Benefits news you may have missed: Aug. 30-Sept. 3

Burnout is soaring. Here are 7 ways employers can help: A year and a half into the pandemic, things aren’t getting easier for employees. Mental health notably has worsened over the course of the pandemic, with rates of depression, anxiety, stress and post-traumatic stress disorder increasing exponentially. But after well over a year of COVID-19 and its associated challenges, burnout, in particular, may be the biggest problem now facing employers. Here are seven strategies that HR leaders and other experts say can help to combat burnout. Read more here.

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Surcharges for the unvaccinated: Will employer interest grow? Growing more desperate to boost vaccination rates among their employees, employers are moving away from the carrots and now turning to the sticks. More employers are considering hitting unvaccinated employees with healthcare coverage surcharges as the Delta variant wreaks havoc nationwide, consultants tell HRE. Read more here.

Vaccine mandates are growing. Here’s how employees feel: With fears mounting over the rapid spread of the Delta variant across the country, COVID-19 vaccine mandates among employers are growing. Companies including Walmart, Microsoft, Disney and Tyson Foods recently announced they are requiring their workers to get inoculated against COVID-19. And although the mandates have proved polarizing, with many employers still leery about requiring inoculation, new data indicates that employer vaccine requirements have a majority backing from employees. Read more here.

Employee anxiety is rising in the midst of COVID surge: Americans are not coping well with the recent COVID-19 surge, according to the latest Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition. In addition to a sharp increase in employee anxiety, incidence of PTSD risk for all workers is up 83% when compared to pre-pandemic levels and has skyrocketed 61% over the past six months. Here’s what the data means to HR leaders. Read more here.

What role do culture and morale play in vaccine mandates? In recent weeks, scores of employers have announced vaccine mandates, with experts forecasting many more are to come in the wake of the FDA approving the Pfizer vaccine and the ongoing spread of the Delta variant. A new survey from law firm Littler Mendelson likewise found increasing interest in vaccine mandates but highlighted a host of issues still weighing on the minds of employers hesitant to take that step. Read more here.

The overlooked game-changer of the COVID-era workplace: As business experts spin through endless conversations about on-site, remote and hybrid work model options, we are collectively overlooking one glaring and game-changing matter: wellness. Not the surface wellness of whether someone has been vaccinated or not, and whether the Delta variant poses risks for returning to work on-site, but rather, the deeper consideration of what it takes to cultivate robust health–the kind that can withstand the threat of disease altogether. Read more here.

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These employers are requiring COVID-19 vaccines: After months of encouraging employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with education campaigns, reminders, paid time off and more, many employers are taking the next step: requiring all or some of their workers to get inoculated. Here are some employers that recently have announced vaccination mandates for their employees. 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.