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Work / Life Issues

Use benefits checklist to smooth new-hire onboarding

New employees have lots on their minds when they first start working. While making the right benefits choices and completing the necessary paperwork is ultimately the employee’s responsibility, HR can give a kick in the pants by providing a checklist like this one.

Quest offers health assessments, follow-up wellness programs

Quest Diagnostics is helping its workforce stay healthy by offering free health risk assessments and then following up with wellness programs that help employees address potential problems. Last year, 36,000 employees took part after Quest reduced the cost of biweekly medical plan contributions as an incentive.

Wellness programs: Clash between health care reform and GINA

Approximately 70% of employers sponsor wellness programs designed to drive down health care costs, reduce absenteeism and promote better employee health. Wellness programs that offer premium discounts have long been required to comply with HIPAA. More recently, two other laws muddied the wellness waters: the new health care reform law and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Don’t break the bank for effective wellness programs

Employers are warming up to wellness programs to help reduce health care costs. And it works! But choosing the wrong pieces of the wellness puzzle can lower your ROI dramatically. For the most bang for your wellness buck, focus on these five efforts that drive the greatest cost savings.

How to comply with new lactation break and facility rules

Hidden deep within the recently enacted health care reform legislation is a provision that garnered neither debate nor controversy in the media or the halls of Congress. The law amends the FLSA to require large employers to provide lactation breaks and facilities for employees who are breastfeeding.

The truth about employee wellness … and 7 ways to get workers to take it seriously


Want your employees to take more responsibility for improving and protecting their health? Examine how you communicate with them about their benefits, says a new report from the Midwest Business Group on Health. Here are seven major findings from its new research, along with tips on using the information to trigger employee participation in wellness programs:

Sitter service is day care alternative


With 1,500 employees at its Chicago headquarters, advertising firm Leo Burnett isn’t quite large enough for an on-site day care center for employees’ children, says HR Manager Meredith Reinker. So it signed up for an online service that matches parents with local nannies and baby sitters. Sittercity.com also lists elder caregivers, pet sitters, tutors and housekeepers.

Recession bloats waistlines as well as unemployment rolls

The combination of work stress and economic pressures appears to be playing a role in the U.S. labor force’s weight gain. Overall, 44% of workers say they have gained weight in their current jobs, up slightly from 43% in 2009, according to a new survey.

Are milk expression breaks mandatory?

Q. I know a number of states already have laws that require employers to provide unpaid breaks to nursing mothers to express breast milk. Are there any federal laws providing for similar requirements?

Got Milk? Understand the Link Between Federal & State Breastfeeding Laws

As you may have heard by now, the new health reform law includes a provision to protect nursing mothers who choose to pump breast milk at work. But it’s important to realize that 24 states still have their own laws on this topic. And you must follow whichever law—fed or state—gives the greatest protection to the employee.