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Benefits news you may have missed: April 27-May 1

From the financial health stress to increase flexible work schedules, here are some of the top stories for HR and benefits leaders.
By: | May 1, 2020 • 3 min read

Financial health is workers’ biggest wellness concern. Financial health is employees’ biggest wellness concern in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and most are looking to their employers for help. That’s according to new research from MetLife, which found that 52% of U.S. employees say finances are their biggest concern, more than any other aspect of their wellbeing, including physical (44%), mental (44%) and social health (44%). Read more here.

401(k) balances plunge due to coronavirus. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a big hit on employees’ 401(k) savings. Average 401(k) balances dropped 19% during the first quarter, according to analysis from financial services firm Fidelity Investments, which handles more than 30 million retirement accounts. The average balance now sits at $91,000, down from a record high of $112,300 in last year’s fourth quarter. Read more here.

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5 coronavirus lessons from Ally Financial’s CHRO. The Detroit-based bank’s Kathie Patterson spoke to HRE about how she’s handling the coronavirus pandemic, how the firm is relying on benefits to help employees and lessons she’s learned so far. Read more here.

Employers falling short on benefits support. Nearly half of workers say their employer is not offering programs or benefits that improve their wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic, according to MetLife research. The findings indicate that vast improvement is needed. Read more here.

Employers turn to flexible schedules to help workers. The large majority of U.S. employers say they are offering flexible working hours for employees with kids in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey of approximately 1,400 employers from consulting firm Aon. Doing so, experts attest, can improve employee productivity, morale and overall wellbeing—important during trying times. Read more here.

Employers rolling out special mental health programs. More than half of the 256 employers surveyed by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions reported providing special emotional and mental health programs for their workforce due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A look at what the stats mean for HR leaders. Read more here.

Coronavirus resource spotlight: Virgin Pulse’s wellbeing hub. A look into the health and wellness company’s new site that provides free resources to help employees manage key areas of wellbeing during the pandemic. Read more here.

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Celebrating Take Our Kids to Work Day in the era of COVID. With millions of Americans working remotely, employers are finding creative ways to mark the annual event. Read more here.

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s 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. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.

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