Will Your Employer Stop Paying for Your Birth Control?

Group insurance expert predicts how Pres. Trump’s decision will impact average American 

Many people are concerned that their employers are going to opt against paying for birth control now that President Trump has taken steps to reverse the federal mandate requiring companies to do so.

“Headlines across the country have frightened people into thinking that their companies are no longer going to pay for their contraception,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and group insurance expert. “Thankfully, this is going to be unlikely across the board.  Even before President Obama used the Affordable Care Act to require employers to pay for birth control for employees, 9 out of 10 companies already did so.”

Essentially, the ruling just allows for people to opt against covering contraceptive costs if it challenges their religious beliefs, however, the number of employers who fall in this category will be small, says Wilson. And, he says changes are even less likely when it comes to big firms.

“From a business standpoint, it’s wise to provide affordable contraception options to your workers,” says Wilson. “After all, birth control is much less expensive than the cost of pregnancy and delivering a baby, not to mention family leave. So, the reality is that despite the scary headlines, most employees should expect little to no changes in their contraception costs.”

Nor does he think employers would be wise to use this as a loophole to get out of paying for birth control. “One way or another, all employers pay a price for their workers’ reproductive decisions,” Wilson says. “Financially speaking, contraception is the least expensive option, provided it does not go against your religious beliefs.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

The “Hidden Jobs” Market: How to Find the 80% of Jobs That Are Not Posted on Jobs Boards

Employment advisor weighs in

“Known as the ‘hidden jobs’ market, these positions are often more lucrative, and they often involve less competition,” says Rob Wilson, employment expert and President of Employco USA, a nationwide employment solutions firm. “If you want access to these job opportunities, you have to have connections. You can’t just hop onto Craigslist and see the job posting.”

So how does Wilson suggest that job-seekers find these desirable jobs?

“There is no replacement for in-person connections,” says Wilson. “Yet networking events can often be a bust, as most people at these events will be job-seekers such as yourself. This doesn’t mean that this won’t be valuable and a good way for you to brush up on your speaking skills, but really, the people who hire folks aren’t going to be at a networking event on a Thursday night.”

To that end, Wilson believes that the real power of networking lies in temp agencies and part-time positions. “You need to get in the door. You need to get out of the hotel lobby networking over a plastic cup of red wine, and into the office where you can prove your mettle and earn those relationships day-in, day-out. Not to mention, employment solutions firms can help to ensure that you aren’t left with large gaps in your resume or your skill-set.”

Wilson also believes that temp agencies and employment firms are a boon for employers as well. “It gives you a chance to take a risk on people you wouldn’t normally go for,” he explains. “Maybe you meet someone who has very little experience, but you just have a strong feeling about their potential and work ethic. A temp position gives you the chance to test them out and to see how they respond to your company culture.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Here’s Why NFL Players Don’t Get to Plead “Free Speech”

Employment expert explains why employees should tread lightly when discussing politics

Wilson points to the recent termination of Google employee James Damore, who was given the ax because of an email ‘manifesto’ which became public. “Damore offended many people with his views about women and gender equality, and he ended up being terminated as a result,” says Wilson. “For many people, this was seen as an affront to free speech. Now, this issue is coming to light again in the NFL. Should players be punished for expressing their beliefs, or are employers within their rights to demand that they stand for the anthem or face termination as a result?”

The employment trends expert argues that the NFL owners could have a case for terminating their players’ contracts if the behavior can be proved to have a negative impact on their bottom line. “NFL ratings are down, as President Trump himself declared,” says Wilson. “If employers feel that the players’ protests is impacting their business, they will be within their rights to boot the player off the field. In fact, the contracts which players sign give owners plenty of leeway to fire them for any behavior they deem unbecoming, both on and off the field.”

In other words, says Wilson, the First Amendment cannot protect someone who has signed a contract promising to behave in accordance with their employer’s values. “For the average American, this means that your expression of free speech can come back and haunt you, whether it’s something you post on Facebook or a political discussion you have in the break room. If your employer has set forth certain points of decorum which you have agreed to, you can’t break those rules without consequence, whether you’re a server wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ pin or a lawyer making sexist jokes online.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Above-Average Rise in Cost of Employee Benefits in 2018

How can employers prepare?

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and group insurance expert, says, “Employees say that an employer’s health insurance plan is more important to them than their actual salary, but as these numbers show, offering group insurance can be a losing game for employers. For the last five years, employer costs to insure each employee have risen, but now we are looking at a significant bump: 5  percent or more.”

Wilson points to the fact that Republicans have not yet been able to eradicate the Affordable Care Act, as well as the fact that specialty prescription drug costs are skyrocketing.

“Employers may consider enrolling in high-deductible CDHPs as these plans can help to protect your bottom line. Other cost-saving measures like instituting a surcharge for spouses or employees who smoke can slow cost. Outcome based incentives and wellness programs have also been shown to be useful, as have on-site clinics and prescription purchasing coalitions. Some companies are instilling a policy that requires mandatory generic brand medication,  which can help to reduce costs in a meaningful way.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Here’s Why Unemployment Is Better Than Poor Employment

Employment expert explains why job-seekers should avoid ‘stopgap’ positions

When looking for work, many job-seekers often assume that any job is better than no job. Hence, they take any employment offers that come their way, even if the duties are below their experience level or the pay is not ideal. However, new research shows that this could be a very bad idea.

