HR Headline Roundup for January 27-31, 2020

Self-Insured Companies Do No Better on Cost Control, Axios

Despite aggressive efforts by self-insured companies to lower per-member costs, the average annual health insurance plan premium for a family of four hit $20,739 during 2020. Across all employers, the average annual family plan premium was a little lower, at $20,627.

 

Discrimination, Harassment Cases Decline During FY2019, Reports EEOC, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Retaliation remained the most-frequently handled complaint, accounting for 39,110 (53.8 percent) of the 72,675 charges investigated by the EEOC last year. The 7,514 cases involving sexual harassment represented a 1.2 percent drop from the previous fiscal year.

 

Public Sector Unionization 5x Higher Than Private Sector, Axios

The latest data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, also show that more than half of the 14.6 million employees represented by unions live in California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington. Interestingly, a 2018 Pew Research survey revealed that 51 percent of Americans feel that the decline in union representation is "mostly bad for working people in the U.S."

 

PODCAST: Flexibility for Jobs Requiring Flexibility, Workforce Institute at Kronos

IPMA-HR Executive Director Neil Reichenberg this week shared insights from his contribution to Being Present: A Practical Guide for Transforming the Employee Experience of Your Frontline Workforce. Reichenberg specifically discusses evaluating the business benefits of flex scheduling, rethinking jobs to support flexible scheduling and real-world examples of organizations supporting flexibility.

 

Federal Watchdog Finds Serious Staffing Problems at State Dept. Following 16-Month Hiring Freeze, Government Executive

”Consensus” may not suffice to characterize findings like these: “All 38 bureaus and offices that responded to the IG’s survey and 97 percent of the embassies and consulates reported that the hiring freeze had either a somewhat negative or very negative effect on employee morale and welfare.” The full report from the State Department Office of Inspector General is available online.

 

Federal IGs: Agency Officials Increasingly Retaliating Against Whistleblowers With Impunity, Government Executive

The acting inspector general for the Pentagon on Jan. 28, 2020, told a U.S. House committee that “Recently, we’ve seen a disturbing trend of the [Defense Department] disagreeing with the results of our investigation or not taking disciplinary action in whistleblower reprisal cases without adequate or persuasive explanations.” He added that such “failure to take action sends a message to agency managers that reprisal will be tolerated and also to potential whistleblowers [that they] will not be protected.”

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