2013 than in previous years, as reported in a new survey conducted in October 2012 by compensation consultancy, Pearl Meyer & Partners.

» Read more
Competition Among Health Insurers Down

In many areas of the country, there is relatively little competition among commercial health insurance providers, according to the results of an analysis of consolidation trends in U.S. health insurance markets conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA).

» Read more

 

+ Volume 56, Issue 2 - February, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Volume 56, Issue 2 - February, 2013
Reducing The Impact Of Flu Outbreaks

With a particularly severe flu season predicted for this winter, employers should encourage employees who catch the flu or colds to stay home, or take measures to avoid infecting their co-workers if onsite, according to recommendations found in two recently released reports on the potential impact of the latest flu outbreak on workplaces.

» Read more
Congress Raises Taxes in "Fiscal Cliff" Compromise

With the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) on New Year's Day, Congress addressed the tax side of the "fiscal cliff," by making permanent or extending a number of individual and business tax provisions, ending the payroll tax holiday, and raising taxes on Americans with incomes of $400,000+ a year for single taxpayers.

» Read more
Minimizing Risks Associated With Retirement

With the median net worth of American families showing signs of stagnation and traditional pension plans disappearing, even as the growing number of retirees places pressure on the Social Security system, workers who are currently trying to plan for retirement are facing an uphill battle, according to a report released by the Society of Actuaries Committee on Post Retirement Needs and Risks (CPRNR), the Urban Institute, and the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER).

» Read more

 

+ Volume 56, Issue 3 - March, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Volume 56, Issue 3 - March, 2013
Companies Help Workers Save For Retirement

To help workers better prepare for retirement, companies are taking steps to ensure that employees are aware of the financial resources they will need to retire, while also offering more sophisticated defined contribution plan features that make saving and investing easier, according to an annual survey of retirement plan sponsors released in January 2013 by Human Resources consultancy, Aon Hewitt.

» Read more
Employees Value Health Care Benefits

According to a survey conducted in June and July 2012 by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) in which 800 U.S. adults ages 21 and older were asked for their opinions on employment-based health insurance, health insurance is considered by workers to be the most important employee benefit.

» Read more
Health Coverage Impacts Early Social Security Claims

Although Social Security's Full Retirement Age (FRA) has increased from age 65 to age 66 for recent retirees, many Americans are continuing to claim their benefits at age 65. In addition, those who rely on Medicare for health insurance coverage are more likely to start claiming Social Security before their FRA than those who receive retiree health benefits through their employer, according to a new study published in November 2012 by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 56, Issue 4 - April, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Volume 56, Issue 4 - April, 2013
Americans Seek New Options for Retirement Planning

Most Americans are concerned about their retirement prospects, and would like policymakers to provide them with additional support by developing new options for retirement planning, including new types of pensions, according to a new report released by the National Institute on Retirement Security.

» Read more
Ancillary Benefits Help Employers to Stand Out

Ancillary employee benefits, such as dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, will be an even greater differentiator for employers in 2013 than in the past. However, many smaller employers fail to offer a full range of these relatively low-cost benefits, according to a new survey of nearly 12,000 employers released by United Benefits Advisors (UBA) in March 2013.

» Read more
Employee Recognition Programs Improve Retention

Recognizing employee performance through career achievement programs can help companies retain top performers and boost levels of engagement and loyalty, according to a global study released in March 2013 by O. C. Tanner, an employee recognition solutions provider.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 56, Issue 5 - May, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Volume 56, Issue 5 - May, 2013
Telecommuters Need More Employer Support

Telecommuting programs can be mutually beneficial for employers and workers, reducing absenteeism and raising employee satisfaction levels. But employers may not be doing enough to provide employees with the IT support and the home office equipment they need to work effectively from home, as the results of a November 2012 survey conducted by Staples Advantage have indicated.

» Read more
Employers Prepare for Health Care Reform

Most employers do not plan to eliminate health insurance benefits when the core provisions of the health care reform legislation go into effect in 2014, but many health plan sponsors have yet to calculate the costs of compliance or to develop a strategy for dealing with the new requirements, according to the findings of a survey released by Willis Human Capital Practice.

» Read more
Workforce Planning Improves Competitive Business Edge

While it is generally understood that talent is the key to success in today's global economy, many HR professionals are questioning whether their organization's approach to investing in human capital and planning for the company's future workforce needs are paying off, according to a global survey released in March 2013 by HR consultancy, Mercer.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 56, Issue 6 - June, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Volume 56, Issue 6 - June, 2013
Job Market Recovery for New Graduates Continues

While the job prospects for young Americans graduating from college appear to be better in 2013 than in the years immediately following the recession, employers are especially interested in hiring recent graduates highly skilled in areas, such as IT and finance, according to an annual survey of 2,184 hiring managers and Human Resources professionals across regions, industries, and company sizes conducted by CareerBuilder.com and CareerRookie.com.

» Read more
Employers Seek New Ways To Lower Health Plan Costs

With the cost of health care rising, growing numbers of U.S. employers are seeking to lower benefit costs and encourage workers to stay fit not only by offering incentives for participating in health and wellness programs, but also by imposing penalties on workers with risk factors who refuse to participate, according to an analysis of benefits data released in April 2013 by Compdata Surveys.

» Read more
Improving the Rollover Process for Plan Participants

Workers who are changing jobs may be advised to roll over their distributions from the 401(k) plan of their previous employer to an individual retirement account (IRA) rather than to the 401(k) plan of their new employer, even when it is not in their best financial interests to do so, a study released in March 2013 by the U.S. General Office of Accountability (GAO)

» Read more

 

+ Volume 56, Issue 7 - July, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Workers Have Mixed Feelings About Career Prospects

U.S. workers are feeling increasingly confident about their jobs and are optimistic about their prospects for receiving improved pay and benefits, but these positive sentiments are offset by concerns about being asked to work more for the same pay and about being replaced by a lower cost employee, according to the results of a Harris Poll survey.

» Read more
Professionals Want To Customize Their Work Environment

As the rapid growth in technology tools expands options for communication and collaboration, a culture shift is taking place in which professional workers are seeking to personalize and customize their work environments in a number of ways, including in terms of work style and location, according to a report released by professional services provider Intelligent Office.

» Read more
Multiple Retirement Plans And Asset Allocation

American workers who have more than one type of retirement plan are more likely to invest a higher percentage in equities than those who do not, a study released in April 2013 by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 56, Issue 8 - August, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Employee Benefits And The Supreme Court's DOMA Ruling

On June 26, 2013 the United States Supreme Court ruled, in U.S. v. Windsor, that the provision in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that excludes same-sex marriages from the definitions of "marriage" and "spouse" under Federal laws is unconstitutional, on the grounds it violates the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment as applied to people of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their state.

» Read more
Employers Plan To Hire Despite Concerns About Regulation

A growing number of U.S. employers are gearing up to hire more workers and are optimistic about the near-term economy, but are proceeding with caution as they track recent changes in the regulatory landscape, especially the implementation of health care reform, according to the findings of a survey released in July 2013 by employment and labor law firm Littler Mendelson.

» Read more
Vast Majority Fall Short Of Retirement Savings Goals

American households are saving far too little for retirement, with the typical working family having retirement savings of only a few thousand dollars. This results in a U.S. retirement savings deficit of between $6.8 and $14 trillion among working households ages 25-64, depending on the household assets counted, a report published in June 2013 by the National Institute on Retirement Savings (NIRS) has warned.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 56, Issue 9 - September, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Volunteering Reduces Stress And Improves Engagement

Employers that encourage their workers to volunteer can benefit from improvements in health and reduced stress levels, as well as higher levels of engagement among their employees, according to a new report released in June 2013 by health care consultancy Optum Institute and UnitedHealth Group.

» Read more
Gen Xers Worried About Finances And Retirement

While workers of all ages have faced financial and professional challenges in recent years, Generation X employees struggle the most of all age groups when it comes to managing competing financial priorities related to their home and family, and are uncertain about their retirement prospects, the results of an annual survey conducted by PwC US have shown.

» Read more
Small Businesses Face Challenges In Providing Retirement Security

Small employers in the U.S. face substantial challenges in offering retirement plans to their employees, a problem which could be alleviated through alternative approaches such as multiple employer plans, according to a report prepared by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

» Read more

+ Volume 56, Issue 10 - October, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Women's Retirement Savings Patterns Lag

Although women participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans at roughly the same rates as men, women are less likely than their male counterparts to accumulate sufficient retirement savings because women tend to contribute less, are more likely to default on loans taken out of their retirement savings, and have longer life expectancies, according to a study released in August 2013 by human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt.

» Read more
Employee Health Linked To Company Performance

Companies that create a culture of health by focusing on the well-being and safety of their workforce yield greater value for their investors. In these companies, employee health appears to be linked to marketplace performance, the results of an analysis conducted by HealthNEXT, a developer of population health strategies, have shown.

» Read more
Passionate Employees Boost Company Performance

Instead of focusing on recruiting employees with specific skill sets, companies should seek to hire and nurture "explorers," or people who bring passion to their jobs, embrace challenges as opportunities to learn new skills, and who strive for rapid improvements in performance, a report by human resources consultancy Deloitte has recommended.

» Read more

+ Volume 56, Issue 11 - November, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Working Parents Claim Family Duties Do Not Affect Job Performance

While working parents acknowledge that balancing career and family can be a challenge, most do not believe that parenthood negatively affects their job productivity, the results of a new survey by work-life services provider Workplace Options have shown.

» Read more
Modest Pay Raises And Flat Hiring Activity Anticipated

Base pay increases for employees in 2014 will remain at 3% for the second year in a row, or roughly one percentage point below pre-recession levels; and hiring is not expected to pick up significantly at most companies, according to the results of a compensation and workforce planning survey recently released by compensation consultancy Buck Consultants.

