Opioid Epidemic Hinders Hiring
Economists in recent days have taken note of a trend that’s
been painfully obvious to many in HR: The opioid epidemic is
preventing some employers in parts of the country from hiring
and keeping workers.
Most notable among the new voices is Federal Reserve
chair woman Janet Yellen, who addressed a question that has puzzled
labor economists: What is driving the decades-long decline in the
labor-force participation rate for prime working-age men?
Speaking to the Senate banking committee on July13, Yellen
tied that decline to another troubling trend: the rising death toll
from overdoses of prescription opioid painkillers. “I do think it
is related to declining labor-force participation among prime-age
workers,” Yellen said.
Yellen isn’t alone in believing this to be the case. In research
published in the fall 2017 edition of the Brookings Papers on
Economic Activity, American economist Alan B. Krueger makes
a strong case for looking at the opioid epidemic as one driver of
declining labor force participation rates.
Cutting Costs or Watching Workers?
“Managing by walking around” is an old expression describing
a no-frills way for supervisors to keep their finger on the pulse
of the workplace. But as managers at U.K.-headquartered
Barclays are learning, it’s not the only way to keep tabs on your
As recently reported on the Bloomberg website, Barclays
has installed devices that track how often bankers are at their
desks, using heat and motion sensors. Meanwhile, managers
are provided with a multi-colored dashboard that shows which
workstations are unoccupied.
In a statement emailed to Bloomberg, Barclays said that
the devices—called OccupEye, and made by U.K.-based Cad
Capture—enable supervisors to analyze workspace usage trends
and weren’t intended to be used for monitoring people or their
“This sort of analysis helps us to reduce costs, for example,
managing energy consumption, or identifying opportunities to
further adopt flexible work environments,” according to the
The High Cost of Compliance
A new survey out by the Workforce Institute at Kronos finds that
legislative compliance could cost employers as much as $100,000
each time a federal, state or even local labor-related regulation is
created or changed.
The study of 812 HR and benefits leaders reveals that costs
continue to climb. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of the
respondents report that compliance has become more expensive
in just the last year, while three-quarters (74 percent) say it’s
more expensive than a decade ago.
Virtually all of those surveyed report that compliance is a
guiding principal in their organization’s HR and payroll operations
(85 percent), but just a quarter ( 27 percent) say it is discussed
daily. Just under half (46 percent) report it’s a weekly conversation,
while one-fifth ( 20 percent) say it’s only addressed monthly.
In terms of keeping up with developments, six out of 10
of the respondents (59 percent) say they rely on their HR/
payroll software vendor to learn about changes.
The House Committee on Education and the
Workforce has been busy
of late, approving three
bills that would change
labor policies under the
National Labor Relations
One of these measures—
the Workforce Fairness and
Democracy Act—would undo
the National Labor Relations
Board’s “ambush” election
rule, which cut the waiting
time for union elections down
to as few as 10 days. Before
the NLRB rule was passed in
2015, the average amount of
time elapsed between filing
an election petition and the
actual election was roughly
Tom Luetkemeyer, a
Chicago-based labor and
employment attorney and
partner at Hinshaw &
Culbertson, foresees the
What’s Inside Your Walls?