Now What? Employer Benefits Obligations Post-DOMA

While the court held that Section 3 of DOMA (which defines ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’ as excluding same-sex partners) is unconstitutional on equal-protection grounds, the decision does not force same-sex marriage on the states, which appear to continue to be free to define marriage as they wish and not recognize same-sex marriage.”

So what does this mean for employers?

Follow the link for a detailed consideration of the employer’s legal obligations under this legislation.  

A Business Case for Health/Wellness

Should companies care about the health and wellness of their employees?

Alere Wellbeing  recently presented a webinar hosted by Dr. Ron Goetzel of Emory University and Thomson Reuters, discussing the cost of health and productivity-related expenditures that employers face, the role obesity plays in creating or exacerbating these conditions, and how employers can support obese and overweight employees.

Here are a few highlights:

U.S. Health Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP: 

-1970: 7.2% 

-2011: 17.7% 

Projected annual growth for healthcare expense is 5.8% until 2020 

*Keehan et al. Health Affairs. 30:8. August 2011

 According to Ken Thorpe, while approximately 37% of the rise in annual healthcare expense can be attributed to innovation and advances in technology, 63% is attributed to increased disease prevalence.  An estimated 27% of these costs are associated with obesity. 

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  If you improve the health and well being of your employees: 

  1. Quality of life improves 

  2. Health care utilization is reduced 

  3. Disability is controlled 

  4. Productivity is enhanced through both attendance as well as presenteeism

    In short, healthy people get more done.  Without even factoring in reduced medical expense to the firm, employee morale, productivity, presenteeism, attendance and in turn, organizational effectiveness, all increase.  It pays to care about the health of your employees.

     Does your company invest in your health/well-being?  If so, how?  

Time to Scrap Performance Appraisals?

Time to Scrap Performance Appraisals?

Something big is going on in business today. More and more companies have decided to radically change their performance appraisal process.

Follow the link for the whole story.

What do you think?  Are performance appraisals a relic of the past or a necessary evil to track employee contributions?  

What if Your Boss Tracked Your Sleep, Diet, and Exercise?

What if Your Boss Tracked Your Sleep, Diet, and Exercise?

Excerpt from full text:

““Sirens are going off in my head. There’s certainly the potential for abuse,” says Beth Givens, the director of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a not-for-profit privacy advocate based in San Diego, explaining that employees shouldn’t use such a system unless there’s an “iron-clad” privacy statement that prevents the company from making HR decisions based on the health data.”

If nothing else, Citizen’s decision to explore health metrics to drive productivity and engagement demonstrates the company’s commitment to health and wellness, as well as data-driven decision making.  Currently only 10% (8 of 80 employees) have volunteered as guinea pigs for this program, still in its admittedly nascent stages.  Yet, this novel health tracking offering could reap great returns to the employer.  After all, healthy people are happy people and happy people get things done, right?

What do you think: do the potential benefits to the employer outweigh the legal headaches and privacy issues? 

 

 

Top 5 reasons we should play more at work

Top 5 reasons we should play more at work

I love this…

After each candidate goes through his/her well-rehearsed and pre-meditated interviews with HR and management, the entire engineering team (it’s a small company) comes into the room, closes the door, and starts a game of Jenga like it’s no big deal. Meanwhile, we strike up a casual conversation with the candidate and insist he or she play with us.

Without fail, the candidates true colors are almost immediately revealed. Candidate scoffs at the idea of playing a game in an interview? Obviously too uptight for our group and not capable of handling rapidly changing situations. Focusing on Jenga also takes the candidate’s mind off of all of the pre-meditated answers and pages of ‘interview tips’ articles that we’ve all read at one point or another.

Works every time. We end up with engineers who are laid back and easygoing, but who know their stuff, and can think on their feet.

(Excerpt from “Top 5 reasons we should play more at work” by Alexander Kjerulf)