Benefits news you may have missed: June 7-11

Want to get workers vaccinated? Try these 6 strategies: The COVID-19 vaccines are finally readily available, and infection and death rates are on the decline. But despite the good news, it’s not all rosy: Vaccination rates are waning, and many Americans are still reluctant to get the shot. Health officials warn that without more buy-in, herd immunity won’t happen and COVID-19 infection will continue to linger. Since the beginning of the vaccine rollout, employers have been viewed as vital in helping to encourage employees to get vaccinated. Now, perhaps, their role is more important than ever. Read more here.

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Mayer: HR leaders need to step up on COVID-19 vaccines: After the initial excitement of the COVID-19 vaccine arrival–remember how hard it was to get one?–vaccination rates are waning. After the first people like me were more than eager to get their shot in the arm, many others have stalled, say they’re still thinking about it or that they won’t altogether. That being said: It’s time to step up, significantly, on vaccination efforts. And I’m talking to you, employers. Read more here.

Here’s how much employers are investing in wellness programs: Witnessing the many struggles facing employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic, scores of employers boosted their wellbeing support–and the dollars behind it–over the past year, new research finds. Employers increased their focus on creating benefit programs that address the evolving needs of their diverse workforces, especially mental and emotional health, work-life balance and financial health, according to a survey of 166 jumbo, large and mid-sized organizations from Fidelity Investments and Business Group on Health. Read more here.

PwC’s COVID response was driven by wellbeing; Here’s why: As employees reported staggering levels of stress, anxiety and burnout in the wake of the pandemic, organizations everywhere have sought to enhance their wellness initiatives. For global professional services firm PwC, a commitment to employee wellness has been at the core of the company’s entire COVID response strategy–from benefits to rewards to coaching. Read more here.

Company debuts innovative benefit to help with housing costs: A mortgage company that has seen firsthand the challenges of rising home prices has taken a step to ease the burden for its own employees. And they’ve done it with what they believe is a first-ever benefit offering: picking up the cost of mortgage insurance, an expense that can add a few hundred dollars—or more—to a monthly mortgage payment. Read more here.

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This is the biggest barrier to mental health help: A new report from LifeWorks, which surveyed 5,000 workers, finds that 53% of respondents do not feel the need for mental health support, 35% have taken steps to improve their mental health and 12% have not taken steps but would like to. Within the latter group, 28% report that cost of care is the greatest barrier to mental health improvement, followed by having no time to seek care (27%), no energy to seek care (21%) and uncertainty about the proper care for their needs (21%). Read more here.

3 first steps for creating a post-COVID workplace: Given recent traction of vaccine distribution combined with vaccine eligibility opening widely and new CDC guidelines being released on the types of activities fully vaccinated individuals can safely pursue, these changes are steering us toward a new “normal”–and business leaders are finding themselves in a position to adapt once again. Accordingly, here is what your business needs to know about keeping employees safe during this time of transition and as we move forward into a post-COVID workplace. 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.