Generational Workforce

By Brittany Wilkey – Employco Human Resources

With the average age of retirement slowly increasing – whether due to financial needs, personal reasons, or simply because the average lifespan is also increasing – it isn’t uncommon to see organizations employing four to five generations at the same time.  Managing and recruiting such an extensive range of age groups can be difficult, but understanding a little bit about the wants and needs of each group can help both employers and employees maintain a cohesive workplace.

The first step is to understand what defines each generation, and how those generations are formed.  Generations are grouped not only because of their age and birth year, but also based on the social and cultural events occurring during their lifetime that ends up shaping their values, concepts, and beliefs.

For instance, a person in their 50’s who has been working for several decades is unlikely to have the same perspective as someone in their early 20’s who is just entering the workforce.  Along those same lines, an individual who lived through the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, or the digital boom, will be influenced by those major cultural events, and those same cultural events will impact how they approach their jobs, co-workers, and the workplace in general.

Continue reading

Grieving Employees

Did you know that the average time an organization provides to employees for bereavement leave is 4-7 days, though the actual grieving process can take two years or more? Grief impacts not only the employee, but also the rest of the organization, as productivity and workplace relationships can also suffer when an employee is dealing with loss.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help an employee cope with the grieving process:

  • As part of Employco’s group insurance, UnitedHealthcare offers participants access to their Employee Assistance Program, which can help employees receive free counseling.
  • We can provide group training sessions for employees and/or your management team on how to respond when an employee is coping with loss.

Employco can also help you by going over the different options for making bereavement leave or general policy adjustments at your organization.

Worker’s Compensation

Effective August 10, 2016, some employers – particularly those in high-hazard industries – will be required to submit electronic forms providing details on workplace injuries for publication on OSHA’s website. Additionally, OSHA released new guidelines regarding post-incident drug testing requirements, hoping to increase injury reporting by lowering employees’ fear of retaliation.

Coincidentally, Travelers recently released data compiling the top 5 workplace injuries over the last 5 years. Those injuries include:

  1. Strains and Sprains (30%)
  2. Cuts or punctures (19%)
  3. Contusions (12%)
  4. Inflammation (5%)
  5. Fractures (5%)

Approximately 32% of the top injuries are caused by material handling, such as lifting or carrying, and 16% are caused by slips, trips, or falls. Knowing the top injuries, as well as the causes, can help organizations better train employees on how to avoid injuries. For assistance with training or OSHA compliance, please contact Employco.

Cost of Healthcare

Question: What do a 2016 Ford Escape and the annual cost of family healthcare have in common? They’re both $25,000!

A recent Milliman healthcare study found that the cost of healthcare for a typical American family of four covered by an average employer-sponsored PPO medical plan is $25,826 per year.

Milliman’s Key Findings:

  • The cost has more than tripled since its value of $8,414 in 2001
  • This year’s increase (4.7%) is the lowest rate since 2001, but is still well above the average increase in household income
  • Prescription drugs is the most rapidly growing component

Employee benefits programs, such as group medical plans, are an important component of Employco’s overall portfolio that helps to level the playing field for our clients. Using our large volume buying power to negotiate with benefit providers, we offer a benefits package that allows clients to compete with large corporations. Please let us know if you have any questions about employee benefit plans, including the plans provided in Employco’s portfolio.

Transgender Equality

It has been a little over one year since Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, announced a change to her name and appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair.

With only around 0.3% – 3.0% of the U.S. adult population identified as transgender, employers may mistakenly believe that it’s not an issue worth their time. However, since the transgender population and legal compliance issues are growing, proactive employers are preparing for a transgender workforce.

Legislative Guidance:

  • Transgender employee discrimination is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and under several state laws.
  • OSHA and the Department of Labor released a “Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers” that requires companies to allow their employees to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

Recommendations:

  • Modify your employee handbook, policies and training to include transgender in the list of protected classes
  • Engage transgender employees in an “interactive process” to discuss their preference on the use of bathrooms, name, email address, pronouns and company announcement, if any

To listen to Employco’s recent podcast on transgender equality in the workplace, please click here. Contact us for help with your employee handbook, policies or employee training.

Federal Reserve Announces Plans to Leave Interest Rate Unchanged

Employment expert available to comment on what motivated this decision

The Federal Reserve just announced that it plans to leave the interest rate unchanged. Many believe that this is because the country’s slow economic growth has challenged the policy-makers’ confidence.

Rob Wilson, employment expert and CEO of Employco USA, says, “The Federal Reserve opted not to change the interest rate due to unreliable low unemployment numbers and slow wage growth.”

Wilson also believes that the Affordable Care Act played a large part in this decision.

“Due to the Affordable Care Act, employers have been slow to hire, and some have even been forced to let employees go or slash staff hours. Pending changes to the overtime laws also has employers worried, along with general anxiety over the economy as a whole.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Why So Many Americans are Working Multiple Jobs

New research from the Labor Department reveals that 1 in 20 Americans work multiple jobs. While that is the national average, several states have higher numbers than that. 8.7 percent of job holders in South Dakota work two jobs, followed by 8.5 percent of job holders in Vermont, and 8.4 percent in Nebraska.

“Currently, it is difficult to say whether or not these numbers point to a troubling economy or a solid economy,” says Rob Wilson, employment expert and CEO of Employco USA, “On the one hand, it illustrates that many Americans have to work two jobs in order to make ends meet, but on the other hand it also illustrates that people are able to find work.”

Still, Wilson believes it could be a troubling trend. “I believe that Obamacare could be partially behind American’s need to have multiple jobs,” he says, “Many employers balked at the idea of providing insurance to their full-time staff, so in order to skirt around the new rulings, they simply shaved hours off their employees’ schedules.”

Not only did this allow employers to avoid providing health insurance (as only firms with 50 or more full-time staff are required to provide insurance), but it also will allow them to navigate around other potential financial landmines.

“If the new overtime law goes into effect, shaving hours off employees’ schedules might become a must for companies who simply cannot afford to pay their staff these increased wages. Sadly, the people who suffer here are the average Americans—because they now have to find supplemental work just to make ends meet.”