Employees are walking away from their employers in record numbers; some are calling it the “Great Resignation.” A Prudential survey conducted toward the end of 2021 found that 46% of workers were actively seeking or considering finding a new job, and labor statistics backed those findings. According to the U.S. Labor Department, approximately 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in November 2021, setting a new record.
This might appear like welcome news for employers looking to hire—greater unemployment means more potential job candidates. However, confoundingly, there were still around 1.5 available jobs for each unemployed person near the end of 2021, according to USA Today. And, for the last six months of the year, job openings posted by employers topped 10 million, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
This information helps illustrate the key problem employers face right now: Workers are willing to quit jobs—and turn down open positions—that don’t satisfy their needs. Expanding employee benefits offerings is one of the best ways employers can show they provide workers with more than just a paycheck. The following are some of the most attractive perks employers are using to strengthen their attraction and retention efforts:
On March 14, 2022, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new set of frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new FAQs discuss how certain employment actions based on an employee’s need to protect or care for another person may violate federal fair employment laws enforced by the EEOC. Among others, these laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Caregivers and Protected Traits
Although EEOC-enforced laws do not prohibit employment discrimination based solely on an employee’s caregiving status, they do prohibit employers from taking adverse actions based on certain “protected traits,” even where those actions are well-intentioned. These laws also prohibit discrimination based on a protected trait of an individual for whom an employee provides care. Protected traits include race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age (40 or older), disability and genetic information.
In general, there is no requirement for employers to accommodate an employee’s caregiving duties under EEOC-enforced laws. However, other laws (such as the Family and Medical Leave Act) may require leave or other adjustments. Employers may also choose to provide accommodations for caregiving duties, as long they do so consistently and without discriminatory intent or effect based on a protected trait.
Additional Guidance on Caregiver Discrimination
The new FAQs supplement the EEOC’s existing policy guidance, fact sheet and best practices document for employers, all of which discuss caregiver discrimination in a range of circumstances beyond the pandemic.