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  • Thu, July 27, 2023 1:29 PM | Anonymous

    The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury proposed rules that would ensure that people seeking coverage for mental health and substance use disorder care can access treatment as easily as people seeking coverage for medical treatments. “Mental health care is as important to the well-being of America’s workers as physical health care,” Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su said at a White House event highlighting the importance of mental health care.  DOL’s proposal is pursuant to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (passed in 2008) which aims to make sure people seeking mental health and substance use disorder care do not face greater barriers to treatment than those faced by people seeking treatment for medical and surgical conditions. Generally, the act prohibits private health insurance companies from imposing copayments, prior authorization and other requirements on mental health or substance use disorder benefits that are more restrictive than those imposed on medical and surgical benefits.

    The proposed rules seek to fully protect the rights of people seeking mental health and substance use disorder benefits and provide clear guidance to plans and issuers on how to comply with the law’s requirements. In developing their proposals, the departments drew from their combined and individual experiences in enforcing the act and in working with plans and issuers, as well as state regulators.

    Learn more about the proposed rules to improve mental health and addiction care access

  • Tue, July 18, 2023 3:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Past speaker at a CIRT Conference, Daniel Groves (Construction Industry Resources), has just recently completed a skilled labor market analysis for Arizona and the Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff MSAs. The report projects labor cost growth through 2028 and examines several key labor issues – project spending and timing, skilled craft market volatility, supply insufficiency, and cost escalation – for the industrial construction market.

    Across the United States, construction spending and corresponding skilled labor demand is producing a shortage environment which is increasing competition for limited supply and appears destined to last for an extended period of time. The Arizona construction market is equally stressed, driving a surge in demand for skilled labor that creates project uncertainty. If you are in this geographic market, or are considering it, the report will heighten your knowledge of the regional labor market to ensure you aren't surprised by what's ahead during planning and execution – or when bidding on a project in the state.

    For more information on how to purchase this analytics report on labor market conditions in portions of Arizona, go to: www.ciranalytics.com

  • Thu, June 08, 2023 4:44 PM | Anonymous

    Outdoor workers in the Northeast United States and other areas concerned about exposure to wildfire smoke can find information and resources on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health website. Also, OSHA has additional resources on wildfire emergency preparedness, response and recovery operations; for those interested in obtaining a full picture of materials available.

  • Tue, May 16, 2023 12:26 PM | Anonymous

    As part of its focus during May, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an initiative to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees. Historically OSHA has approached its mission by focusing on physical hazards in workplaces, things you can see and measure. But in today's work environment, it requires a broader approach that includes both traditional occupational safety and health and paying attention to the huge impact of mental health on workers' well-being as well.

    According to data, work-related stress is a significant problem in the United States:

    • 83% of workers report suffering from work-related stress.
    • Work-related stress has been reported to cause 120,000 deaths each year.
    • For every $1 spent on ordinary mental health concerns, employers see a $4 return in productivity.

    For more information on OSHA Resources, Programs, and Initiative, go to:  (a) Department of Labor launched an initiative to help employers talk with workers about workplace stress, mental health and substance use; and (b) to see what OSHA and the Georgia Mental Health Alliance are up to by encouraging employers to hold safety stand-downs during May to promote mental health awareness.  [Click on blue highlighted words/phrases for links].

  • Thu, May 04, 2023 12:57 PM | Anonymous

    With May being designated Mental Health Awareness Month, the focus is on understanding wellness at work. Given more than 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. live with a mental illness, the Department of Labor (DoL) is seeking to supply resources to help the effort to address this matter. Check out these materials if you are looking for more/additional items for your efforts:

  • Tue, September 13, 2022 1:14 PM | Anonymous

    In the summer of 2022, the @ACEMentor Program of America placed more than 500 high school students in paid externships with architecture, construction, and engineering firms across the country as a part of the ACE Mentor Summer Workplace Experience (SWE) program.  READ MORE.

    During CIRT's upcoming Fall Conference, industry leaders Dan Johnson (CEO of Mortenson) and Mike Choutka (CEO of Hensel Phelps) will share their companies' experiences becoming "Transformative Partners" with the ACE Mentor Program of America to provide a pathway for students from high school to the AEC industry and ensuring that those students actually finish their secondary education.