» Read more
Retirement Plans Bounce Back

Despite setbacks following the financial crisis, the defined contribution system continues to enable American workers to save effectively for retirement, the results of an annual survey of profit-sharing and 401(k) plans conducted by the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PCSA) indicated.

» Read more

+ Volume 56, Issue 12 - December, 2013

Employee Benefits Newsletter
"Crowdsourced" Input Can Improve Employee Performance Reviews

Many workers believe their ongoing achievements and contributions are not fully captured by traditional annual performance appraisals, and would feel more motivated if their employee performance reviews included broader feedback from across the organization, according to the results of a survey conducted by social recognition solutions provider Globoforce.

» Read more
Affluent Americans See 80 As The New 60

In a significant break from their parents' generation, for whom "old" was perceived as being around age 60, today's affluent investors define old age as starting at 80, and see retirement as occurring in stages, a survey conducted by UBS Wealth Management Americas has shown.

» Read more
More Training Is Needed To Bridge Employee Skills Gaps

While more than half of U.S. executives express concerns that skills gaps among their workforce could negatively affect their company's competitiveness, many also acknowledge that their organization has not done enough to train employees to meet the needs of the business going forward, according to a survey released in October 2013 by management consultancy Accenture.

» Read more


+ 2012 Newsletter Archive
+ Volume 55, Issue 1 - January, 2012

Employee Benefits Newsletter
Volume 55, Issue 1 - January, 2012
More Young Adults Insured Under New Law

Some 2.5 million adults under age 26 who would have otherwise lost their health care coverage have remained insured through their parents' plan due to changes in the dependent care health plan requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a report released by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on December 14, 2011.


» Read more
Modest Salary Increases For Executives In 2012

According to the annual survey conducted from August to October 2011 by compensation consultancy, Pearl Meyer & Partners, while companies are awarding moderate salary increases to executives in 2012, they are also adjusting their incentive-based compensation programs in response to pressures to provide a better alignment between executive pay and performance.


» Read more
Workers Of All Income Levels Benefit From 401(k) Plans

While economists often assume that low-income employees benefit less than high-income employees from 401(k) plans, a 2011 study published by the Urban Institute has concluded that additional employer contributions to 401(k) plans affect wages much less for low-income than for high-income workers, and that rank-and-file employees may benefit from 401(k) plans more than previous research has shown.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 2 - February, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 2 - February, 2012

Retirement Plan Sponsors Help Employees Save

Companies that reduced or suspended employer contributions to retirement plans during the recession are gradually reinstating their matches, according to the results of a survey released by the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA).


» Read more
Rising Benefit Costs Affect Compensation

Nearly two-thirds of mid-sized companies report that benefit costs are the leading factor affecting their compensation decisions, and more than one-third of organizations anticipate increasing employee contributions to health and welfare plans in 2012.


» Read more
Behavioral Economics In The Workplace

Employers should consider using behavioral economic principles when designing their benefit offerings to improve how their employees use their retirement and health plans, and provide better outcomes for participants and employers, a study published in December 2011.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 3 - March, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 3 - March, 2012

Workers More Optimistic About Employment Prospects

Employees are showing signs of increased optimism about job opportunities, pay raises, and company outlook in 2012, according to the recent results of a survey by career website, Glassdoor. Conducted in December 2011, the quarterly survey asked 2,572 U.S. adults aged 18 and older who were employed, self-employed, or unemployed but looking for work for their views on four key indicators of employee confidence: job market and re-hire probability, company outlook, pay raises, and job security.


» Read more
Employers Gradually Improve Retirement Plan Governance

While most retirement plan sponsors are concerned about the issues surrounding fiduciary responsibility and compliance, many are still in the process of improving their management of the financial, organizational, and other risks created by ineffective plan governance, according to a report by human resources consultancy, Towers Watson.


» Read more
Workers Stay In Job For Health Care Coverage

Some employees currently choose to remain in jobs they might otherwise leave in order to keep their employer-provided health insurance, but this form of "job lock" may become less prevalent as employees gain access to more coverage options under the Federal health care reform law, a report published in December 2011 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has concluded.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 4 - April, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 4 - April, 2012

Employers Offer Workers Extra Paid Leave

Recognizing that employees may need time off to deal with unanticipated life events, a survey released in March 2012 by Compdata Surveys showed that a substantial number of companies are offering additional paid leave to workers under special circumstances, such as an illness or a death in the family, or the need to fulfill military or jury duty obligations.


» Read more
Valued Employees Are More Engaged And Loyal

Employees who feel valued at work are much more likely to say they will remain with their current employers than others who do not feel appreciated, and are also motivated to do a good job, according to the results of a 2012 survey released by the American Psychological Association (APA).


» Read more
Executive Incentive Levels Expected To Stabilize In 2012

Amid ongoing economic volatility, shareholders, governance advocates, regulators, and legislators continue to demand pay-for-performance and enhanced disclosure on executive compensation. However, nearly two-thirds of companies expect 2012 annual incentive plans to fund at or above target levels for 2011 performance, according to the results of a new survey released by Mercer, global human resources consultancy firm.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 5 - May, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 5 - May, 2012

Gender Differences In Retirement Planning

While research shows that women are more likely than men to take a cautious and socially engaged approach to retirement planning, women often face more financial challenges than men as a result of their lower earnings, prolonged career breaks, and relative longevity, according to a study published in March 2012 by the BMO Retirement Institute.

» Read more
The Top HR Concerns for 2012 and Beyond

The cost of providing health benefits to employees is the leading human resources (HR) concern of companies in 2012, but over the next several years, employers see attracting and retaining talent as their main challenge, according to an annual survey conducted in December 2011 by HR consultancy, Deloitte, in conjunction with the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.

» Read more
Fewer Employers Offer Health Benefits To Part-Time Workers

Amid uncertainty about the pace of the economic recovery and the impact of the Federal health care reform law, fewer employers are offering health benefits to part-time workers, and companies are increasingly hiring workers on a part-time, rather than a full-time basis, a new study published in March 2012 by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has found.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 6 - June, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 6 - June, 2012

Workers More Confident In Employment Prospects

American employees report feeling increasingly optimistic about the economy, the job market, and their personal employment prospects, according to the results of a monthly survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Randstad, Human Resources services provider.

» Read more
Retiring Baby Boomers Could Lead To Skills Gaps

Concerned about losing vital talent as the Baby Boomers start to retire, U.S. employers are introducing training programs designed to close the skills gaps left by departing workers, as well as employee benefits aimed at retaining and recruiting older workers, the results of a joint poll released by AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) have indicated.

» Read more
Employer Concerns About Health Care Reform Ease Up

The financial impact of the provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) has not been as significant as many employers initially an–ticipated, and the percentage of employers that report plans to drop health care coverage due to the law's mandate has declined over the last two years, according to a survey conducted by the Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH), and co-sponsored by the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) and Business Insurance and Workforce Management magazines.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 7 - July, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 7 - July, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality Of Health Care Reform Legislation

In a 5-4 decision handed down on June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the health care reform legislation of 2010, including the law's controversial "individual mandate," which requires nearly all U.S. residents to have a minimum level of health coverage or pay a penalty starting in 2014, on the grounds that the mandate constitutes a tax.

» Read more
Employees More Skeptical Than Executives About Social Media

While social media are changing how people connect personally and professionally, and are increasingly being embraced as business communication tools by executives, rank-and-file employees appear to be less convinced that social networking helps to build and maintain workplace culture, the results of a survey on core values and beliefs in the workplace conducted by Harris Interactive for Deloitte LLP have suggested.

» Read more
Majority Of Baby Boomers And Gen Xers On Track For Retirement

Partly as a result of increased adoption of auto-enrollment by retirement plan sponsors, more than half of Baby Boomer and Gen X workers are projected to have sufficient income to cover their basic expenses and uninsured health care costs in retirement, according to the results of an analysis conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 8 - August, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 8 - August, 2012

Investment Strategies Alone May Not Provide A Secure Retirement

While crafting a well-balanced investment portfolio can help Americans prepare for retirement, appropriate asset allocation alone may not ensure that households have enough money to live comfortably in retirement unless this approach is combined with other strategies, such as working longer, according to an issue brief published in June 2012 by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

» Read more
Eliminating Health Benefits No Advantage To Employers

For employers, there are no short- or long-term advantages to eliminating group health benefits in favor of paying the penalties for failing to provide coverage that will be levied under the Federal health care reform law starting in 2014, according to a white paper published in July 2012 by Truven Health Analytics.

» Read more
Mobile Technologies Increase Flexibility

As the work day stretches beyond the traditional nine-to-five schedule, the majority of employers in the U.S. and Europe no longer mind if employees come to work late or leave early, but managers are more likely than in the past to expect employees to remain connected to their jobs over the course of the day through mobile technology, a 2012 study by data protection provider, Mozy, has shown.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 9 - September, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 9 - September, 2012

Behavioral Approaches Encourage Retirement Saving

While offering a matching contribution tends to boost the retirement plan participation and contribution rates of workers, the effect is less significant than the impact of nonfinancial behavioral approaches, such as altering the match threshold or adding automatic features, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in July 2012.

» Read more
Social Security Disability Benefits

While efforts to reform entitlements usually focus on changes in Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare, the disability component of Social Security is growing faster than retirement benefits, and is also in need of substantive reforms, an issue brief published in June 2012 by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) has asserted.

