News briefs: DOL app, zombie apocalypse, PTO, Milliman Medical Index & more
Somebody's watching you - Wage and hour violations? There's an app for that. Employer's Lawyer Michael Fox posts about the Department of Labor's new time sheet i-phone app, which is intended to help employees track the hours they work and the wages they are owed. The DOL says that, "This information could prove invaluable during a Wage and Hour Division investigation when an employer has failed to maintain accurate employment records." See more at Compensation Cafe: An Apple A Day May Not Keep DOL Away
Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse - In trying to pique interest in the topic of emergency preparedness, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tried a new strategy: it tapped into the current public mania for all things zombie by framing the issue as Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Guide." It's a good study in creative communications. An item in the Wall Street Journal Health Blog notes that the page has "... nearly 1.2 million page views, compared to about 1,000 to 3,000 hits a CDC blog post usually gets over its entire lifespan of 10 days or so." The CDC is now following up with a video contest.
$20k healthcare price tag for families - According to the 2011 Milliman Medical Index, the healthcare cost for a family of four covered by a preferred provider plan is $19,393, an increase of $1,319, or 7.3% over 2010. The report notes that although "...the rate of increase is slowing from prior years, it has taken fewer than nine years for such costs to more than double. In 2002, the cost of healthcare for the typical family of four was $9,235." The report also notes that "the employees' share of the total cost is at an all-time high, having increased from 36.8% in the first year of the MMI (2005) to 39.7% in 2011." See more at 2011 Milliman Medical Index.
The PTO approach - In the latest Risk Management, Alex Korotin talks about how the "paid time off" (PRO) approach is gaining traction and that many organizations are choosing to this approach over the more traditional vacation-sick-personal days approach. He discusses pros and cons of this approach, as well as alternatives for establishing arrangements coordinated with 401ksm profit sharing plans, and credit based flex plans.
HR's Top 10 concerns - Workforce covers the top 10 HR concerns as reported by the Employers Resource Association. These issues are compiled from the more than 8,000 hotline calls made by the organization's membership of 1,300 companies in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
Wellness & retention research - Fiona Gathright posts about a new study that shows that wellness programs can bolster employee retention. Accordiong to Gathright, the top employee reasons for participation in wellness programs were listed as: reduced personal health care costs (30%), increased longevity and health maintenance (30%), employer incentives (28%), and reduced stress (28%). Related The Los Angeles Times offers a good roundup of ways that various employers are encouraging employees to move more during the workday, including low-budget, easy-to-implement options. The article notes: "In an April survey by the corporate benefits group Workplace Options, 36% of employees said their jobs offered perks such as wellness coaches, on-site health screenings and fitness programs. And 70% of Fortune 200 companies offer physical fitness programs, according to the National Business Group on Health, with many saving on healthcare as a result."
Protecting teens from harassment - We recently posted tips for keeping teen workers safe. Since that time, we found a good related post on HR Daily Advisor that suggests teens may be particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and many not know what to do if it occurs. They suggest that additional training may be in order, and offer a lost of suggestions from the EOC. Related: How to handle a sexual harassment claim, including an infographic.
Security - How secure is my password is an interactive tool that offers an estimate of how long it would take a desktop PC to crack your password. I just learned that the password I use most often would take about 150 days to crack. The site also offers a link to a good essay on how to pick a safe password. Here's another good site to bookmark an share with employees: Stay Safe Online.
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