Benefits news you may have missed: April 6-10

From the cost of coronavirus-related leave to a personal perspective on remote work, here are some of the top stories for HR and benefits leaders.
By: | April 10, 2020 • 2 min read

Coronavirus-related paid employer leave could top $23 billion: Lost time from work due to COVID-19 could cost employers more than $23 billion in benefits for absent workers, impacting up to 5.6 million employees, new research finds. The staggering figure comes from the Integrated Benefits Institute, which assessed potential sick leave wages, short-term disability payments and spending on employee benefits for absent workers. IBI used employment, wage and leave benefit data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and lost workday experiences contained in IBI’s dataset of employer-sponsored STD claims to model lost work time impacts for low-, mid- and high-range scenarios depending on the total COVID-19 cases across the country. Read more here.

Nearly half of Americans say the coronavirus pandemic has harmed their mental health: A tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, conducted March 25-30, finds that nearly half of Americans polled say the pandemic has harmed their mental health—and 19% say it has had a “major impact.” Those challenges are shining a light on employers’ mental health programs and benefits, and causing more HR and benefits leaders to quickly expand, roll out or communicate existing mental health benefits, apps and other resources in an effort to help employees. Read more here.

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I’m a remote worker. Here’s what I want HR leaders to know. Whether it’s during a pandemic or when work gets back to normal, the biggest way to ensure successful implementation of remote work is for employers—managers and HR leaders among them—to offer the right support, give employees flexibility, create a culture of trust and be compassionate. These things are always important, but all the more so now in a world that is so upended. Read more here.

Benefits companies offer free resources during coronavirus: From fitness videos and meditation apps to financial wellness and mental health help, a slew of benefits and health firms are rolling out and extending resources to aid employers and employees during the pandemic. A breakdown of some of the services being offered by benefits firms. Read more here.

Staffing firm Aquent extends paid sick leave to gig workers: Staffing firm Aquent is extending paid sick leave to all of its workers—including gig and temp workers that it places at big clients like Apple, Facebook and Disney—as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 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.