Benefits news you may have missed: July 13-17

From virtual camps as a pandemic benefit to a look at whether telehealth will continue after COVID-19, here are some of the week’s top stories.
By: | July 17, 2020 • 4 min read

Sun Life is latest employer to roll out virtual summer camp: Another employer is launching a family-friendly pandemic benefit: a virtual camp to help employees entertain their children. Financial services firm Sun Life U.S. said this week that in the absence of most summer-camp and daycare options, it’s partnering with Boston Children’s Museum to give its employees access to a virtual summer program. Read more here.

Why health needs to be HR’s No. 1 priority amid return-to-work plans: HR executives should be the leaders in transitioning employees back to the workplace, Virgin Pulse CEO says. Here’s how they can best do that. Read more here.

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Employers consider dropping insurance benefits: Approximately 4% of employers have already dropped an insurance benefit as a result of COVID-19 and 16% are considering doing so, according to new LIMRA research. Kimberly Landry, assistant research director, workplace benefits research at LIMRA, says that while most companies are “hoping to avoid benefit reductions” as much as possible, though the lingering pandemic and associated economic impacts may cause more to do so. Read more here.

Will telehealth continue post-pandemic? COVID-19 is driving an increase in telemedicine as many patients avoid office visits. But how efficient and effective is telehealth? And will it continue post-pandemic? Read more here.

HBLC speaker proposals deadline extended: The Health and Benefits Leadership Conference request for proposal deadline is being extended. Speakers now have until Aug. 3 to submit a proposal to present at the annual benefits conference, which is scheduled for April 7-9, 2021, in Las Vegas. Read more here.

What to do when workers won’t take their vacation: With unused PTO an accounting liability, employers may need to get creative to urge their workers to take vacation this year. Read more here.

‘Virtual wellbeing is here to stay’: With employees stuck at home due to the pandemic—far away from onsite fitness centers at their workplaces, and avoiding the gyms they used to frequent—a growing number of employers are turning to virtual fitness options to help workers stay fit. Read more here.

Coronavirus resource spotlight: Virgin Pulse’s return to work service: A look at the health company’s tool for employers, which combines live health coaching, screening, monitoring, analytics and more. Read more here.

‘Pandemic has led to a reset’ for employers: HR leaders are committing to more wellbeing efforts, especially mental and financial health help, says Willis Towers Watson leader. Read more here.

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Why workplace mental health must reach beyond yoga: Workplace mental health has been broadly applied to include anything from in-office puppies to group yoga classes to meditation apps. While these tools can all help people feel better, whether they are really serving the on-the-ground mental health needs of their employees remains a question. Read more here.

Employers invest in workplace giving programs: Employers are investing in workplace giving programs to help increase morale and improve employee retention, new research finds. 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.