  • Thu, September 30, 2021 12:12 PM | Anonymous

    An important new study related to mental health issues vs. the willingness to discuss such matters was released today by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). 

    The attached summary of the report raises this matter at a time when the construction workforce is afflicted with the second highest suicide rate among major industries.   Also available from the APA for firms is NOTICE. TALK. ACT.® at Work, an e-learning training for managers on supporting employees’ mental health needs.

    New Report: In Construction Industry, Concern for Mental Health Is High,

    But Willingness to Discuss Mental Health is Low

    • 93% of all survey respondents recognize addressing mental health at work as a sound business practice, and among presidents, CEOs, and owners, 77% indicated it was prioritized at work.
    • When asked if workers were likely to seek needed mental health care, only 26% indicated they believed workers were likely to seek care, whereas nearly half did not know (43%) and nearly a third said workers were unlikely to (31%).
    • Overall, respondents said their organizations make supervisor training (25%) or employee training (25%) available; 69% identified supervisor training as most helpful and 66% identified training for employees as most helpful.
    • When asked whether workers would openly discuss mental health with supervisors, only 17% responded they would, 37% indicated they would not, and almost half of respondents (46%) were either undecided or did not know. APA polling of the general public from earlier this year shows a dramatic contrast: nearly 56% in that poll indicated they’d be comfortable discussing mental health with their supervisors.
    • Similarly, when asked whether workers would openly discuss mental health with co-workers, only 18% agreed, 31% disagreed, and more than half (51%) were either undecided or did not know. This also indicates a contrast with the APA public polling where 56% of respondents indicated they’d be comfortable talking about mental health with colleagues.
    The top four reasons for that reticence, according to those polled were:
    • Shame and stigma (78%)
    • Fear of judgment by peers (77%)
    • Fear of negative consequences (55%)
    • Don’t know how to access care (46%)
    The American Psychiatric Association Foundation is the philanthropic and educational arm of APA. The APA Foundation promotes awareness of mental illnesses and the effectiveness of treatment, the importance of early intervention, access to care, and the need for high-quality services and treatment through a combination of public and professional education, research, research training, grants, and awards.
    The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with 37,400 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.

    APA Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health Partners with Construction Financial Management Association, CSDZ and Holmes Murphy to Combat Stigma

    Washington, D.C. (Sept. 30, 2021)—As the pandemic continues to impact the economy and mental health of many workers, construction experiences the second highest rate of suicide among major industries. A new survey of the construction workforce from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health, the Construction Financial Management Association, CSDZ and Holmes Murphy, calls attention to this issue and offers insights during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

    The online 20-question survey was launched in March 2021, and was answered by 1,175 respondents. It was distributed in all regions of the country by the four sponsoring organizations, along with state chapters of national construction trade associations, labor unions, and joint labor-management benefit trusts. Of the primary job function reported by respondents, 29% were “CFOs, Controllers or Financial Professionals,” 22% were in “Safety/Risk Management,” and 16% were “CEOs, Presidents, and Owners.”

    Among the key findings:

    “The stark differences in the level of comfort just talking about mental health in this industry tells us that we have a ways to go in fighting stigma and giving managers the tools they need to support worker mental health,” said Darcy Gruttadaro, J.D., Director of the APAF Center for Workplace Mental Health.  “The good news from these results is that the top-line management in construction are paying attention, and with leaders like CFMA, Holmes Murphy and CSDZ in our corner, we will continue our work in supporting the creation of mentally healthy organizational cultures, ending stigma, and improving access to effective and timely care for mental health and substance use conditions.”

    “I’m pleased that senior leadership in our industry took the time to participate in this survey. These findings, recommendations and resources will help maintain the industry’s momentum of addressing mental health and wellbeing, including suicide prevention, a topic we have been advocating on behalf of for the last six years,” said Stuart Binstock, President & CEO of the Construction Financial Management Association.

