Hiring Picks Up in the USA

The number of unemployment-benefit recipients is falling at a faster rate in Missouri and 21 other states are canceling enhanced and extended payments this month. This suggests that ending the aid could push more people to take jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Federal pandemic aid bills boosted unemployment payments by $300 a person each week, and extended those payments for as long as 18 months; well longer than the typical 26 weeks or less.

The extended benefits are set to expire in early September, but states can opt out before then.

  • Organizations need to gear up their hiring between now and October to take advantage of the influx of new potential applicants.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said the benefits were helpful during the height of the pandemic, but their continuation has “worsened the workforce issues we are facing.”

The 21 states that have ended, or will end the beefed-up payments in June, saw a 13.8% drop since mid-May in the number of people receiving unemployment benefits. The four states planning to end the benefits in July and September saw 10% and 5.7% drops, respectively, the Journal said, citing an analysis by Jefferies LLC.

The additional payments may have contributed to a labor shortage, those in favor of cutting the benefits have said, while others argue other economic and pandemic-related issues are keeping people out of work, according to the WSJ. Both are probably true.

Workers may still receive unemployment benefits on their states’ programs when the additional payments end in September.

Several states are offering payouts to workers who accept jobs and complete an allotted number of weeks as an employee as part of an effort to whittle down the reliance on the federal program.

178 Workers Suspended for Refusing COVID-19 Vaccination

Workers at a hospital in Houston, TX have been suspended, and could potentially be fired, due to a company mandate requiring all hospital employees to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. This mandate has sparked protests from employees who have been suspended.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom said the 178 workers represent less than 1% of almost 25,000 employees.

“We are nearly 100% compliant with our COVID-19 vaccine mandate,” Bloom said in an email to staff Tuesday. “Houston Methodist is officially the first hospital system in the country to achieve this goal for the benefit of its patients.”

Bloom said 27 of the 178 suspended workers have received one dose of vaccine, and that he is hopeful they will get the second dose. All are suspended for two weeks and are set to be fired if they fail to be fully vaccinated.

“I wish the number could be zero, but unfortunately, a small number of individuals have decided not to put their patients first,” Bloom said.

An additional 285 employees received a medical or religious exemption, and 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other reasons.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued guidance saying employers have the right to require COVID-19 vaccination, citing a “direct threat” to others in the workplace.

Bloom said the science, along with data from 300 million doses already distributed in the U.S. alone, proves the vaccines are safe and necessary “if we are going to turn the corner against COVID-19.”

The number of positive cases and hospitalizations continue to drop across the nation continue to decline, he said, proving the vaccines’ effectiveness.

Houston Methodist isn’t the only place requiring vaccines, though. Hundreds of colleges, universities, nursing homes and hospitals are requiring staff and students to be vaccinated. These mandates have been challenged by some and praised by others, which is to be expected as the world recovers and opens up again.

Employees Enjoy Pay On Demand

700 employees at an agency based in Nebraska are enjoying using Pay On Demand with Agency Workforce Management. Pay On Demand was implemented at the agency in March 2019.

Since then, 56% of employees have enrolled (no fee to enroll), and 149 employees used Pay On Demand in the last pay period (21% of all employees).

There were over 350 transactions in the last pay period (small fee paid by employee), meaning in total about $50,000 was advanced to employees and then automatically deducted from their regular payroll check

Employees have responded positively to Pay On Demand, even though they pay a small transaction fee for using it. Employees mainly rely on Pay On Demand to pay for unexpected bills.

The customer thinks Pay On Demand helps with retention, although with Covid-19 in 2020 it is hard to measure the difference as retention improved for other reasons as well.

MITC Time and Attendance automatically updates the Pay On Demand service daily with completed hours. To learn more, download our Pay On Demand ebook.

The Secret to Time and Attendance Compliance

Many providers using time and attendance struggle to get staff to clock-in and out consistently. Among providers using Agency Workforce Management the average amount of staff compliance is about 85%, but that means a good percentage of providers are below 80%.

Less than 80% equals a lot of edits, busy work, and potential timesheet fraud. Plus, with EVV regulations, reimbursements could be delayed or an audit triggered.

MITC interviewed a provider in Eastern Pennsylvania, who is doing well, to find out their secret. 

The agency currently employs over 600 staff providing HCBS, Group Home and Day services to individuals. Ten years ago, the provider decided to give up on paper time sheets and implement an automated time and attendance system. At that point in time all staff used the telephone to clock-in/out and employee self-service was non-existent. Today, staff use a mixture of telephone and internet devices, like smart phones. Self-service was introduced some years ago.

So What Does This Agency Do Differently?

  1. Staff can use both telephone and smart phones. Giving staff a choice eliminates a lot of reasons such as, “I forgot my iPhone”, “the internet was down”, or “someone was using the computer”. Once bad habits start, they spread.
  2. The agency encourages staff to use self-service. On average, staff use self-service 54 times a month to check their timesheet, request edits, fix missing records, and request PTO. Over 13,000 PTO requests were managed in 2020 at an average of nearly 2 requests per month per employee. The more employees use the system, the more they rely on it and understand how it works.
  3. The agency believes in always empowering staff to track their own time, and having strong communication at all levels. Staff are trained on clocking-in, in real time, and managers on how to take care of staff requests. By keeping administration out of the loop, employees and managers become used to fixing their own issues and minimizing busy work.
  4. Employees understand that their timesheet needs to be correct to get paid correctly and it is on them to get it right.

This system not only works for the agency, but it has improved overall operations. To learn more about how your agency can take the next step towards time and attendance compliance, email us at agencysuccessteam@mitcsoftware.com.