Benefits news you may have missed: Jan. 11-15

From how one retailer is encouraging its workers to get a COVID vaccine to the most-coveted employee benefits, here are some of the week’s top stories.
By: | January 15, 2021 • 3 min read

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

This retailer will pay workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine: Dollar General is offering its workers an incentive for getting the COVID-19 vaccine: an extra four hours of pay. It’s one of the first announcements from a major employer about how they are encouraging employees to get vaccinated in the midst of the raging pandemic. Read more here.

Employers deciding if they’ll require COVID-19 vaccines: Employers are in the midst of considering if they’ll require their workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. A new survey of 211 business and talent leaders from human capital research firm i4cp finds that most organizations (41%) say they are still deciding whether they will mandate COVID-19 vaccination for their employees. Just 5% say they will require employees to get the vaccine, while 39% say they won’t. Another 11% say they don’t know yet. Read more here.

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TIAA offering employees at-home COVID testing: In the wake of soaring COVID-19 rates and the deadliest season in the pandemic, TIAA is offering all of its U.S.-based employees at-home COVID testing. The financial services firm is giving some 14,000 employees access to at-home COVID-19 testing, at no cost to them. Through TIAA’s partnership with Premise Health, a workplace health and patient engagement company, individuals can request an at-home COVID test, administer it themselves and submit the results to a lab for processing. Afterward, they can schedule a virtual visit with a physician to discuss their result, also free of charge. Read more here.

These are the benefits employees want most: What do workers want most from their employers in 2021? Above everything, they’re looking for time away from work. Paid time off, flexibility/remote working options and paid family leave are the top non-insurance benefits employees want, according to a new survey of 1,500 U.S. workers by benefits provider Unum. The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company gave survey participants a list of 16 perks—which were non-insurance benefits—and asked them to choose their top three options. Read more here.


Mayer: 7 benefit trends to watch in 2021: One of the most significant years in our history is behind us. But despite the calendar change, COVID-19 and its associated effects are still the main topic in HR departments around the country, affecting every component of the workplace. The pandemic undoubtedly reshaped the benefits industry in 2020, teaching us important lessons along the way. But what’s ahead for the coming year? Considering the many employee challenges the pandemic helped to expose, as well as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, plenty. Here are seven of the biggest health and benefit trends I expect to define the year ahead. Read more here.

What can HR, employers expect from a Biden administration agenda? After Democrats swept the critical Senate races in Georgia earlier this month, it became even more certain that the next four years will present employers with a much different White House policy agenda. Read more here.

Wellbeing is a higher priority for HR pros: Significantly more HR and benefits professionals are focusing on employee health and wellbeing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey of 300 benefits leaders at companies with 5,000 or more employees by Artemis Health, a data analytics company. Read more here.

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How 4 HR leaders think benefits will change in 2021: Amid all of the shifts the coronavirus pandemic ushered in over the last year, the rising importance of employee benefits—as a tool to enhance recruitment and retention, as well as build organizational culture—was among one of the most universal. From childcare assistance to new options for virtual care, employers stepped up to the plate in the last year to meet the rapidly changing benefits needs of their workforces. 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.