Benefits news you may have missed: April 26-30

Will Biden’s support push more employers to offer PTO for shots? President Biden’s call on employers to give their workers paid time off for getting vaccinated against COVID-19 may boost already-rising rates of employer vaccine incentives, industry experts say. Biden last week urged organizations to “give employees the time off they need–with pay–to get vaccinated and any time they need–with pay–to recover if they’re feeling under the weather after the shot,” while also announcing a tax credit to help smaller companies do so. Insiders predict Biden’s push will likely spur more employers to offer workers paid time off for inoculations, which in turn could help boost vaccination numbers. Read more here.

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Requiring employees to return to the office? Get ready for them to quit: Employers considering bringing their employees back into the office might want to reconsider. A whopping 58% of workers say they would “absolutely” look for a new job if they weren’t allowed to continue working remotely in their current position, new data finds. According to FlexJobs, which surveyed more than 2,100 people who have been working remotely during the pandemic, 31% aren’t sure what they would do and only 11% say not being able to continue working remotely is not a big deal to them. Read more here.

Learn more about the latest trends in employee benefits, and hear insights into what the industry can expect, during HRE’s Health & Benefits Leadership Conference, May 11-13. Register for the free, virtual event here.

Employee anxiety about returning to the office is sky-high. Now what? Employee anxiety about returning to the workplace is soaring, a new study finds–research that may give employers pause regarding their back to office plans. Data out Tuesday from Limeade finds that a shocking 100% of employees surveyed are anxious about returning to the workplace, citing concerns over exposure to COVID-19, less flexibility and commuting to work. Read more here.

4 strategies to support employee wellness in the changed workplace: When the world changed in 2020 and employees rapidly became remote workers, no one could have predicted how long it would last. Likely many employers and employees expected they’d be back in the office and to their regular routines within a few weeks. As the pandemic settled in, however, organizations around the world reached for a playbook that did not exist. What leaders needed was one that could offer help in navigating this new terrain while fostering a supportive, safe, productive and inclusive workplace. Read more here.

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Benefits expert: These changes are on the horizon under Biden: Three months into the new Biden administration, predictions about shifts in federal positions on healthcare and benefits policy are starting to materialize, although employers are certainly still awaiting federal movement on a number of hot-button issues that could affect their benefits strategies. Jim Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, will delve more into the pressing questions facing benefits and HR leaders during his keynote at the upcoming Health & Benefits Leadership Conference, a free, virtual event May 11-13. Read more here.

Employers turn to PTO for COVID-19 vaccination: More than four in 10 employers are offering paid time off for employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to research from human capital research firm i4cp. The survey findings–from March–point to growing interest in paid time off policies in regard to COVID-19 vaccination. It’s likely that the percentage of employers that offer paid time off for vaccination will grow in the coming weeks, especially with President Biden urging employers to do so. Read more here.

Why financial education is good–but action is so much better: As employers expanded benefits this past year to help struggling employees manage the impacts of the pandemic, they also started looking more holistically at the needs of their workforce–shedding light on how integral financial wellness is to the overall benefits picture. Pandemic-driven job losses hit Americans hard, illuminating the reality that many Americans are not on strong financial footing, says Melissa Gopnik, senior vice president at Commonwealth, who will speak on the topic during the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference, a free, virtual event running May 11-13. 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.