Benefits news you may have missed: April 12-16

Still weighing vaccine incentives? Here’s how 12 employers are encouraging shots: COVID-19 vaccination is vital to end the pandemic, but it’s not proving to be an easy task. Although vaccines are here and are becoming more widely available, skepticism and hesitation still surround the shots, and scores of Americans say they do not plan on getting vaccinated. That’s where employers come in. While the Employment Opportunity Commission in December announced employers can require that employees get vaccinated as a condition of going to work–with some accommodation requests–most organizations have said they will not require workers to get vaccinated, but instead encourage them to do so. In recent months, a number of employers have announced plans, incentives, education efforts and more in an effort to encourage their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Here’s a look at 12 employers’ plans surrounding the vaccines. Read more here.

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How Joan Lunden became a caregiving advocate: For many working moms, starting a new job just weeks after having their first child would be a logistical nightmare. But for Joan Lunden, the situation was made easier thanks to her employer, ABC, which in 1980 recognized it needed to help Lunden’s new caregiving reality as she became the latest host of Good Morning America. “I was fortunate,” says Lunden, who will keynote the upcoming Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. “I worked for a company that not only gave me time off when my daughters were born, but when I returned to work, I was privileged to be one of the first working women in this country to be allowed to bring my infant daughter to work with me.” Lunden will speak about her caregiving journey–and why employers should help caregiving employees–at HRE’s conference May 11. Read more here.

To find out more about employers’ vaccine strategies, and Joan Lunden’s caregiving journey, attend HRE’s upcoming virtual health and benefits conference May 11-13. Register for free here.

How Aon is upping the ante to encourage COVID vaccines: As an incentive to encourage workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a handful of employers are offering workers a few hours of paid time off for inoculation–but Aon is significantly upping the ante. The professional services firm is offering its 50,000 employees two days of paid time off for each injection, Aon tells HRE. Read more here.

Employees say mental health issues are their biggest wellbeing concern: About six in 10 workers report stress and burnout is their top wellbeing concern at work, according to a survey of more than 1,100 U.S. workers from The Conference Board. Despite these concerns, the Conference Board survey reveals that participation in programs that could boost employee mental health actually decreased during the pandemic. The use of mental health resources and employee assistance programs, for instance, dropped 4% during the pandemic. Read more here.

Mayer: 5 ways COVID-19 has changed benefits–forever: It’s amazing how fast time can fly in a pandemic. With more than a year of COVID-19 under our belts, we’ve seen unprecedented change in the workplace–and transformation in the area of employee benefits is no exception. The crisis has not only significantly shifted how companies look at and craft their benefits, but it has changed the way they communicate about their offerings and respond to workers’ needs. And what is perhaps most interesting of all is just what kind of a long-term impact this will have going forward. Here are five ways COVID-19 has reshaped benefits during the pandemic–and beyond. Read more here.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.