» Read more
Small Company Employees Less Likely To Have Benefits

Americans who work for large and medium-sized private industry employers continue to be more likely to have access to employer-provided benefits than those who work for small companies, according to a report on employee benefits in the United States released in July 2012 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 10 - October, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 10 - October, 2012

Workers and Retirement Plan Disclosures

While defined contribution plan participants are starting to receive detailed information about the fees associated with their retirement plans, a majority of employees participating in these plans admit they do not fully read their plan disclosures, and most do not currently know the fees they are paying, a new survey conducted in August 2012 by LIMRA Retirement Research indicated.

» Read more
Work-Life Fit and Job Enjoyment

Even amid ongoing uncertainty in the employment market, work-life fit and enjoying the job are the leading reasons given by workers for why they remain with their current employers, ahead of considerations such as benefits, pay, and a lack of other job opportunities, according to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association (APA).

» Read more
Workers Need New Tier Of Retirement Saving

Without an initiative to create a new tier of retirement saving, levels of pension coverage among private sector workers are unlikely to increase significantly, and many Americans, including those with 401(k) plans, will end their working lives with inadequate retirement income, a study published in September 2012 by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has warned.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 11 - November, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 11 - November, 2012

The Challenge to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Employees

A growing number of companies in the U.S. and worldwide report that they are struggling to attract and retain the high-potential, critical-skill, and top-performing employees they need to remain competitive, even as employees are experiencing high levels of stress in the workplace, according to the findings of a spring 2012 survey conducted by Human Resources consultancy, Towers Watson, and WorldatWork.

» Read more
More Employers Offer Tuition Reimbursement

To meet their own needs for a highly educated workforce, and in response to strong interest among employees in improving their qualifications, a growing number of U.S. employers are now providing tuition reimbursement benefits to their workers, according to a survey released in September 2012 by Compdata Surveys.

» Read more
Raising Default Contribution Rates May Increase Savings

By setting the default rate for contributions to automatic enrollment 401(k) plans at 6%, plan sponsors could significantly increase the likelihood that workers will have a financially secure retirement, a new analysis released in September 2012 by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has indicated.

» Read more

 

+ Volume 55, Issue 12 - December, 2012

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 55, Issue 12 - December, 2012

Retirement Plan Contributions Show Signs of Bouncing Back

As more employers and workers put money into their workplace retirement plans in 2011, and at higher rates than in previous years, there are signs that retirement plans are recovering from the effects of the downturn, according to a survey released by the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) in October 2012.

» Read more
Employers Prepare For State-Based Health Exchanges

As states start to report their plans for establishing health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a study in October 2012 by PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute (HRI) examined the issues of how employers are preparing for the arrival of the exchanges, and what types of individuals are likely to obtain insurance through these exchanges starting in 2014.

» Read more
Employees Advised To Save Aggressively For Retirement

While employee retirement planning behavior appears to have improved slightly over the past year, these gains are being overshadowed by steps back in money management behavior, an issue that raises serious concerns, given that most workers need to save much more aggressively than they are currently to meet their retirement goals, a study released in October 2012 by financial education program provider, Financial Finesse, has warned.

» Read more

 




+ 2011 Newsletter Archive
+ Volume 54, Issue 1 - January, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 1 - January, 2011
Access To A 401(k) Improves Chances Of Adequate Retirement Savings
The percentage of Americans who are at risk of retiring with inadequate savings appears to be declining, and workers who have access to a 401(k) or other defined contribution retirement plan are more likely to achieve retirement income adequacy, according to a recent study by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
» Read more
Companies Can Encourage Women Leaders
While American companies are stepping up their efforts to achieve a diverse workforce, most have yet to develop a clearly defined strategy for the development of women into leadership roles, according to the results of a survey by Mercer in conjunction with Talent Management and Diversity Management magazines.
» Read more
Workers Want Help In Coping With Information Overload
"Information overload" is a widespread and growing problem for whitecollar professionals around the world. Productivity and employee morale may be enhanced if employers provide workers with tools to help them better manage information, according to a study commissioned by workflow solutions provider LexisNexis.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 54, Issue 2 - February, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 2 - February, 2011
New Tax Bill Extends And Enhances Tax Breaks For Small Businesses
Signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 17, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 extends for two years the lower individual income and dividends/capital gains tax rates that had been due to expire at the end of 2010.
» Read more
New Hires Place A High Value On Retirement Benefits
Companies that offer retirement plans to employees, especially in the form of traditional pensions, have an added advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining new employees, according to a 2010 survey of U.S. workers by professional services company Towers Watson.
» Read more
HHS Releases New Guidance On Mini-Med Plans
In response to concerns that some Americans are being offered health plans at work or on the individual market that provide less coverage than they expect, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidance on December 9, 2010 that requires the providers of these plans to give consumers more information about so-called "mini-med" plans.
» Read more
+ Volume 54, Issue 3 - March, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 3 - March, 2011
Promotion Opportunities Can Help Attract Employees
While the potential for career advancement and taking on more challenging roles in an organization is generally considered a key element of a total rewards package, many companies do not communicate these opportunities to prospective employees during the recruitment process, according to a survey conducted by WorldatWork, a human resources nonprofit organization.
» Read more
Trends In Life And Disability Benefits
A majority of both private and public workers receive life insurance benefits from their employers, and around one-third of American employees are eligible to participate in employer-provided short- or long-term disability benefit plans, according to a report published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
» Read more
Gen Y Workers At Risk Of Inadequate Retirement Savings
Due to trends such as rising life expectancy, the phasing out of traditional pension plans, and low rates of participation and saving in defined contribution plans, workers aged 30 and under may be more at risk than previous generations of not having enough savings to cover their financial needs in retirement, according to a study released by human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt.
» Read more
+ Volume 54, Issue 4 - April, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 4 - April, 2011
Small Businesses Anticipate Moderate Recovery In Hiring
Small business managers expect to hire more workers in 2011, but many report that the growth of their organization is hindered by ongoing challenges related to accessing credit, government regulations, and health insurance costs, according to a 2010 survey by recruitment web site CareerBuilder.
» Read more
Women Lag Behind Men In Retirement Savings
Even when they have similar individual and household characteristics, the retirement savings of working women lag behind those of men, but there are signs that younger women are starting to close the gender gap, according to a 2010 report by financial services consultancy LIMRA.
» Read more
Workers Look To Employers For Health Care Guidance
Growing numbers of U.S. workers are turning to their employer and health plan provider for medical and health information, according to an October 2010 survey of employees by the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit association of more than 300 large employers.
» Read more
+ Volume 54, Issue 5 - May, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 5 - May, 2011
Strategies Needed For Managing A Mobile Workforce
Employers increasingly recognize that having a mobile workforce is important for growing their business and maintaining client relationships, but many organizations are still developing strategies for effectively managing employees who are on the road or working from remote locations, as well as for containing the costs of business travel, according to a 2010 report by mobility program provider Runzheimer International.
» Read more
Commitment To Wellness Programs Rises
As companies of all sizes use workplace wellness programs to control health care costs and enhance employee productivity, the commitment to improving employee health appears to be rising among senior management, according to an annual survey by Willis North America's Human Capital Practice.
» Read more
Executive Bonuses For 2010 In Line With Expectations
With the economy showing signs of improving, nearly three-quarters of major companies are paying out executive bonuses for 2010 that are at or above the original targets, and many have raised their performance goals for 2011, according to a 2011 survey by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC.
» Read more
+ Volume 54, Issue 6 - June, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 6 - June, 2011
Retirement Savings Goals Tied To Plan Access
While there is a clear link between having access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan and the retirement savings of individuals, it appears that workers who are likely to have the ability to save seek out employers who offer retirement benefits, according to a study by the Investment Company Institute (ICI) in March 2011.
» Read more
Pay Freezes And Layoffs Decrease
With the economy showing signs of improving, fewer employers report having frozen wage increases, cut employee bonuses, and implemented layoffs in the last six months of 2010 than in the same period of the previous year, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
» Read more
Americans Are Working Longer
As growing numbers of Americans find they need more time on the job to prepare for retirement, the percentage of people aged 55 and older who are still working is rising, with an especially large increase in labor force participation occurring among older women, according to a report published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
» Read more
+ Volume 54, Issue 7 - July, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 7 - July, 2011
Employees Want More Challenging Work
As the economy improves, growing numbers of jobseekers are optimistic about their chances of landing their "dream job," and have a renewed desire to find work that not only pays the bills, but is "inspiring," according to a survey conducted by online recruitment website, Monster.com in April 2011.
» Read more
More Employers Adopt Consumer- Directed Health Plans
The number of Americans covered by consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) grew in 2010, as more employers offered CDHP options to their employees, according to a study released in April 2011 by the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations (AAPPO).
» Read more
Impact Of Fees On 401(k) Saving Plans
Most 401(k) plan participants are interested in planning for retirement, but may not fully understand the fees they pay to their plan providers to maintain their accounts and how fees may affect their retirement savings, according to a February 2011 survey commissioned by the retirement advocacy group, AARP.
» Read more
+ Volume 54, Issue 8 - August, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 8 - August, 2011
Work-Life Balance For Men And Women
Despite the popular assumption that women care more about worklife balance than men, according to a global study by management consulting firms, WFD Consulting and WorldatWork, both genders are more alike than different when it comes to prioritizing career and family.
» Read more
Retirement Planning Strategies For Increased Longevity
According to “The Problem With Living Too Long,” an article published in May 2011 by employee benefits law firm, Drinker Biddle, Americans are living longer, and relying more on 401(k) and other defined contribution plans to finance their retirement.
» Read more
Improving Employee Health Behavior
Simple communication strategies, such as interactive messaging, can “nudge” employees to change their health behaviors, and reduce health care costs for insurance plan sponsors, as reported in a study published in the June 2011 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
» Read more
+ Volume 54, Issue 9 - September, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 9 - September, 2011
Delaying Retirement to Accumulate More Savings
Many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who have not saved enough for retirement intend to keep working past the age of 65 in an effort to boost their retirement income. However, this strategy may not necessarily succeed without participation in a defined contribution plan during those additional years on the job, according to a June 2011 study...
» Read more
Small Businesses Could Benefit From Healthcare Reform
While there has been a significant decline in the number of Americans covered by employer-sponsored health plans over the last decade, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) could help reverse this trend, especially among small businesses and their employees, according to two different 2011 studies...
» Read more
Many Employees Take A Summer "Workation"
According to a 2011 survey conducted by Regus, a workplace solutions provider, for many professionals, taking a complete break from work responsibilities has become a choice of the past, as their smartphones and laptops now keep them tethered to the office.
» Read more
+ Volume 54, Issue 11 - November, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 11 - November, 2011
Workers May Need To Adjust Their Savings Strategies
As many as four out of five American workers may not be adequately prepared for retirement as a result of recent market volatility and reduced retirement plan contribution levels, but most current plan participants should be able to make up for these shortfalls by adjusting their savings strategies, according to a 2011 study released by human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt...
» Read more
Mobile Workers Report Enhanced Productivity
Although growing numbers of professionals are putting in extra hours and staying connected to the office nearly around the clock, many believe that having the flexibility to work wherever and whenever they want enhances their efficiency and productivity, and provides them with a better work-life balance, a quarterly report published by mobility services provider iPass Inc. has revealed...
» Read more
Greater Flexibility May Reduce Absenteeism
While a significant percentage of employees admit to having called in sick to work when they were perfectly healthy, many of these workers say they would not have "played hooky" if their employers had offered them a greater level of flexibility and more paid time off, according to a new global survey on employee absences commissioned by the Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated...
» Read more
+ Volume 54, Issue 12 - December, 2011

