Making the Business Case for Employee Well-Being

Making the Business Case for Employee Well-Being. Urban Institute. Molly M. Scott, Natalie Spievack. June 13, 2019

Businesses are beginning to move beyond traditional health insurance and retirement plans to improve employee well-being in multiple domains. The programs they offer are typically voluntary and can include financial well-being, paying for educational expenses, and on-site resource navigators who help employees address a wide range of issues. These innovative well-being benefits have the potential to make employees more engaged, less likely to miss work and make mistakes, and more inclined to protect their employers from waste or fraud. Some business case studies show that businesses with happy, healthy, and stable employees can be more profitable than their competitors. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 19 pages].

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Social Security: The Trust Funds

Social Security: The Trust Funds. Congressional Research Service. Barry F. Huston. Updated May 8, 2019

The Social Security program pays monthly cash benefits to retired or disabled workers and their family members and to the family members of deceased workers. Program income and outgo are accounted for in two separate trust funds authorized under Title II of the Social Security Act: the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. Projections show that the OASI fund will remain solvent until 2034, whereas the DI fund will remain solvent until 2052, meaning that each trust fund is projected to be able to pay benefits scheduled under current law in full and on time up to that point. Following the depletion of trust fund reserves (2052 for DI and 2034 for OASI), continuing income to each fund is projected to cover 91% of DI scheduled benefits and 77% of OASI scheduled benefits. The two trust funds are legally distinct and do not have authority to borrow from each other. However, Congress has authorized the shifting of funds between OASI and DI in the past to address shortfalls in a particular fund. Therefore, this CRS report discusses the operations of the OASI and DI trust funds on a combined basis, referring to them collectively as the Social Security trust funds. On a combined basis, the trust funds are projected to remain solvent until 2035. Following depletion of combined trust fund reserves at that point, continuing income is projected to cover 80% of scheduled benefits. 

[PDF format, 21 pages].

Medicare Primer

Medicare Primer. Congressional Research Service. Patricia A. Davis et al. Updated May 20, 2019

Medicare is a federal program that pays for covered health care services of qualified beneficiaries. It was established in 1965 under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide health insurance to individuals 65 and older, and has been expanded over the years to include permanently disabled individuals under the age of 65. Medicare, which consists of four parts (AD), covers hospitalizations, physician services, prescription drugs, skilled nursing facility care, home health visits, and hospice care, among other services. Generally, individuals are eligible for Medicare if they or their spouse worked for at least 40 quarters in Medicare-covered employment, are 65 years old, and are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Individuals may also qualify for coverage if they are a younger person who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death, or have end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant). The program is administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and by private entities that contract with CMS to provide claims processing, auditing, and quality oversight services.

[PDF format, 43 pages].

A Universal EITC: Sharing the Gains from Economic Growth, Encouraging Work, and Supporting Families

A Universal EITC: Sharing the Gains from Economic Growth, Encouraging Work, and Supporting Families. Urban Institute. Leonard E. Burman. May 20, 2019

This report analyzes a straightforward mechanism to mitigate middle-class wage stagnation: a wage tax credit of 100 percent of earnings up to a maximum credit of $10,000, called a universal earned income tax credit. The child tax credit would increase from $2,000 to $2,500 and be made fully refundable. A broad-based, value-added tax of 11 percent would finance the new credit. The proposal is highly progressive and would nearly end poverty for families headed by a full-time worker. This report compares the proposal with current law, analyzes its economic effects, compares it to alternative reform options, and considers some complementary policy options. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 48 pages].

Growing Cities That Work For All: A Capability-Based Approach To Regional Economic Competitiveness

Growing Cities That Work For All: A Capability-Based Approach To Regional Economic Competitiveness. Brookings Institution. Marcela Escobari et al. May 21, 2019.

Although today’s U.S. labor market is strong and unemployment is low, many working-age American remain marginalized. As communities across the country grapple with the challenges of an ever-evolving labor market, this report provides a framework for local leaders to grow good jobs through industrial development strategies that are based on their regions’ unique capabilities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 52 pages].

Evaluation of North Carolina’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Program

Evaluation of North Carolina’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Program. RAND Corporation. Lois M. Davis, Michelle C. Tolbert. May 22, 2019

RAND researchers focus on North Carolina’s implementation of the Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project. They examine the in-prison and community components of the program and the experiences of Pathways students and staff. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 112 pages].

A Rising Share of Undergraduates Are From Poor Families, Especially at Less Selective Colleges

A Rising Share of Undergraduates Are From Poor Families, Especially at Less Selective Colleges. Pew Research Center. Richard Fry and Anthony Cilluffo. May 22, 2019.

The overall number of undergraduates at U.S. colleges and universities has increased dramatically over the past 20 years, with growth fueled almost exclusively by an influx of students from low-income families and students of color. But these changes are not occurring uniformly across the postsecondary landscape. The rise of poor and minority undergraduates has been most pronounced in public two-year colleges and the least selective four-year colleges and universities, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of National Center for Education Statistics data. There has been less change at the nation’s more selective four-year colleges and universities, where a majority of dependent undergraduates continue to be from middle- and higher-income families. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 18 pages].