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Health Insurance Coverage Stats

Premiums moderate, but continue to outpace earnings

Healthcare premium increases have moderated in recent years, but the rate of increase in premiums continues to outpace employee earnings and inflation. The 20th annual Kaiser Family Foundation report on Health Insurance Premiums and Worker Contributions indicates an average 3% increase in single premiums for 2018 and a 5% increase in family premiums. The report surveys private and non-federal public employers with three or more workers.

On average, most covered workers contribute 18% of the premium for single coverage and 29% of the premium for family coverage. Average annual family premiums are $18,739 for smaller firms and $19,972 for larger companies. Average dollar amounts contributed by covered workers are $5,547 for family coverage and $1,186 for single coverage.

Kaiser Health Benefits Survey Graph

57% of firms offer health benefits to at least some of their workers and 53% of workers are covered under company plans. Among larger companies, with more than 50 employees, 89% are offered health benefits. 97% of small firms and 99% of larger companies offer coverage to spouses of eligible workers.

Source:

2018 Employer Health Benefits Survey, Kaiser Family Foundation, 10/3/18.

EEOC now says it IS having a #MeToo spike

MeToo text

How quickly things change!

Late last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released preliminary numbers on sexual harassment for Fiscal Year 2018, which ended September 30. Here is what the agency says:

*There was a 12 percent increase in charges alleging sexual harassment in FY 2018 versus FY 2017. This doesn’t sound outlandish to me, but I’m surprised because only about a month ago Commissioner Chai Feldblum was quoted as saying that the EEOC had had about a 3 percent increase in sexual harassment charges since #MeToo. Before that, the EEOC was saying that it hadn’t seen any increase.

*The agency recovered $70 million “through litigation and administrative enforcement” in FY 2018, compared with only $47.5 million in FY 2017. This is a dramatic increase, but it does not surprise me. In light of #MeToo, I am sure that many employers were anxious to resolve sexual harassment charges quickly and may have been willing to pay more to get ’em done.

*The agency filed 41 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment in FY 2018. The EEOC claims this is a 50 percent increase over the prior fiscal year, but I can’t tell whether this is a 50 percent increase in sexual harassment lawsuits. The EEOC’s wording is imprecise:

The EEOC filed 66 lawsuits challenging workplace harassment, 41 of which alleged sexual harassment. This is more than a 50 percent increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over FY 2017.

What does “This” refer to? And what type of lawsuit in FY 2017 is the comparator?

That said, employment lawyers know that the EEOC filed a flurry of sexual harassment lawsuits shortly before FY 2018 ended. In fact, the word on the street is that the agency may have had a “quota.” Whether these lawsuits have more merit than sexual harassment lawsuits that the EEOC has filed in the past remains to be seen.

It’s important to note that the EEOC normally releases its official charge and litigation statistics early in the calendar year following the end of its fiscal year. Which means the real numbers for FY 2018 probably won’t be available until January or February 2019.

Although the numbers released last week are preliminary and perhaps subject to refinement, it does appear that the long-dreaded #MeToo “uptick” in charges may be occurring and that the EEOC is more willing to sue than it was in the past. So, employers, beware.

This article was originally posted in the Constangy, Brooks, Smith, and Prophete, LLP Employment and Labor Insider Blog. Republished with permission.

Politics and Political Donations in the Workplace

With the midterm elections around the corner, HR professionals are again faced with the thorny problem of politics in the workplace.  In a recent article on the ADP Spark blog, author David Rodeck clarifies a few of the most controversial issues surrounding political expression and solicitation of political donations in the workplace.

Here are the salient points:

  1. Generally, private sector employers may limit political discussions in the workplace. Rules should be incorporated in a workplace policy and applied consistently to all employees.
  2. Policy should also exist that covers workplace solicitation, for political and other causes.
  3. The 2010 Citizens United case removed limits on corporate political spending and affirmed the “personhood” of corporations and corporations’ right to free speech. Corporations may solicit political donations from employees, but participation must be voluntary. Retaliation against employees who fail to participate is prohibited by law.

Apart from the legal aspects of political activity in the workplace, it’s important to consider the wisdom of organizationally-sponsored political expression. In a large organization, employees’ political beliefs can span a wide spectrum. Too much politics in the workplace can create polarization and discord and can be counterproductive to morale and organizational interests.

Source:

Rodeck, David, Political Donations in the Workplace: What’s Allowed, What’s Not? ADP Spark, 9/25/18.

Note: Articles published or cited in the GEA newsletter are informational and not intended as legal advice. GEA recommends that you consult a legal professional for assistance with your workplace policies.