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter
Volume 54, Issue 12 - December, 2011
Health Plan Cost Trends Expected To Decline in 2012
Amid signs that the rapid pace of health care inflation could finally be slowing, results of a survey conducted in May and June of 2011 of managed care organizations, health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, and third party administrators released by the Segal Company, an HR consultancy firm, have indicated that medical and prescription drug plan cost trend rates are on track to be lower in 2012 than in 2011, and that the actual cost trend rates for 2010 were the lowest in a decade.
» Read more
More Workers To Manage Their Retirement Accounts
Employees who are enrolled in company-sponsored retirement plans appear to be focusing more on saving for retirement, and are becoming increasingly confident in their ability to manage their retirement accounts, despite a challenging economic climate, according to results from the annual Mercer Workplace Survey conducted by Mercer, an HR consultancy firm, in July 2011.
» Read more
Effective Measures For Company Talent Management Strategies
Companies often overestimate the effectiveness of their talent management programs, largely because they fail to compare the success of their strategies with those of their competitors, according to a study conducted by ADP, an HR outsourcing and benefits solution provider.
» Read more

+ 2010 Newsletter Archive
+ Volume 53, Issue 1 - January, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 1 - January, 2010

Employers Took Action In 2009 To Minimize Health Benefit Costs
 Despite challenging economic conditions, most employers continued to offer health care benefits to employees in 2009 and sought to minimize the cost of coverage, in some cases by moving employees to high-deductible plans, according to the results of an annual survey conducted by human resources consultancy Mercer.
» Read more

Suspended Retirement Plan Matches To Be Restored
 While the economic downturn has had an impact on the ability of employers to continue to offer the same benefits to workers, most sponsors of 401(k) plans have maintained their matching contributions, and many of those companies that have suspended matches plan to restore them over the coming year, according to a survey conducted by the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA).
» Read more

Companies Unprepared For Remote Work
 While most employers are aware that a flu pandemic is possible this winter and have business continuity plans in place, too many businesses have yet to adequately prepare for the possibility that large numbers of employees might have to work remotely for extended periods of time, according to a study by the Telework ExchangeSM, a public-private partnership focused on expanding telework adoption.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 53, Issue 2 - February, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 2 - February, 2010

Assessing The Efficacy Of Wellness Programs
 Companies that sponsor wellness programs designed to lower health care costs and enhance the well-being and productivity of employees should consider conducting a return on investment (ROI) analysis to help them determine whether these initiatives have been effective and to provide them with information about how these programs can be improved, a report published by employee benefits consultancy Milliman has advised.
» Read more

Employers Remain Cautious About Restoring Benefits
While growing numbers of employers report plans to resume hiring, companies remain cautious about raising pay and restoring reductions to benefits made during the economic downturn and may continue to trim benefit packages over the coming year, according to a survey conducted by recruitment website CareerBuilder.
» Read more

Mitigating Stress Is A Step In The Right Direction
As the demand for health care services increases due to higher stress levels among employees, some employers seek to offer programs aimed at boosting worker health and productivity, according to a study released by human resources consultancy Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health, an association representing more than 280 mostly large employers.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 53, Issue 3 - March, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 3 - March, 2010

More Highly Skilled Professionals Are Working From Home
 The trend toward working at home appears to be accelerating, especially among higher earners and well-educated employees, with more than 11 million people working from home by the middle of the last decade, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
» Read more

Presenteeism And The H1N1 Virus
During the peak months of the H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic in 2009, an estimated 26 million American workers became infected with the virus, and as many as 7 million cases may have occurred in the workplace due to "presenteeism", according to a study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
» Read more

"Green" Policies Promote Employee Satisfaction
An employer's commitment to environmentally friendly policies can have a greater impact on worker satisfaction than strong financial performance, according to a study by researchers at the Charlton College of Business, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 53, Issue 4 - April, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 4 - April, 2010

Employers Strive To Lower Health Care Costs
 A growing number of employers are striving to control rising health care costs and help motivate workers to take charge of their health, according to a survey by human resources consultancy Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), a non-profit association of large U.S. employers.
» Read more

Employee Benefits Increase According To Earnings
Besides earning less, workers in low-paid employment have substantially smaller benefit packages than higher-paid workers, and they are less likely to take full advantage of the benefits offered, according to the results of a survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
» Read more

Employer And Employee Priorities In Benefit Planning
As more employers encourage workers to participate in programs designed to reduce benefit costs, an increasing number of employees are getting their financial affairs in order and participating in wellness and disease management programs, according to an annual survey by Deloitte Consulting and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS).
» Read more

 

+ Volume 53, Issue 5 - May, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 53, Issue 5 - May, 2010

HIRE Act Provides Incentives For Hiring And Retaining Workers
 On March 18, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, which was designed to encourage employers to hire and retain workers. The legislation includes an exemption on payroll taxes through the end of 2010.
» Read more

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Becomes Law
On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Patient Protection Act) was signed into law by President Barack Obama. One week later, the President signed into law the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Reconciliation Act), completing reform of the nation‚??s health insurance and delivery systems.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 53, Issue 6 - June, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 53, Issue 5 - May, 2010

More Employees Engaged In Choosing Health Plans
 Despite having been more engaged in selecting their health care benefits during open enrollment for the 2010 plan year than in the past, a majority of employees chose to enroll in health plans similar to those they selected in preceding years, according to a study of the most recent open enrollment period by human resources consultancy Hewitt Associates.
» Read more

Trends In Group Disability Coverage
While many employers continue to offer long-term disability benefits, some companies have lengthened the amount of time a worker with a disability must wait before benefits kick in, according to a recent survey conducted by human resources news website BLR/HR Daily Advisor.
» Read more

Health And Lifetime Health Care Costs
Workers approaching retirement are frequently advised to try to remain as healthy as possible as a means of not only improving their quality of life in retirement, but also reducing their health care expenses. However, the findings of a new study published by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College indicate...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 53, Issue 7 - July, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 53, Issue 7 - July, 2010

Majority Of Workers Have Paid Sick Leave Benefits
 While access to paid sick days varies by occupational group and business size, the majority of U.S. employees are provided paid sick leave by their employers as part of a benefit package to attract and retain workers, according to a national survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
» Read more

Employers Prepare For Health Care Reform Compliance
Since the passage of health care legislation in March, many employers remain uncertain about the impact the new law will have on their health plans, but some anticipate that the cost of providing health care benefits to employees will start to rise as early as next year, according to the results of a survey conducted by human resources consultancy Mercer.
» Read more

Employers Remain Skeptical About 401(k) Automatic Features
Most sponsors of defined contribution retirement plans are familiar with the concepts of automatic enrollment and automatic escalation, but the majority have not yet added these features to their own plans, according to the findings of a survey of 401(k) sponsors commissioned by AARP.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 53, Issue 8 - August, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 53, Issue 8 - August, 2010

Workers Value Employer-Provided Child And Dependent Care Supports
 Workers who can rely on child and dependent care supports provided by their employer are healthier, less stressed, and more productive and engaged in their work than employees without access to these benefits, according to the results of a study released by childcare and work/life solutions provider Bright Horizons.
» Read more

HSA And HRA Assets Growing With Increase In CDHPs
The assets held in employment-based health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) have grown dramatically in recent years, as more employers have started offering workers the option of enrolling in these consumerdriven health plans (CDHPs), according to a study published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
» Read more

Businesses See Growth Ahead But Slow Recovery In Hiring And Benefits
Most chief financial officers (CFOs) at U.S. companies foresee strong business spending and earnings growth over the next 12 months, but a majority report limited plans to hire over the next year and expect wages and benefits to recover more slowly than earnings due to continued difficulties in accessing credit, according to the findings of a survey conducted in June by Duke University and CFO magazine.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 53, Issue 9 - September, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 53, Issue 9 - September, 2010

