Benefits news you may have missed: July 26-30

Will new federal mask guidelines revive workplace mandates? The worsening Delta variant and rising COVID-19 cases have prompted a recent shift on mask-wearing: Some places, including Los Angeles County, have re-implemented indoor mask mandates, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention this week changed its guidance to recommend that some vaccinated people wear masks indoors–a reversal from previous guidance that said vaccinated individuals can shed masks. Now it’s likely that a shift in employer mask guidance will follow as well. Read more here.

How employers are reacting to growing Delta variant threat: Amid less-than-stellar vaccination rates and the growing threat of the Delta variant–which is more transmissible and potentially more deadly than the original strand–President Biden on Thursday announced that federal employees will need to get vaccinated or face regular testing for COVID-19. Meanwhile, Google and Facebook both announced Wednesday they are requiring U.S. employees to be vaccinated to return to work. The moves are a significant signal that employer vaccine policies are changing as the Delta variant rapidly spreads and poses major risks for an end to the pandemic. Read more here.

Report: Employees are worrying about the Delta variant: According to a poll from ComPsych, a behavioral health provider, the Delta variant is now employees’ most pressing concern about returning to work. When asked about their biggest worry, the vast majority of employees (50%) cited the rapidly spreading COVID-19 strand and getting sick from it. Here’s what that means for HR leaders. Read more here.

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Inside one startup’s benefits strategy: Tech startup Podium is taking aim at burnout–and trying to retain talent–with a host of offerings designed to support and unite workers. From an annual weeklong summer reset to a new onsite childcare center, the firm’s senior director of people operations talks strategy. Read more here.

Are you innovating with benefits? Submit to speak at our 2022 conference: The deadline to submit a speaking proposal for next year’s Health and Benefits Leadership Conference is being extended. Speakers now have until July 30 to submit a proposal to present at the annual benefits conference, which is scheduled for April 5-7, 2022, in Las Vegas. Read more here.

Working parents say their employers aren’t helping enough: The majority of working parents say childcare struggles have hindered their work and forced them to take on fewer responsibilities, according to a survey of 500 U.S. working professional parents from Vivvi, a childcare and education provider. Here’s what that means for HR leaders. 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.