Harnessing the Power of Workplace Benefits
A new study from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance found
that more than half of working adults said their employment
benefits made them feel more financially secure—but that peace
of mind correlated to income level.
About 65 percent of workers with household incomes over
$75,000 said their benefits added to their security, while only 42
percent of those making less than $45,000 agreed. Lower-income
workers were also less likely to have access to retirement plans,
as well as dental, disability, accident and life insurance.
While they were less likely than higher earners to have access
to employer-sponsored financial education, lower-earning workers
were most likely to want such assistance.
Employers should enhance financial-education opportunities
and diversify benefits based on worker needs, says MassMutual’s
Voluntary Benefits Leader Jon Shuman.
“Each employee’s personal financial situation is unique,” he says.
Indifference Continues to Plague Well-being
Recent research by Willis Towers Watson suggests there’s a
serious disconnect in how employers and employees view the
effectiveness of today’s well-being programs.
WTW’s 2017 Global Benefits Attitude Survey reports that 56
percent of employers believe their well-being programs have
encouraged employees to live a healthier lifestyle. Only 32
percent of employees agree that is the case.
Steve Nyce, a senior economist with WTW, suggests the study
reflects a growing “indifference” among employees as far as well-being programs are concerned.
Even companies that offer rewards averaging more than $900
for those who take part in the programs, Nyce says, typically only
see 50-percent participation, a number on the decline, according
to the report.
Nyce advises companies to take a more holistic approach to
wellness, including through workplace environments.
“When you have onsite services like a clinic or onsite day-care,
it drives a lot of discussion and chatter around well-being,” he
American Workers, Divided
New research from the Economic Policy Institute reveals that,
now more than ever, American workers are divided into one of
two categories: employed and overworked, and those struggling
to enter or re-enter the workforce.
The report found that adults between the ages of 25 and 54
worked 7. 8 percent more hours in 2016 than they did in 1979.
The reason for this, the researchers suggested, is most apparent
among low-wage earners, who may work more hours or at
multiple jobs to survive—especially in an economy of flat-lined
“Low-wage workers increased their annual earnings primarily
by working more hours, as opposed to receiving regular pay
increases,” says Valerie Wilson, director of EPI’s program on
race, ethnicity and the economy. “This challenges stereotypes
about low-wage workers being unmotivated or lazy, but rather
shows how incredibly hard-working these workers are.”
The data found workers of color are more likely than white
colleagues to be disconnected from the workforce, work more
hours and/or be among the bottom 40 percent of wage earners.
—Danielle Westermann King
Return of the
Months after it announced it was bringing
the final days
of the George W. Bush
They cover a variety of
circumstances, such as civilian
helicopter pilots who work for
state police, to broader issues,
including how to handle
salary deductions for exempt
employees for time missed.
“This is like pressing the
restart button from when the
Obama administration took
over,” says Kyle Ferachi,
the managing member
of McGlinchey Stafford’s
Houston office. While he
notes that the letters, reissued
verbatim from 2009, are
“nothing new,” he adds the
reissuance signals the Trump
In June, Secretary of Labor
Alexander Acosta announced
the department would
reinstate opinion letters, and
Bryan L. Jarrett, the acting
administrator of the DOL’s
Wage and Hour Division,
reissued them Jan. 5.