Benefits news you may have missed: Jan. 18-22

No. 1 way to encourage workers to get COVID-19 vaccine? Education: As COVID-19 vaccines are being phased out to people all over the country, employers are left pondering how they can encourage workers to get vaccinated. What’s the best course of action? It comes down to a robust communication strategy. “The communication strategy you have behind this will make or break the success of the vaccine,” Ali Payne, organizational consultant at brokerage firm Holmes Murphy, said during a webinar about COVID-19 vaccine considerations for the workplace. Read more here.

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Why an employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate could spark backlash: Desperate to get employees to buy into the COVID-19 vaccines so they can get back to business, employers are mulling whether or not to require their workers to get vaccinated against coronavirus. But new data shows that it could be problematic if they do. 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.

How Biden’s first executive actions will affect HR: President Joe Biden marked his first day in office Wednesday by signing 17 executive actions–some of which will affect the workplace and how HR leaders do their job. Read more here.

What Unum’s new caregiving benefit says about employer priorities: Unum is joining a growing number of employers taking aim at employees’ caregiving challenges with a new benefit. The company just rolled out a new benefit providing five consecutive business days of paid leave for employees who need time away from work to care for a spouse, child or parent due to a serious health condition. Full- or part-time employees who have been employed with Unum for at least a year are eligible to use the benefit, the benefits firm says. Read more here.

COVID-19 is spurring employees to get mental health help: Nearly half of some 2,000 adults say they have considered getting mental health treatment because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey from Vida Health. Meanwhile, the vast majority of those polled (88%) say they’ve experienced at least one of the symptoms that medical professionals use to assess mental health disorders, such as having little interest or pleasure in doing things (52%), having trouble falling or staying asleep (52%) and feeling down, depressed or hopeless (51%). Read more here.

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Wellbeing, ‘courageous conversations’ at the heart of this CHRO’s strategy: Ayana Champagne of Ferring Pharmaceuticals says the recent HR challenges have refocused the company’s investment in its people. 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.