Employers Creating Strategies For Health Care Legislation Compliance
 As employers assess the impact of the newly enacted health care legislation on their organizations' health care plans and benefit offerings, certain responses and strategies are emerging, including an increasing tendency to review medical benefits for retirees, according to a recent survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP).
» Read more

Corporate Sustainability Considered Critical To Success
An overwhelming majority of corporate chief executive officers (CEOs) predict that sustainability will be critical to the future success of their companies, according to a new study released by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture
» Read more

Trends In Early Retirement Account Withdrawals
Lower-income workers are more likely to see their accrued retirement savings erode due to early withdrawals from their accounts in response to adverse events such as job loss or poor health, or a desire to buy a home, a new study published by the Retirement Policy Program of the Urban Institute has found.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 53, Issue 10 - October, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 53, Issue 10 - October, 2010

Employers Plan Modest Compensation Increases In 2011
 As employers become increasingly concerned about retaining top talent, most are reporting plans to raise salaries modestly in 2011, while continuing to allocate the largest bonuses and base pay increases to key employees and the strongest performers, according to the results of an annual survey on compensation trends by HR consultancy Mercer.
» Read more

COBRA Enrollment Continues Despite End Of Subsidy
Many workers who have lost their jobs are choosing to maintain their employer-provided health care coverage by enrolling in COBRA, despite the high price of this coverage since the Federal subsidy for COBRA benefits ended on June 1, according to an analysis by human resources consultancy Hewitt Associates.
» Read more

Retirement Preparedness Varies Significantly
As life spans increase and health and long-term care costs continue to rise, a significant number of U.S. workers, including those in higher income groups, are at risk of falling short of funds a decade or two into retirement, according to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
» Read more

 

+ Volume 53, Issue 11 - November, 2010

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 53, Issue 11 - November, 2010

New Legislation Provides Tax Breaks To Small Businesses
 Signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 27, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 extends a number of existing tax breaks for small businesses, introduces new provisions designed to stimulate business investment and ease tax burdens on business owners, and offers incentives for 401(k) plan participants to roll over funds to Roth accounts.
» Read more

Mutual Fund Expense Ratios In 401(k) Plans Slightly Higher In 2009
Even as more 401(k) plan participants shifted their investments toward lowercost mutual funds, the average expense ratios for stock and bond funds in 401(k)s were higher in 2009 than in 2008. This is largely due to the decline in the value of the underlying assets, according to an annual report published by the Investment Company Institute (ICI).
» Read more

Employee Tenure Shows Signs Of Increasing
While the length of time workers are staying with their employers appears to have risen over the last two years, a portion of this increase likely reflects job losses among less-senior workers as a result of the economic downturn, according to a report on employee tenure trends by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
» Read more

 


+ 2009 Newsletter Archive
+ Volume 52, Issue 1 - January, 2009

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 1 - January, 2009

New Legislation Includes Mental Health Parity Provisions
 The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA), signed into law on November 20, 2008, contains the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. The new provisions will require health plan sponsors that offer mental health and substance abuse benefits to ensure that these benefits are equivalent to those for physical conditions.
» Read more

Employees Look To Employers For Benefits Information
 Employees of all ages consider the workplace to be their primary source of information about employer-sponsored benefits, but many still do not understand the value of income protection and other types of benefits, according to a survey commissioned by employee benefit provider Unum.
» Read more

Americans Report More Work And Less Play
The combined demands of employers, family responsibilities, and household chores have led Americans to report working more and having less time for leisure activities, according to an annual poll conducted by Harris Interactive.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 52, Issue 2 - February, 2009

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 2 - February, 2009

Employers Took Action In 2009 To Minimize Health Benefit Costs
 Improved communication about the financial performance of the company and job security can help alleviate employee concerns about the impact of the recession on the organization and, potentially, on their own livelihoods, according to a survey conducted by human resources consultancy Watson Wyatt.
» Read more

EAPs Help Employees Cope During Tough Times
 As workers struggle to deal with financial and legal issues, as well as illnesses brought on by stress, the demand for employee assistance programs (EAPs) has grown in recent months, according to a survey conducted by the Employee Assistance Society of North America (EASNA), a trade association for EAP providers.
» Read more

The Evolution Of 401(k) Plan Eligibility Standards
Over the past decade, the percentage of employers allowing newly hired employees to participate in 401(k) and other types of defined contribution retirement plans has grown substantially, but larger companies remain much more likely than smaller businesses to permit participation by new hires and to provide immediate matching and non-matching contributions, according to a study published by the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA).
» Read more

 

+ Volume 52, Issue 3 - March, 2009

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 3 - March, 2009

Congress Expands Children’s Health Insurance Program
 Following a long period of uncertainty about the future of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), President Barack Obama signed legislation on February 4 that expands the program to include millions more children living in low- to middle-income households.
» Read more

Employers Can Lose Valuable Knowledge When Downsizing
 Most companies, including many that have laid off workers in an effort to maintain profitability in a flagging economy, lack a formal strategy for retaining knowledge within the organization, increasing the likelihood that employees who leave take with them information that is critical to the success of the company, according to a study published by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).
» Read more

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Signed Into Law
Effectively nullifying a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision, President Barack Obama signed into law on January 29 the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, named for an Alabama woman who filed a lawsuit against her employer claiming she had been paid less than her male co-workers over the course of her 19-year career.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 52, Issue 4 - April, 2009

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 4 - March, 2009

Stimulus Legislation Affects Employers And Workers
 A sweeping $787 billion stimulus package aimed at reinvigorating the flagging U.S. economy was signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was designed to create jobs, encourage consumer spending, improve essential infrastructure, and strengthen the safety net for Americans affected by the recession.
» Read more

Congress Explores Family-Friendly Workplace Policies
 The House Committee on Education and Labor‚??s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections conducted a hearing on March 3 to explore the issue of whether family-friendly policies‚??such as grants to support state paid leave programs, paid leave, expansions to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and paid sick days‚??make sound economic sense in light of changing market conditions.
» Read more

Obama Announces Health Care Reform Initiative
 At a White House forum dedicated to exploring solutions to the nation‚??s rising health care costs and growing numbers of citizens who lack adequate health insurance, President Barack Obama announced on March 5 that he aims to press Congress to pass major health care reform legislation before the end of the year.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 52, Issue 5 - May, 2009

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 5 - May, 2009

A Benefits Review Can Help Companies Trim Costs
 Employers can respond positively to the current economy by taking action to reduce employee benefit costs, while still boosting the well-being of their workers, according to a report published by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA).
» Read more

Employers Continue To Provide Health Benefits
 Despite their ongoing commitment to providing health care benefits to their employees, a growing number of employers are adjusting their health care strategies and are expressing concerns about their ability to provide insurance coverage moving forward, according to a survey conducted by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) and human resources consultancy Watson Wyatt.
» Read more

Low Financial Literacy Hinders Retirement Planning
 Research indicates that financial literacy rates are low among many groups of Americans, especially the elderly and those with low incomes and educational attainment, according to a study presented in March at a conference on financial literacy sponsored by organizations including the Brookings Institution and the Retirement Security Project.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 52, Issue 6 - June, 2009

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 5 - June, 2009

Public Health Risks Highlight Need For Employer Preparation
 In response to potential public health risks, such as the recent outbreak of swine flu (H1N1 virus), a number of government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), have created PandemicFlu.gov...
» Read more

Employee Access To Wellness Programs Varies
 While many American workers appreciate employer programs that promote a healthy lifestyle, some employees remain skeptical about wellness initiatives, and a significant number of employees continue to have no access to these programs...
» Read more

Workers Lack Plan For Unexpected Disability
 Most Americans who lack disability coverage would have to tap savings, use credit cards, or ask for financial support from family and friends if they could not work because of injury or illness, according to a survey conducted for employee benefits provider Unum by Harris Interactive...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 52, Issue 7 - July, 2009

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 7 - July, 2009

Retirement Plan Sponsors Altering Plan Design
 A growing number of employers are responding to tough economic conditions by making changes to the design and coverage of their retirement plans, according to a survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP).
» Read more

Americans Support Greater Consumer Engagement In Health Care
 A majority of Americans support offering lower health care cost-sharing arrangements to people who follow their treatment programs and participate in programs designed to help them maintain or improve their health, but smaller numbers are in favor of a variety of other proposals designed to encourage greater consumer engagement in health care.
» Read more

More Than One-Third Of Workers Plan No Vacation This Year
 Concerned about money and job security, many Americans are choosing not to go on vacation this year or will remain in contact with their employers,even while on vacation, a survey conducted by recruitment website Careerbuilder.com found.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 52, Issue 8 - August, 2009

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 8 - August, 2009

Economy Causes Slight Decline In Employee Benefits
 While many employers continue to provide generous employee benefit packages, a majority of companies have had to trim or maintain their current benefit offerings in response to the economic downturn, according to an annual survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
» Read more

Workers Are Saving More And Spending Less
 In reaction to the economic downturn, Americans increasingly report saving more of their paychecks in personal savings and retirement accounts, while scaling back spending, reducing credit card debt, and avoiding other types of loans, a survey conducted by Harris Interactive has found.
» Read more

Americans Support Aspects of Health Care Reform
 As the debate over health care reform continues in Washington, research suggests that most Americans tend to support improvements in the U.S. health care system, but are concerned about some aspects of the reform proposals, especially about the possible effects of managed care initiatives on choice of providers and treatment options.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 52, Issue 9 - September, 2009

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 9 - September, 2009

Younger Women Approaching Pay Parity With Men
 While the earnings ratio between men and women in full-time jobs remained at around 80% in 2008, younger women are gaining fast on younger men, with female workers under age 35 taking home 89% of the earnings of their male counterparts, according to a report published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
» Read more

