Benefits news you may have missed: June 1-4

From what new EEOC vaccine guidance means for HR leaders to SAP’s new flexible work policy, here are some of this week’s top stories.
By: | June 4, 2021

What new EEOC vaccine incentive guidance means for HR leaders: Employers can officially offer their workers incentives for getting vaccinated against COVID-19, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said, guidance that will likely spur more companies to turn to rewards to boost vaccination rates. Read more here.

Why SAP is embracing flexible work for its 100K employees: Throughout the pandemic, software giant SAP has regularly surveyed its employees, asking how they’re feeling and what they’re struggling with during COVID-19—and what the company can do to help. The employee surveys have fueled important feedback and resulted in companywide changes, such as implementing a mental health day. Now, employee feedback about the popularity of working from home has resulted in another change: a flexible working policy for all of its 100,000 workers going forward. Read more here.

Employers say they have a tentative date to bring workers back: The vast majority of employers have a tentative date to return workers back to the office, according to a new Aon survey. The stat indicates that employers are eager for workers to come back into the office—even when other data overwhelmingly finds that employees, for the most part, don’t want to go back. Read more here.

How Bank of America has innovated to support disabled employees: While the pandemic has presented employees everywhere with significant obstacles—financial worries, a lack of boundaries with home life, heavier workloads—for employees with disabilities, the burden has likely been even heavier. To combat such statistics, Bank of America sought to provide tailored support and guidance to the more than 300 employees with intellectual disabilities who work in marketing and fulfillment operations. Read more here.

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Burnout is continuing to rise; is HR doing enough? Burnout keeps building for employees after a year of pandemic-related anxiety and isolation, heavier workloads and little to no time off. More than four in 10 employees (44%) say they are more burned out on the job today compared to a year ago, according to a new survey of 2,800 workers from global staffing firm Robert Half. Read more here.

CDC mask guidance is upping employee anxiety. Now what? After the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention released new guidance allowing vaccinated people to go maskless—and in theory, unvaccinated people, too, since no proof is required—employee anxiety is reaching new heights, especially when it comes to thinking about returning to an office full of maskless colleagues. Experts say employers need to step up by touting mental health resources, communicating about the mask changes and still enforcing health and safety protocols in the office if they’re making employees return. Read more here.

What MetricStream is doing for stressed and burned out workers: Seema Iyer has worked in HR for nearly 25 years—from an early role as an HR metrics specialist at Sun Microsystems, where she spent more than a decade in various roles, to HR leadership positions at SAP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, SSL and, since 2019, as CHRO of MetricStream, a provider of governance, risk and compliance software. All of those capabilities were put to the test for Iyer and her team in the last year. She recently shared with HRE how the company has overcome the people challenges of the pandemic. Read more here.

Employees foregoing healthcare due to cost: About three-quarters of Americans (73%) are worried about long-term healthcare costs, and nearly half are skipping care due to medical costs, according to a new survey from Lively. The rising cost of healthcare, coupled with the financial impact of COVID-19, has left many employees struggling financially—and more prone to skip necessary medical and preventive care. That’s a problem employers need to address. 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.