Benefits news you may have missed: Feb. 15-19

Employees’ retirement savings hit record highs: Despite economic uncertainty and financial stress caused by COVID-19, employees are contributing to their retirement accounts at a record pace–and their balances have hit a high too. The average quarterly savings rate for 403(b) accounts was 7.3% while the savings rate for 401(k) accounts reached 9.1%, both record levels, according to new figures from Fidelity Investments. Read more here.

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Why many employers are turning to incentives to boost vaccination rates: More employers are offering incentives to encourage workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as industry experts say enticements can be a powerful tool to boost inoculation numbers. Read more here.

Most employers unlikely to mandate vaccinations: Most employers don’t intend to require COVID-19 vaccination among their employees and plan instead to encourage inoculation through education, incentives and more. That finding comes from two new surveys that gauge employers’ COVID-19 vaccination plans. Read more here.

Health and Benefits Leadership Conference will be virtual, free: HRE’s Health and Benefits Leadership Conference, which originally was slated to be held in April in Las Vegas, will be held online May 11-13 due to the ongoing pandemic. Registration is now open and the event is free to attend. The event will go in-depth on how organizations are responding to COVID-19. Read more here.

Employees don’t understand their benefits: More than one-third of workers don’t understand the benefits they selected during enrollment, according to a new survey from Voya Financial. Here’s what that means for HR leaders. Read more here.

Mayer: Don’t have a COVID-19 vaccine strategy? It’s time to make one: One big vaccine complication: Organizations, key in many ways to the success of the vaccines, are slow to implement a COVID-19 vaccine strategy. Many have yet to decide how or if they will encourage employees to get inoculated, if they’ll provide incentives for them to do so or if they’ll go further and require vaccination among workers. That’s a problem. 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.