Older Adults More Likely To Have Health Insurance
 Despite a recent decline in the number of employers offering health care benefits to retirees, workers over the age of 55 are more likely than all other non-elderly adult age groups to have health care coverage, according to a report released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
» Read more

Employers Expect To Return Pay And 401(k) Matches
 As the economy shows signs of improving, growing numbers of employers report plans to reverse cuts in salary and retirement plan contributions made during the downturn, a recent survey conducted by human resources consultancy Watson Wyatt found.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 52, Issue 12 - December, 2009

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 12 - December, 2009 Newsletter Archiveve

Small Businesses Poised To Start Hiring
 A significant number of smaller employers indicate that they will start hiring again soon, and a majority of business owners anticipate growth over the coming year, according to a survey conducted by business solutions provider Intuit.
» Read more

Smoking Habits Vary By Occupation
 Rates of smoking vary markedly between different occupational and age groups, as workers in food service industries are more than three times as likely as librarians and teachers to light up, according to a study of cigarette use among full-time employees in the United States.
» Read more

Employees May Need Guidance During Open Enrollment Periods
 Faced with uncertainties about the economy and the future of health care reform legislation, employees may find making decisions about their benefits for 2010 especially challenging, according to a study released by human resources consultancy Hewitt Associates.
» Read more

+ 2008 Newsletter Archive
+ Volume 51, No. 1 - January, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 1 - January, 2008

Cost Of Providing Workers Compensation Benefits Declining
Relative to wages, payments made by U.S. employers for medical care and cash benefits for workers disabled due to workplace injuries or diseases appear to be declining, according to a study of trends in workers compensation benefits released by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), a nonprofit organization that conducts research on social insurance.
» Read more

Paid Time Off Banks Can Reduce Unscheduled Absences
While a growing body of evidence suggests that paid time off (PTO) programs can help to reduce the number of unscheduled employee absences, many employers are reluctant to switch from traditional time off (TTO) benefits to a PTO model, according to a survey conducted by the Alexander Hamilton Institute (AHI), an employment law consultancy.
» Read more

Employers Making Progress In Managing Health Care Costs
Companies that make sustained and comprehensive efforts to better manage the delivery of health care benefits are seeing impressive results when it comes to controlling costs, as indicated by the results of the 2008 “Health Care Cost Survey” conducted by human resources consultancy Towers Perrin.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 51, No. 2 - February, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 2 - February, 2008

Federal Rule Allows Employers To Cut Health Care Benefits For Older Retirees
The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a final rule on December 26, 2007 that wouldallow employers to continue what it calls the longstanding and common practice of providing more generous health care benefits to younger retirees than to retirees 65 and older who qualify for Medicare, without violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
» Read more

Cafeteria Plans Provide Tax Savings And Flexibility
Section 125 “cafeteria plans” can help business owners and employees alike trimconsiderable sums from their tax bills. Under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code, workers are permitted to withhold a portion of their pre-tax salaries to pay for premium contributions to employer-sponsored insurance plans and to cover qualifying unreimbursed medical and depen-dent care expenses.
» Read more

401(k) Reform Needed To Boost Retirement Savings
An examination of the experiences of other countries, especially Australia, may prove useful for U.S. policymakers as they consider ways to improve retirement savings rates among American workers, a white paper released by the nonprofit Retirement Solutions Foundation has suggested.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 51, No. 3 - March, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 3 - March, 2008

Eldercare Programs Can Improve Productivity
Companies that have corporate eldercare programs in place to assist employees in managing their care responsibilities for older family members have seen an improvement in engagement levels among these workers, according to a study released by work/life benefits consultancy, LifeCare Inc.
» Read more

Companies Not Doing Enough To Ease Workplace Stress
 Despite the fact that stress is the most frequently cited reason among U.S. workers for quitting a job, most employers fail to acknowledge the link between employee stress levels and business performance, and relatively few take action to reduce stress in the workplace, a report published by human resources consultancy Watson Wyatt has warned.
» Read more

Lack Of Health Insurance Leads To Late Cancer Diagnosis
 While cancer sufferers in the United States without health insurance are usually able to get treatment eventually, they are significantly more likely than those with private insurance to receive their cancer diagnosis at a more advanced stage of the disease, according to an article by researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS) that appeared in the March issue of the medical journal The Lancet Oncology.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 51, No. 4 - April, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 4 - April, 2008

Bringing Mom Back On The Job After Having A Baby
 Losing experienced, hardworking employees can be costly for your business. So when one of your valued employees announces she is pregnant, do more than just congratulate her‚??think about ways to encourage her to return to work once the baby is born.
» Read more

Cost Of Prescription Drugs Worries Many Americans
 While Americans generally appreciate the potential benefi ts of taking prescription drugs, a majority believe prescription medicines are too expensive, and four in ten have had problems paying for drugs prescribed for themselves or for family members, according to a poll conducted by USA Today, together with the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.
» Read more

Employers Find Group Life Insurance A Key Benefit
 Imagine one of your employees passes away unexpectedly. Just think of the emotional and fi nancial transition his or her family would face. You can see why group life insurance is such a valued benefi t for the spouses and families of your employees.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 51, No. 5 - May, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 5 - May, 2008

Most Workers Support Proposed Modifications To FMLA Rules
 In the wake of a proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to make administering leave easier for employers, results of a recent survey by the National Coalition to Protect Family Leave suggest that a majority of workers support many of the concepts embodied in the rule changes.
» Read more

Senator Proposes Tax-Advantaged Disability Savings Account
 Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) has introduced a bill in the Senate that would enable families with disabled children or other family members to contribute to a tax-advantaged account designed to make it easier for disabled people to maintain their health, independence, and quality of life.
» Read more

Diversity Not Defined In Many Workplaces
 Most employers claim to support diversity in the workplace, but fewer than one-third have formally defined what diversity means, and there is no common language to help companies in managing their diversity initiatives, according to a study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the American Institute for Managing Diversity Inc.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 51, No. 6 - June, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 6 - June, 2008

Workplace Flexibility Programs Need Structure
 While growing numbers of employers are offering employees flexible work arrangements in an effort to attract and retain talent, many companies have yet to put into place the structures necessary for managing and supporting workplace flexibility, a study released by human resources consultancy Hewitt Associates has warned.
» Read more

Older Workers Without Health Insurance Or Traditional Pensions Less Likely To Retire
 Workers over the age of 50 who lack access to affordable health insurance options or a traditional pension are more likely than employees who have these benefits to delay retirement, preferring instead to continue earning an income and remaining covered under their employer‚??s health care plan, a study published by human resources consultancy Watson Wyatt Worldwide has concluded.
» Read more

Benefits Important To Recent College Graduates
 Recent college graduates applying for entry-level positions are placing considerable emphasis on benefits packages, job security, and length of commute when weighing competing job offers, according to an annual survey conducted by networking firm Experience, Inc.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 51, No. 7 - July, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 7 - July, 2008

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Signed Into Law
 The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), a law prohibiting employers and insurers from discriminating against individuals based on information about their genetic predisposition to disease, was signed by President Bush on May 21, 2008.
» Read more

Extra Benefits Help Commuters Cope With High Gas Prices
 Many U.S. employers are responding to the sharp rise in gas prices by offering additional benefits to employees, such as telecommuting, flexible schedules, and higher mileage reimbursements, according to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
» Read more

Benefit Offerings Changed Significantly Over Past 10 Years
 Employee benefit offerings among U.S. employers have shifted substantially over the past decade, with some companies cutting back on their contributions to health care and retirement plans, while workplace flexibility programs show signs of growth, according to the findings of a study released by the Families and Work Institute.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 51, No. 8 - August, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 8 - August, 2008

Enhancements To Long-Term Care Financing Needed As Population Ages
 As the baby boom generation enters retirement age, Congress and policymakers should consider taking action to improve the financing and delivery of long-term care in the United States, a study released by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has recommended.
» Read more

Compensation And Health Care Costs Continue To Climb
 Employee compensation costs averaged$28.46 per hour worked in March 2008, up from $28.11 per hour in December 2007and $27.82 per hour one year previously,in March 2007, according to a quarterly report released by the U.S. Department of Labor‚??s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
» Read more

Minority Women Face Additional Challenges In Saving For Retirement
 In 2006, 11.5% of all women and 6.6% of all men age 65 and over had incomes below the poverty threshold, defined as $10,488 per year or less, the study said. In the same year, however, the poverty rate was 38.5% for single black women in this age group, 41.1% for single Hispanic women, and 16.7% for single white women.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 51, No. 9 - September, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 9 - September, 2008

Wellness Programs Can Boost Employee Engagement
 In addition to lowering health care costs, wellness programs can increase levels of employee engagement and reduce absenteeism, the results of a study released by employee benefits consultancy Maritz have suggested.
» Read more

Employers Looking To Phased Retirement Programs To Retain Workers
 As the threat of talent shortages looms, more employers are considering implementing formal phased retirement programs, according to a study released by human resources consultancy Hewitt Associates.
» Read more

Retirement Savings Needs Greater For More Highly Compensated Employees
 Higher earners need far more income from savings and employer-sponsored pensions in retirement than their lower earning counterparts to maintain their previous standard of living, according to a recent study published by Aon Consulting Worldwide and researchers from Georgia State University.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 51, No. 10 - October, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 10 - October, 2008

Number Of Americans Lacking Health Insurance Down In 2007
 Median income rose slightly, the number of Americans without health insurance coverage declined, and the poverty rate was roughly unchanged in 2007, according to an annual report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.The report, ‚??Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007,‚?Ě was compiled from data collected in the 2008 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC).
» Read more

