Mental health parity – Joanne Wojcik of Business Insurance reports that pending issuance of mental health parity rules, the Labor Department will establish “an enforcement safe harbor under which authorities will not take any enforcement actions against employers that divide outpatient mental health benefits into two sub-classifications — office visits and all other outpatient items and services — as long as that arrangement applies to ‘substantially all’ outpatient medical/surgical benefits as well.” For the full article, see Employers get more time to tweak mental health cover
Survey: keep your benefits stuff out of my social media – At Daily Diversion, Kelley Butler is mystified at the results of a recent survey by the National Business Group on Health, in which about 4 out of 5 of the social media users surveyed said “… they’re not interested in receiving information about their employer-provided health benefits, or tips on how to exercise, eat healthy or save money on health care via Twitter or text messaging. In addition, three in four said they had no interest in getting this information via Facebook.” She speculates if this reluctance is due to privacy issues – wanting to keep a firm line between work and personal life – or if wellness is not something they care about.
Scam alert – Consumer Insurance Blog alerts us to recent FBI warnings about phone and social networking scams. It includes good links and resources to share with your employees. And member employers should make use of ESI’s tools for online safety – see our newsletter describing ESI’s Cyber Safety Resource Center
Telecommuting – Business Green reports that a recent study by the Telework Research network finds that telecommuting saves companies $10K per employee yearly, or a cool million for every 100 workers. The report also points to a $6,800 per year employee savings. Where do the employer savings come from?
“About half of the $1.1m that a company would save ($576,000) with 100 workers telecommuting halftime would come from increased productivity from fewer interruptions, better time management and employees putting in more hours by working when they would have been commuting.
Companies would also save $304,000 a year in electricity, real estate and related costs from parking lot leases, furniture, supplies, maintenance and space consolidation. About $113,000 would come from fewer unscheduled absences, less sick time and from employees working while sick or waiting for personal appointments (cable installation, delivery, etc.) that would normally result in a full day off of work. Lastly, $76,000 would be saved due to lower employee turnover.”
More on obesity – following up to our recent post about the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we have another report on the nation’s obesity problem from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health: F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future (PDF). Here’s a bit of a preview:
“Adult obesity rates rose in 28 states over the past year. Only D.C. experienced a decline in adult obesity rates. More than two-thirds of states (38) now have adult obesity rates above 25 percent. Eight states have rates above 30 percent – Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. In 1980, the national average of obese adults was 15 percent.”
Financial aid – Monster Thinking recently featured a series of posts on financial planning, financial aid and scholarship advise that would likely be of interest to any of your employees who are parents. It answers many common questions parents and students have about planning and paying for college: Part one: Making Financial Aid Pay Off; Part 2, and Part 3
ADA – How to Stop Accessibility Lawsuits Before They Stop You – employment law firm Jackson Lewis on what small businesses should know about the ADA.