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Prescription Drugs Driving Employer Health Costs

August 25, 2023

A new report shows employers are bearing the burden of higher health care costs being fueled by a wave of expensive but effective prescription drugs. As reported by Axios, the average health care costs per worker reached about $17,200 in 2023, according to a survey by the Business Group on Health. Pharmaceuticals comprised 24% of spending. 8/24/2023

HR Roundup: Where Employers Are Struggling Most in Hiring

August 18, 2023
  • WalletHub has released its report on the states in which employers are struggling the most in hiring. (Ohio is No. 27.)
  • OMA Connections Partner Dinsmore writes that a potential overhaul of the federal non-compete law is on the horizon.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued proposed regulations to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, according to OMA Connections Partner Benesch.
  • The EEOC has reached a tentative settlement of its first discrimination suit based on the use of AI software, according to insight from Frantz Ward, an OMA Connections Partner. (This highlights the aggressive stance the EEOC is taking against companies that utilize AI software in their recruiting, the firm writes.)
  • A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit challenging an employer’s timekeeping practices, saying that rounding methods didn’t average out over time.

Finally, 46% of U.S. workers who receive paid time off take less time than they are offered by their employers, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. 8/17/2023

Where the Workers Are (and Aren’t)

August 11, 2023

It’s still a job-seeker’s market in most states, as illustrated by this infographic from Visual Capitalist. The graphic shows the number of available workers (as of July) for every 100 job openings in every state.

Nationwide, there’s an average of 75 workers per 100 openings; in Ohio, the figure drops to just 65 workers. 8/7/2023

HR Roundup: Guidance on Employee Handbooks

August 11, 2023
  • The NLRB has changed the law on employee handbooks. OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips has published this guidance for employers.
    • Additional insights on the NLRB’s action are available from OMA Connections Partners Benesch, Calfee, and Dinsmore.
  • Fisher Phillips has posted this analysis titled “Seven Things Employers Need to Know About New EEOC Guidance on Vision Impairments.”
  • The UAW is demanding a nearly 46% pay hike by 2027 from GM, Ford, and Stellantis, reports say.
  • To boost retention of older employees, Gallup tells employers there are three general areas of opportunity for the engagement: development, recognition, and friendship.
  • The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association represents pharmacy benefit managers, a powerful but little-known industry. The three biggest PBMs control about 80% of the marketplace, reports say. (Critics accuse PBMs of raising drug costs.)

Finally, employee retention is the top priority for both operations (51%) and HR (66%), according to OMA Connections Partner Gallagher’s 2023 U.S. Organizational Wellbeing Report. 8/10/2023

HR Roundup: Manufacturing Compensation Costs Up 4.5% Over 12 Months

August 4, 2023
  • Federal data show compensation for U.S. workers increased again in Q2, but at 1%, it’s slower than the 1.2% rate in Q1.
    • U.S. manufacturing wages and salaries rose 0.9% in Q2, slowing from 1.2% in Q1. Over 12 months, the growth rate was 4.5%, easing from 4.9% in Q1.
  • While Ohio’s overall unemployment in 3.4% in June, jobless rates in Ohio’s 88 counties vary widely as shown on this map.
  • U.S. job openings dropped to a two-year low in June, but the labor market remains tight compared to pre-pandemic levels, new data show.
  • A new survey finds one in four workers say they’re looking for a new job. They are most likely to withdraw from the application process due to poor communication and follow-up, as well as a lengthy hiring process.
  • The National Labor Relations Board has voted to undo employer-friendly framework for assessing the legality of workplace rules and employer handbook policies, reports say. Read more in this analysis from Dinsmore, an OMA Connections Partner.
  • The FTC reports that scammers are impersonating employers to target job seekers, luring them in with what appear to be attractive job offers.