Employers And Employees Face Challenges In Current Market
 According to two parallel surveys of employees and employers conducted by staffing firm Robert Half International and recruitment website CareerBuilder.com, both workers and the companies that employ them are struggling to keep up in uncertain economic conditions. Employees are worried about finding good jobs,and managers are concerned about hiring qualified people.
» Read more

Higher Gas Prices Have Little Impact On Commuting Habits
Most employees are reacting to higher energy prices by cutting back on consumption and discretionary driving, but relatively few have altered their commutes to and from work to save money on gas, a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the Workforce Institute of human resources software provider Kronos Incorporated indicated.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 52, No. 11 - November, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 52, Issue 11 - November, 2008

Employers Report Mixed Experiences With Health And Wellness Programs
 Employers with onsite health services tend to be highly satisfied with their investment, reporting that employee participation is high and that these programs have contributed significantly to employee health and productivity; however, employers report less satisfaction with other wellness initiatives, according to a survey conducted by human resources consultancy Hewitt Associates.
» Read more

Retirement Plan Rollovers Fuel IRA Asset Growth
 Hitting a record $4.75 trillion, assets held in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) grew 12.5% in 2007, representing the fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth in IRA assets, according to a study published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
» Read more

Health Insurance Must Balance Moral Hazard And Health Security
Health insurance differs from other types of insurance; not only does it protect against catastrophic financial losses, but it also promotes ongoing health security. Policymakers and plan sponsors must consider these disparate priorities when planning their approaches to providing health care coverage to Americans, an issue brief published by the American Academy of Actuaries has recommended.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 51, Issue 12 - December, 2008

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 51, Issue 12 - December, 2008

Employers Adjust To Religious Diversity In The Workplace
 Growing numbers of employers are taking steps to accommodate diverse religious practices among employees, granting workers time off to celebrate religious holidays or allowing flexible schedules that make it easier for employees to engage in prayer or other rituals, according to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
» Read more

Will More Workers Delay Retirement?
 Amid turmoil in the financial markets, many Americans who are currently working are considering delaying retirement, according to a survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP). Yet, a study of retirement ages and disability rates among older men conducted at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College suggests that postponing retirement may not be an option for all categories of workers.
» Read more

Employers Must Convey The Value Of Rewards Programs
At most companies, rewards programs are central to recruitment and retention; however, in order for these programs to be effective, employers must better communicate to employees the value of the benefits provided, according to a study conducted by human resources consultancy the Hay Group, World at Work, and Loyola University Chicago.
» Read more

 


+ 2007 Newsletter Archive
+ Volume 50, No. 1 - January, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 1 - January, 2007

Worker-Friendly Reforms Anticipated As Democrats Take Control Of Congress
As the Democrats take control of both houses of Congress, the minimum wage, health care policy, and tax issues are among their top legis-lative priorities...
» Read more

Employers Support Measures To Provide Health Care Coverage
U.S. employers of all sizes recognize the value of offering health care bene-fits in attracting and retaining workers; however, smaller employers would like coverage to become more affordable, and larger employers want improvements in quality and reductions in administrative costs...
» Read more

Health Insurers Urge Congress To Extend Coverage To The Uninsured
With the goal of providing health care coverage for all children within three years and most adults within a decade, the insurance industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has proposed anexpansion of public health insurance pro-grams and federal subsidies for the purchase of private coverage...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 50, No. 2 - February, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 2 - February, 2007

Employers Can Do More To Help Employees Quit Smoking
Employers must do more than simply ban smoking from the workplace if they want employees to quit the habit for good, the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) concluded in a recently released study of employers' approaches to smoking cessation....
» Read more

Universal Health Care Plan Proposed In Senate
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has unveiled an ambitious plan to provide universal health care coverage for all Americans by requiring individuals to sign up for private insurance equal in quality to the coverage currently available to U.S. Congress members and federal workers...
» Read more

Parents' Concerns About After-School Care Lower Job Productivity
Working moms and dads are less productive on the job when they are worried about what their children are doing in the after-school hours, according to a report by nonprofit research and advisory organization Catalyst...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 50, No. 3 - March, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 3 - March, 2007

President Bush Proposes Changes In Health Insurance Taxation
In his State of the Union address delivered on January 23, President George W. Bush proposed limiting the tax deductibility of employer-sponsored health care benefits, while providing a new tax break for Americans who purchase medical insurance on the individual market...
» Read more

Loss Of Financial Safety Net Worries Workers
Financial stress is increasing among Americans as responsibility for funding retirement and health care shifts from employers and the government to individual workers and their families, according to a study commissioned by MetLife...
» Read more

Governor Announces $12 Billion Plan To Provide Universal Health Care To Californians
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California has unveiled an ambitious plan to provide health insurance to all 36 million residents of the state, including 6.5 million people who are currently uninsured...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 50, No. 4 - April, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 4 - March, 2007

Working Parents Appreciate Emergency Backup Daycare Benefits
More than half of working parents scramble to arrange emergency care for their sick children up to four times a year, and nearly one-third need backup care up to eight times a year, according to a study by employee benefits firm ComPsych...
» Read more

Older Workers Value The FMLA
A majority of workers age 50 and older covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) have taken time off from work to deal with a personal or family medical crisis, and most older workers consider the FMLA to be relevant to their own lives, a study published by AARP concluded...
» Read more

Plan Design Can Improve 401(k) Savings Rates
By making relatively minor and inexpensive changes to the design of defined contribution retirement plans, employers can significantly improve participation and savings rates among employees, according to a recently published study on the behavioral economics of retirement savings habits...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 50, No. 5 - May, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 5 - May, 2007

Workers Remain Confident About Retirement, But Are They Ready?
Today's workers will experience a retirement different in many ways from the post-work years of past generations. While most Americans realize this, many are not adjusting their planning strategies, according to the 2007 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), sponsored by the nonpartisan Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) and survey research firm Matthew Greenwald & Associates ...
» Read more

Couples' Financial Priorities Shift With Age And Income
When talking about money, older and wealthier couples tend to discuss strategies for managing their assets during retirement, while younger and less affluent couples talk more about how they are spending or saving their current income, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the Wall Street Journal Online ...
» Read more

Younger Workers Lack Awareness Of Tax-Advantaged Savings Opportunities
Employees between the ages of 18 and 24 are less likely than older workers to participate in tax-advantaged retirement and health savings plans, but they are more likely than their older colleagues to fault their employers for failing to educate them about taxes, according to a survey conducted by online tax preparation service CCH CompleteTax...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 50, No. 6 - June, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 6 - June, 2007

Long-Term Care Crisis Looms For Baby Boomers And Their Parents
Many members of the baby-boom generation are not preparing adequately for their own potential long-term care requirements or the needs of their elderly parents, according to two recently published research reports...
» Read more

Employer Interest In Wellness Programs Grows
Recognizing that programs designed to help employees manage their health more effectively can boost productivity and lower health care benefit costs, many employers are looking to expand their companies’ wellness initiatives...
» Read more

Current Health Care System Hinders Price Transparency
Medical insurers, providers, and state and federal agencies are increasingly making health care price information available to the general public or to members of specific health plans, according to a recently released report...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 50, No. 7 - July, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 7 - July, 2007

Americans Support A Wide Range Of Health Coverage Options
With health care costs rising, around half of Americans are worried that their families will soon be unable to afford medical insurance or that their employers will make sharp cuts in their health care benefits, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the Wall Street Journal Online’s Health Industry Edition...
» Read more

Workers Need Support In Using Consumer-Driven Health Plans
Many employees who have moved from traditional health plans to consumer-directed account-based health plans (ABHPs) are dissatisfied with their choice, largely because they are not fully aware of how to maximize the tax advantages and savings features of these accounts, according to a survey by professional services firm Towers Perrin...
» Read more

Health Care Costs More Burdensome For Women
Even women who have health insurance often do not obtain the care they need and struggle to pay medical bills, according to a joint report by nonprofit advocacy groups the Commonwealth Fund and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 50, No. 8 - August, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 8 - August, 2007

Health Care Cost Shifting Creates False Economy
Shifting prescription drug and other medical costs to employees is an ineffective means of cutting health care expenditures, and it often discourages employees from seeking treatment essential to health-related productivity, two recently published reports have asserted...
» Read more

Workers And Employers Split On FMLA
Following a request for comments about the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), the Employment Standards Administration/Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released a report summarizing some of the positive and negative experiences workers and employers have had with the law...
» Read more

Health Plan Terminology Confuses Many Workers
The survey of nearly 2,100 participants in employer-sponsored health care plans found that 43% of workers are uncertain about what treatments and services their health care plan covers. When asked if they would feel comfortable explaining specific terms relating to health care coverage to a friend or co-worker, 49% of respondents told researchers they are familiar with the term ‚??co-pay;‚?Ě 46%, with ‚??deductible;‚?Ě 36%, with ‚??flexible spending account;‚?Ě and 35%, with ‚??out-of-pocket maximum.‚?Ě Fewer than one-third of respondents said they would be able to define the terms ‚??lifetime maximum,‚?Ě ‚??health savings account,‚?Ě ‚??coinsurance,‚?Ě ‚??formulary,‚?Ě or ‚??center of excellence‚?Ě...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 50, No. 9 - September, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 9 - September, 2007

Benefits Strategies Must Adapt To Changes In The Workforce
Faced with an array of challenges, including escalating health care costs, an aging workforce, and mounting demand for better work-life balance among employees of all ages, employers should develop benefit strategies and educational tools that will enable them to remain competitive over time, a study on employee benefits trends released by insurance provider Unum and research firm LIMRA International recommended...
» Read more