    “Holmes Murphy and CSDZ are proud to be co-sponsors of this survey. We recognize the challenges that so many are facing at an organizational and employee level. The final report provides insights and perspectives to help industry stakeholders reduce barriers and improve access to care for construction workers and dependents through company or union-sponsored health plans,” said Cal Beyer, Vice President of Workforce Risk and Worker Wellbeing for CSDZ, a Holmes Murphy company.

    For organizations and businesses seeking help in supporting the mental health of their workforce, APA Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health provides tools, resources and information, and has recently issued toolkits and webinars on COVID-19, remote work and more. The Center recently released NOTICE. TALK. ACT.® at Work, an e-learning training for managers on supporting employees’ mental health needs.

    American Psychiatric Association Foundation

    American Psychiatric Association

  • Thu, March 11, 2021 3:14 PM | Anonymous

    Congress just passed the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” (ARPA), and have sent it on to the President for his expected signature. The bill includes significant employee benefits related provisions including a federal subsidy that will cover 100% of the cost of COBRA continuation coverage for up to 6 months for individuals who have had an involuntary termination of employment or reduction in hours. The bill also includes an increase in the amount an employee can elect to contribute tax-free to a Section §129 Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP).

    [For details: Read the full RCM&D alert here]. 

  • Mon, March 01, 2021 1:25 PM | Anonymous

    According to a new survey conducted by Oasis, a Human Resources (HR) services provider, ensuring a safe work environment amid COVID-19 is the top priority among business leaders/CEOs. The emphasized on “workplace safety” has overtaken other critical business considerations such as: talent acquisition and professional development. Oasis, a Paychex® Company, conducted its national survey of 300 business leaders who employed 5 to 99 employees from a broad cross-section of industries. The results are now available in its white paper 2021 Priorities for Business Leaders: A U.S. Survey.

    The shifting of priorities appears to be due to COVID-19, thus pushing “talent acquisition” from the top of the list—a spot it has held for the past 2 years. The new top five priorities as identified by CEOs are:

    • Ensuring a safe workplace in light of COVID-19: 36%
    • Offering competitive compensation and benefits (including employee assistance programs): 31%
    • Developing employees and future leaders for succession: 29%
    • Attracting strong, competent management and dedicated, capable staff: 28%
    • Maintaining ongoing regulatory compliance: 28%
    According to Oasis president, Teresa Carroll, “No matter the industry they serve, all businesses have had to adapt to new regulations and local and state mandates as the pandemic evolves. Likewise, whether employees have faced cutbacks or mental health challenges brought on by the pandemic, all workers have been impacted. In turn, this has brought workforce management and overall physical, financial, mental, and social employee wellness front and center among business leaders’ list of priorities.”
    [SEE, Oasis
    press release for more details].
  • Mon, March 01, 2021 1:23 PM | Anonymous

    Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance titled “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.”  The new guidance, which is advisory, addresses not only some of the more commonplace safety practices (such as mask wearing, etc.) but also other employment policies and practices not as readily associated with workplace safety. HR legal experts are advising employers when you are updating or implementing new policies related to topics such as vaccines, COVID-19-related leave, and antiretaliation policies, you should include in your analysis the impact of the guidance on your policies and their potential impact on workplace safety.

    Much of OSHA’s recent COVID-19 guidance involves practices that are now commonplace: maintaining social distance, wearing face coverings, practicing good hygiene, and disinfecting regularly. However, the new guidance also recommends additional practices to help maximize the effectiveness of employers’ current procedures. For example, the new guidance focuses on:

    • Hazard assessments to pinpoint employees’ specific safety needs;
    • Ensuring employee input into needed procedures because they are often in the best place to point out hazards specific to their own working conditions;
    • Ensuring safety procedures are communicated effectively—meaning they are widely available in formats employees understand (i.e., American Sign Language, non-English spoken languages);
    • Appointment of an individual “point-person” to be responsible for COVID-19 on the employer’s behalf;
    • Adoption of policies that reduce negative impacts on employees missing work due to COVID-19; and
    • Implementation of protections that reassure employees they won’t be retaliated against if they raise questions or concerns with workplace safety procedures.
    [For details see, Sara T. Quinn’s, Esq., Butler Snow LLP, article: OSHA Guidance Touches on More Than Masks, Distancing - HR Daily Advisor (blr.com)]

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