Meanwhile, half of the most-clicked phishing emails contain HR-related subject lines, according to a new report. Scammer emails often focus on dress code changes, training notifications, W4 updates, performance reviews, and vacation policies. 8/3/2023

HR Roundup: Another Unemployment Low for Ohio

July 28, 2023
  • Ohio’s unemployment dropped to 3.4% in June, marking the lowest unemployment rate since 1976 for the third straight month.
    • Ohio’s labor force participation rate remained at 62.1% last month, compared to 62.6% nationally.
    • Ohio manufacturing lost 3,000 jobs in June.
  • This map shows the job quit rates in all 50 states.
  • The Biden administration wants to force health insurers to create coverage parity between mental and physical health care. (This as employer health care costs were already expected to increase 5.4% this year.)
  • OMA Connections Partner GBQ Partners has published this guidance on selecting a qualified auditor for your employee benefit plan.
  • A new survey finds 74% of managers say Gen Z — born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s — is the most challenging generation to work with. One in eight managers say they’ve fired a GenZer within a week of his/her start date.
  • U.S. immigration officials have made changes to the I-9 employment verification process, including increased flexibility for E-Verify. See guidance from OMA Connections Partners Dinsmore and Fisher Phillips.

Meanwhile, by 2031, workers 55 and older will comprise 25% or more of the workforces in G7 countries — including the U.S. — a new study finds. That’s up 10% from a decade ago. 7/27/2023

HR Roundup: Employers Budget for 4% Pay Raises

July 21, 2023
  • According to a new report, U.S. employers are budgeting an average increase of 4% in 2024 — down from the actual increase of 4.4% in 2023.
  • Bricker Graydon, the OMA’s general counsel, has published this insight on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision clarifying how employers should consider employee requests to accommodate religious practices.
  • Health care consulting conglomerates are engaging in secret kickback deals with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), adding major costs for employers, according to this report.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed rule to update overtime regulations is awaiting White House review, reports say.
  • A survey conducted by recruitment agency Robert Walters Group shows stability concerns, managerial pressure, lack of pay increases, and heavier workloads are the most frequently cited sources of workplace stress.

Finally, a group of 13 GOP attorneys general have warned the largest U.S. companies against maintaining “race-based quotas or preferences” in employment decisions after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling banning race-conscious college admissions. Here is the AGs’ letter. 7/20/2023

Huffman Questions House Passage of Union Hiring Bill

July 14, 2023

The OMA has sounded warnings about a House-approved measure (House Bill 205) aimed at forcing defined manufacturers to hire unionized labor, creating a precedent that may impact other businesses.

Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) is questioning the House’s June 21 passage of HB 205, telling Gongwer News Service, “I’m very concerned about the lack of process in the House. As I understand it, they had an opponent hearing … and then about an hour later they voted it out of the House. 7/10/2023

HR Roundup: Unemployment by County

July 14, 2023
  • While Ohio’s statewide unemployment sits at 3.6% (based on May figures), unemployment rates vary widely throughout the 88 counties as shown on this map.
  • A new study by the National Association of Manufacturers shows more than half of U.S. manufacturers surveyed listed health care and other benefits costs as one of the top sources of inflation. The study suggest steps Congress can take to help offset these costs.
  • This Federal Reserve graph shows monthly wage growth in the U.S. over the last two years.
  • OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips has published this list of reasons your business might rescind a job offer, including failed drug tests, and the best ways to ease the impact.
  • Fisher Phillips has published guidance for manufacturers regarding the federal law mandating that employers accommodate pregnant employees.
  • EHS Today has published these tips on “disagreeing respectfully” with workers who are inclined to express their opinions at work.

Finally, the EEOC has changed the timeline for opening this year’s EEO-1 reporting portal to sometime in fall 2023, according to this update from Fisher Phillips. This impacts companies with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees. 7/13/2023

HR Roundup: SCOTUS Rulings Could Impact Employers

July 7, 2023
  • Online job postings throughout Ohio fell by nearly 70,000 jobs from the spring 2022 to spring 2023, according to OhioMeansJobs.
  • For the week of June 26, new unemployment claims in Ohio were 16.40% higher than in the previous week.
  • A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court makes it more difficult for employers to deny religious accommodations requested by employees, according to summaries from OMA Connections Partners Calfee, Fisher Phillips, Roetzel, and Thompson Hine.
  • OMA Connections Partner Jones Day has published this white paper examining efforts to regulate employers’ use of artificial intelligence and automated decision-making tools during the recruiting and hiring process.
  • OMA Connections Partner One Source Advisors reminds employers with self-funded health plans of a July 31 deadline to pay Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute fees, required by the Affordable Care Act. For insight, the IRS provides these resources.

Finally, in this guidance, Fisher Phillips has examined ways the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling could have ripple effects on private employers — including possible legal challenges to DEI programs. 7/6/2023