Half Of Americans Lack Emergency Savings
Fewer than half of Americans have saved the recommended three months’ living expenses to shield them in emergencies, and women are less likely to have a rainy day fund than men, according to a poll conducted by financial website Bankrate.com. ...
» Read more

Working Mothers Increasingly Prefer Part-Time To Full-Time Jobs
While most women with preschool and school-age children want to remain in the workforce, the percentage of mothers who prefer full-time work to part-time positions has declined noticeably over the past decade, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. ...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 50, No. 10 - October, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 10 - October, 2007

Benefit Cost Increases Outpaced Wage Inflation In Second Quarter
Total compensation costs for U.S. civilian workers rose 0.9% between March and June 2007, with benefit costs climbing 1.3% and wages and salaries increasing 0.8%, according to the most recent Employment Cost Index report released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)......
» Read more

Women More Positive About Employers' Work/Life Balance Programs
The perception among women of employers’ efforts to help workers balance their personal and professional lives tends to be more positive than that of men, with the gender gap being especially large among employees of smaller and moderately large companies...
» Read more

Health Care Among Top Issues For Independent Voters
As the 2008 presidential election approaches, Americans who are not aligned with either the Democrats or the Republicans are increasingly citing health care as one of the leading issues likely to influence their voting decisions...
» Read more

 

+ Volume 50, No. 12 - November, 2007

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 50, Issue 12 - November, 2007

Employees Place High Value On Workplace Health Care Benefits As Costs Escalate
Amid growing concerns about the rising cost of health care and the potential barriers to obtaining insurance coverage, workers with access to employment-based health plans appear to value medical benefits above the actual dollar amount that employers contribute to the plans, an annual survey on health confidence conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) revealed.
» Read more

401(k) Plan Sponsors Adding Automated Features
As the trend among employers toward automatically enrolling employees in 401(k) plans gathers momentum, many retirement plan sponsors are also adopting additional automated features designed to help workers prepare more effectively for retirement, a study released by human resources consultancy Hewitt Associates concluded.
» Read more

Paying For Testing In Advance Encourages Preventive Care
A health care plan in which members pay in advance for preventive tests may be more effective in encouraging positive behavior than standard health care plans or plans that pay the insured for attending screenings, according to researchers Dan Ariely and Janet Schwartz of Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Studies.
» Read more

 


+ 2006 Newsletter Archive
+ Volume 49, No. 3 - March, 2006

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 49, Issue 3 - March, 2006  

Bush Proposes New HSA Tax Breaks
Arguing that a consumer-directed approach to health care has the potential for providing more Americans with medical insurance while reining in rapidly escalating costs, President George W. Bush has called for enhancing tax incentives associated with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and other types of consumer-directed plans. Among other proposals, Bush advocates raising the limit on tax-deductible contributions to HSAs and creating new deductions and tax credits for the purchase of individual health insurance policies.
» Read more

Employee Satisfaction With Benefits Correlated To Job Satisfaction
Workers who are happy with their benefit packages are also likely to express satisfaction with their jobs and loyalty to their employers, according to an annual survey on employee benefits trends conducted by MetLife. Moreover, many workers place a high value on workplace relationships and work/life balance when deciding whether to change jobs, the study found.
» Read more

Health Management Programs May Cut Health Care Costs
Employers looking to lower their health care expenditures while improving the health of their employees should consider implementing a ‚??population health management‚?Ě program, Bruce Hochstadt, M.D. and Patricia Curran, R.N. recommended in a two-part paper published by Buck Consultants.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 49, No. 4 - April, 2006

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 49, Issue 4 - April, 2006  

Cancer Leading Cause Of Long-Term Absence From Work
More employees filed long-termdisability claims for cancer than forany other illness in 2005, according toan annual report on disability trendsreleased by insurance providerUnumProvident. Cancer was theleading cause of long-term absencesfrom work for the fifth year in a row,the report said, with breast cancermaking up nearly a quarter of allcancer claims.
» Read more

Congress HoldsHearings OnHealth Care Costs
Two congressional committees heldhearings related to the rising cost ofhealth care in March. The Senate FinanceCommittee invited testimony on issuessurrounding federal health care tax policy,and the House Energy and CommerceCommittee’s Subcommittee on Healthconsidered proposals on improvinghealth care price transparency.
» Read more

Small BusinessHealth Plans BillPasses SenateCommittee
In a move that could mark the end ofa long-running stalemate, the Senate Health,Education, Labor and Pensions Committeevoted on March 15 to allow business andtrade associations to join together acrossstate lines to offer affordable healthinsurance to their employees.
» Read more

 

+ Volume 49, No. 5 - May, 2006

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 49, Issue 5 - May, 2006  

High Costs Discourage Participation In Disease Management Programs
When copayments are levied for participation in disease management programs, patients may underuse recommended services, thereby decreasing the effectiveness of these programs, according to a study published in the March issue of the American Journalof Managed Care.
» Read more

Mental Health Benefits Do Not Add To Cost Of Health Insurance
Expanding mental health and substance abuse insurance benefits may be possible without increasing the overall cost of employer-provided health insurance, according to a study published in the March 30, 2006 issue of The New EnglandJournalof Medicine.
» Read more

Employers Should Encourage Purchase Of Disability Insurance
Because most workers underestimate their chances of becoming disabled, employers should consider sponsoring group disability insurance plans and do more to educate their employees about the need for income protection, a study by The Hartford Financial Services Group recommended.
» Read more

 

 

+ Volume 49, No. 6 - June, 2006

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 49, Issue 6 - June, 2006

Thinking Out Of The Cube: Moving Toward A Mobile Workforce
Until recently, encouraging significant numbers of employees to telecommute did not make good business sense for many employers. That was before the arrival of affordable communication technologies...
» Read more

Workers Increasingly Decline Employer-Provided Health Benefits
Growing numbers of workers are declining an employer‚??s offer of health insurance largely because they cannot afford to pay their share of premiums, according to a study conducted for the Robert Wood Foundation by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota.
» Read more

U.S. Provides Few Guaranteed Benefits To Working Families
Compared with other developed countries, the U.S. relies disproportionately on employers to provide essential benefits to working families and does little to protect the employment rights of younger people, according to a report released by the Project on Global Working Families.
» Read more

 

 

+ Volume 49, No. 7 - July, 2006

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 49, Issue 7 - July, 2006

Employers Charged More For Health Care Due To Low Medicare And Medicaid Payments
Medical providers levy higher charges on private insurers to compensate for low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, adding a cost burden of more than $900 per private family plan per year...
» Read more

Small Employers With Poor Benefits Risk Losing Employees
Employees of small companies are far more likely to express dissatisfaction with their employer-provided benefits than workers at larger companies, which could make it difficult for small businesses to retain valued employees, according to MetLife‚??s annual Employee Benefits Benchmarking Report...
» Read more

Government Panel Advocates Basic Universal Health Care
In an interim report released in June, a committee set up by Congress to gauge public opinion on the current health care system and formulate a plan for achieving reform advocated providing basic universal health care coverage for all Americans by 2012...
» Read more

 

 

+ Volume 49, No. 8 - August, 2006

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 49, Issue 8 - August, 2006

Setting Up A Tax-Advantaged Commuter Benefits Program
For a relatively small investment, employers can help employees reduce their commuting costs while providing them with additional options for traveling to work by implementing a tax-advantaged commuter benefits program...
» Read more

Fewer Americans Planning For Long-Term Care
Americans are less concerned about the financial impact of long-term care (LTC) costs than they were roughly a decade ago, and they are less likely to plan for the possibility that they may require care, according to a survey..
» Read more

Adult Care Responsibilities Costly for Employers
Employees with adult caregiving responsibilities may be frequently absent from work or even leave their jobs, resulting in a productivity loss for employers that could be as high as $33.6 billion a year, according to a Metlife Mature Market Institute study...
» Read more

 

 

+ Volume 49, No. 11 - November, 2006

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 49, Issue 11 - November, 2006

House Committee Approves HSA Reform Legislation
The House Ways and Means Com-mittee approved in September the Health Opportunity Patient Empower-ment Act of 2006 (H.R. 6134), a measure that would raise the limit on employee and employer contributions to tax-advantaged health savings accounts (HSAs), allow tax-free rollovers from other tax-advantaged savings accounts to HSAs, and provide incentives for employees to enroll in HSAs...
» Read more

More Women Buy Supplemental Insurance
Purchasers of supplemental insurance products, such as disability and critical illness policies, are overwhelmingly female and middle-aged, according to a study by disability insurance provider UnumProvident..
» Read more

Employees Worry About Health Benefit Reductions
Faced with rapidly escalating medical costs and increasingly complex insurance plans, most employees are concerned about health care affordability and reduc-tions in health benefits; furthermore, they want assistance from their employers in managing health care, according to two recently published surveys...
» Read more

 

 

+ Volume 49, No. 12 - December, 2006

Employee Benefits 

Newsletter

Volume 49, Issue 12 - December, 2006

Wal-Mart‚??s $4 Generic Drug Program Could Force Lower Prices
The recent rollout by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of a discount generic pre-scription drug program appears to be placing pressure on drugstores and other retailers to lower generic drug prices...
» Read more

Automatic 401(k)Enrollment Not A Panacea For Low Savings Rates
Automatically enrolling employees in 401(k) plans is effective in increasing over-all participation rates, but many enrolled workers will still fail to save adequately for retirement unless 401(k) sponsors improve default contribution rates...
» Read more

Rising Costs Fuel Discontent With Health Care System
Americans are increasingly worried about the impact of health care costs on their financial well-being, and they believe steps should be taken to slow the rising cost of medical care, according to an an-nual survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)...
» Read more

 

 



 

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