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert, says, “A new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that low-paying, poor-quality jobs have more of a devastating impact on a person’s physical health and emotional well-being than having no job at all.”

Other studies have also shown that ‘stopgap’ jobs are also a bad idea for your career success as well. “A study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research found that employers were much more likely to offer a position to a person who was unemployed, but had experience in the field, as opposed to a person who was employed in a lesser position that required less experience and expertise,” explains Wilson.

However, while taking a poor-quality, “stopgap” job can have a negative impact on your health and your job hunting prospects, Wilson cautions that this does not mean that applicants should refuse to consider any temporary work.

“This study illustrates that employers are looking for one thing: experience that is relative to the job. Hence, if you want to achieve your dream career, you should not accept jobs that aren’t going to offer you that valuable experience,” says Wilson. “That is why temporary work and staffing agencies can be invaluable. They can cater your job search to your very specific career goals, which means you won’t have to worry about making a misstep which can haunt you for years to come.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Should Employers Be Allowed to Read Your Email?

Employment trends expert weighs in

The European Court of Human Rights just overturned a previous ruling which had given employers unfettered access to their employees’ emails and workplace communications. The decision is once again sparking discussion about American privacy laws and the ways in which employers are able to freely access all of an employee’s communications.

“Privacy is considered to be of great importance in Europe,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert. “Hence, there was a great outcry when the court originally decided to green-light the law which would allow employers free rein to read their employees’ emails and messages.”

Wilson says that the overturning of the law has reignited workplace privacy discussions in the States. “This is an issue that is of growing concern as many employers are now using apps to track their remote employees’ productivity. For example, apps that take screenshots of an employee’s computer or apps that track what sites an employee visits and how long they stay there. As we enter this new world of a largely remote workforce, issues of privacy are going to be of growing concern.”

For now, Wilson says that employers should cover all their bases by making sure to alert employees that any and all workplace communication is not considered private. “Your employees should be fairly warned that any messages they send on company property are able to be accessed and viewed by you. Privacy isn’t a right afforded to employees who are using their work computers to hang out on Facebook or write personal messages to coworkers.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Should Google Be Allowed to Fire Employees for Their Beliefs?

Human resources expert weighs in

Google FiringThe recent controversy over the now infamous Google Memo (and the author’s subsequent firing) has many Americans wondering if free speech is allowed in the workplace. What rules govern our ability to express ourselves in the office, and was the termination of the senior software engineer fair?

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and human resources expert, says, “Google ultimately decided to fire employee James Damore because they said that his memo advanced harmful gender stereotypes, stereotypes which were offensive towards Google’s female staff and clients. However, many people are furious with Google’s decision, saying that it proves free speech is no longer allowed in the American workplace.”

Wilson further says, “Damore did not send this memo to his friends or family, or even post it on his own social media. He used company property to send this memo to his coworkers. This gives Google the grounds to fire him, as he is expressing controversial beliefs on company time and distracting his coworkers with his opinions.”

Whether or not you agree with Damore’s opinions, the fact remains employers have the right to prevent and punish speech which is political and divisive in nature. “Whether it’s an email saying nasty things about President Trump or an email complaining about diversity hiring, employees need to be cognizant of the fact that free speech does not mean freedom from consequences. If your employer finds your opinions to be distracting and offensive to other employees, they are within their rights to reprimand you for this.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

What Employers Need to Know About the Evolution of Marijuana Laws

How to make necessary changes to your employee handbooks and company policies

The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017A new congressional bill named “The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017” was just presented today by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. If passed, it would lift the federal prohibition on the substance. 26 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. This number is only expected to grow as more patients turn to this treatment and as marijuana is being approved as treatment for more conditions, such as PTSD.  But, if The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 is passed, how should employers tackle this issue in the workplace?

Rob Wilson, human resources and employment expert and President of Employco USA, says, “The federal government still classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 substance, which is the same class as heroin and ecstasy,” he says. “However, many states now permit the use of marijuana, either medically or recreationally. This leads to very murky waters for employers, especially as some states prohibit the discrimination of employees with a medical marijuana card, while other states do not.”

So what should an employer do to navigate this issue?

First, Wilson advises employers to get familiar with their state’s specific legislation. He also says, “If your employees are part of a collective bargaining unit, then it is likely that drug stipulations already exist, including specific limits for drug use. For example, in a recent case, an employee was found to be under the influence while on the job, but he claimed his medical marijuana card gave him permission to use while working. However, a drug test revealed that he was 10 times above his prescribed limit.”

For this reason, Wilson stresses that employers should not just rely on the results of a rapid drug test, as these results do not hold well in a court of law. “If you live in a state such as Illinois that does not permit the discrimination of employees who use medical marijuana, then you should definitely send the drug test results out to a lab in order to back up any fears that an employee might be using more than he should. However, if you live in a pass/fail state, this won’t be necessary.” Continue reading