Benefits news you may have missed: Dec. 14-18

4 takeaways for HR from the EEOC guidance on COVID-19 vaccines: With the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine being administered in America, employers are wondering what their role is when it comes to vaccination and what they can and can’t do. Now they have some clarification, as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission this week released guidance for organizations and the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are some highlights of the guidance, published Wednesday. Read more here.

Many employees unwilling, unsure about getting COVID-19 vaccines: A new survey is shedding light on the large number of employees who are reluctant to get vaccinated against COVID-19, reinforcing the challenge that company leaders face when it comes to promoting the vaccine to their workforce. Nearly a quarter (24%) of employees say they will not get the vaccine, according to a new survey of more than 2,000 employees from the Employee Benefit Research Institute and independent research firm Greenwald Research. Nine percent say it depends, and 12% are still unsure about their vaccination decision. Overall, just over half (55%) say they are willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Read more here.

HSAs, FSAs and 401(k)s: 11 figures to know for 2021: From a planning standpoint, the beginning of the year is important for employers in many ways. It also marks a new beginning for certain benefit components–including several account limits set by the IRS. The IRS announced 2021 changes to health savings accounts back in May, but only recently announced annual changes to flexible savings accounts and 401(k)s. From contribution limits to out-of-pocket amounts, here are 11 figures employers need to know–all of which take effect in January. Read more here.

COVID is driving employees to make benefit changes this year: Open enrollment has been a heavy lift for employers this year, as many HR and benefits leaders have ramped up efforts to engage and encourage employees to pay attention to offerings during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. But the good news is that employees, too, are taking the annual benefits period more seriously in the midst of COVID-19. Employees are generally spending more time reviewing their options, choosing new insurance benefits and increasing their coverage due to COVID-19, according to research from benefits provider Unum. Read more here.

Half of Americans think employers should mandate COVID vaccines: More than half of Americans think employers should require non-remote employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new survey of 2,000 adults from Sykes, an outsourcing firm. Read more here.

1-in-4 workers’ finances have deteriorated due to COVID: It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt employee financial wellness. Despite gains in the stock market in recent months, many employees say they will be delaying retirement plans. As many as one in four employees say their financial situations have deteriorated because of the pandemic, according to Willis Towers Watson. Read more here.

Most workers are feeling burned out; 4 ways HR can help: If there was even a scintilla of doubt that the ongoing pandemic is increasing burnout among American workers, a recent survey has put an end to any speculation. Burnout Nation, an online survey of 1,136 employed U.S. adults, found a dramatic majority–76%–of survey participants are experiencing worker burnout. Read more here.

Mayer: 5 lessons we learned about benefits in 2020: COVID-19 is perhaps the most important time ever for benefits. It’s not a rehearsal. This is the real make-it-or-break-it for employers and their strategies. It’s the bar you will set for your legacy. While there is a lot we can say about what this year has meant for the benefits industry, here are five of the biggest lessons we’ve learned in 2020. 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.