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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The U.S. Labor Market in 2050: Supply, Demand and Policies to Improve Outcomes

The U.S. Labor Market in 2050: Supply, Demand and Policies to Improve Outcomes. Brookings Institution. Harry J. Holzer. May 31, 2019

Current estimates suggest that over the coming decades, slower population growth and lower labor force participation will constrain the supply of labor in the U.S. The U.S. labor force will also become more diverse as immigration and fertility trends increase the size of minority populations. New forms of automation will likely require workers to adapt to keep their old jobs, while many will be displaced or face less demand for their work (while others benefit). Firms will continue to implement alternative staffing arrangements, like turning workers into independent contractors or outsourcing their human resource management to other firms; and many will adopt “low-road” employment practices to keep labor costs low. Exactly whom these changes will benefit or harm remains unclear, the author finds, though non-college workers will likely fare the worst; higher productivity from new technologies and reduced labor supply could raise average wages, but many workers will clearly be worse off. According to the author, policymakers should provide incentives for firms to train current employees, rather than replace them, and should encourage schools and colleges to teach flexible, transferable skills, as the future workforce will likely need to adapt quickly to new and changing job requirements. Lifelong learning accounts for workers could help. Expanding wage insurance and improving unemployment insurance and workforce services could help workers adapt after suffering job displacement. Policies that make work pay, like the EITC, and others designed to increase labor force attachment, like paid family leave, could help mitigate declines in the labor force. Reforms in immigration and retirement policy will help as well, as would policy experimentation at the state and local level (with federal support). [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 51 pages].

Leading by Example: Public Sector Apprenticeships in Kentucky

Leading by Example: Public Sector Apprenticeships in Kentucky. Urban Institute. Robert I. Lerman, John Marotta, Myca San Miguel. March 8, 2019

While the US government sector employs about 15 percent of nonfarm workers, federal, state, and local governments have not made substantial use of apprenticeships to enhance the skills of their workforce, increase productivity, and widen access to government positions. This report examines steps undertaken by Kentucky to build talent for state government through apprenticeship. The early outcomes are promising: departments can adopt and register apprenticeships quickly, employers are pleased with the productive contributions of apprentices, and apprentices recognize they are gaining valuable skills. The success of departments adopting apprenticeships bodes well for the expansion to other areas. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 58 pages].

Enhancing Work Incentives for Older Workers: Social Security and Medicare Proposals to Reduce Work Disincentives

Enhancing Work Incentives for Older Workers: Social Security and Medicare Proposals to Reduce Work Disincentives. Brookings Institution. Robert L. Clark and John B. Shoven. January 31, 2019

The American population is aging; and as a result, a larger share of the actual and potential labor force is now age 55 years and over. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the proportion of the labor force age 55 and over rose from 11.9 percent in 1994 to 21.7 percent in 2014, and the bureau projects that it will increase to 24.8 percent by 2024. The increasing share of the labor force age 55 and older is driven in part by the aging of the population; however, another important component is the substantial increase in the labor force participation rate among older cohorts. The participation rate of individuals age 55 and older rose from 30.1 percent in 1994 to 40.0 percent in 2014. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages].

Building beyond Policing: A Case Study of Eden Night Live in Alameda County, California

Building beyond Policing: A Case Study of Eden Night Live in Alameda County, California. Urban Institute. Cameron Okeke. September 25, 2018

 Key takeaway: How community parties have helped California sheriffs rethink public safety

This report describes how the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office used Eden Night Live, a community festival and pop-up marketplace, to creatively reimagine and rebuild community-police relations in Ashland/Cherryland. Through interviews with officers, community members, and staff, this case study examines how artistic performance, community participation, and community-based economic development can build local commerce, foster community cohesion, and change perceptions of public safety. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 42 pages].

Increasing Access to Quality Child Care for Four Priority Populations

Increasing Access to Quality Child Care for Four Priority Populations. Urban Institute. Julia R Henly, Gina Adams. October 9, 2018

 In recent decades, policymakers have increasingly focused on the importance of high-quality child care and early education services in supporting the development of low-income children. Though high-quality early care and education (ECE) can exist in any setting—including child care centers and home-based licensed and license-exempt settings—the emphasis on high-quality ECE services often translates into a singular focus on investing public funds in formal settings, especially center-based programs.

This report explores the implications of this trend in the context of the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). It focuses on four priority populations: families with parents working nontraditional schedules, families with infants and toddlers, families living in rural areas, and families with children with disabilities and special needs. The center-based market is ill prepared to meet the needs of these four populations, yet together they make up a majority of low-income children with working parents and are a priority for the CCDBG.

The report provides data on the number of low-income children in each state who fall into these categories (except families with children who have special needs) and the proportion of those receiving subsidies who are cared for in child care centers. It also discusses the barriers to care for these populations, lays out state policy strategies to increase access to high-quality care across the full range of settings for these children, and highlights key gaps in our knowledge as to how to best support access to quality for these families. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 82 pages].

Labor Market Patterns since 2007

Labor Market Patterns since 2007. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.  Sarah A. Donovan, Marc Labonte. October 3, 2018

The period since 2007 has been a time of significant change for labor markets. The Great Recession of 2007-2009, the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression, caused the unemployment rate to briefly reach 10%, and labor markets have subsequently experienced a long and gradual recovery. Most labor force metrics, including the unemployment rate and various other measures of labor force underutilization, have returned to levels that have historically been consistent with full employment.

 [PDF format, 26 pages].