California Senate Rejects Workers’ Compensation Proposal

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Senate on Thursday rejected a bill aimed at making it easier for health care employees to have hospitals pay their medical bills related to COVID-19 and other diseases that may have been contracted on the job — a move business groups said would have cost them too much money.

Companies pay their workers’ medical bills if they get sick or injured while on the job. In some cases, workers must prove their injury or illness is work-related to get the benefits. Last year, the California Legislature passed a law that assumed COVID-19 was work-related, shifting the burden to employers to prove it wasn’t.

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

That law is scheduled to expire in 2023. A bill by Sen. Dave Cortese, a Democrat from San Jose, would have made it permanent. It would have also added other presumptions to the workers’ compensation law for hospital workers, including cancer under some circumstances, post traumatic stress disorder, certain respiratory diseases and muscle or ligament injuries.

The bill had to pass the Senate by Friday to have a chance at becoming law this year. But it fell short on Thursday before the Senate adjourned for the week. Lawmakers are not meeting Friday.

Cortese on Thursday agreed to change the bill to remove respiratory illnesses such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But it wasn’t enough to get the bill passed.

Cortese said his goal was to give hospital workers, of whom he says 90% are women, the same protections as other medical professions, including emergency medical technicians.

“It really comes down to equal work, equal compensation,” he said.

Business groups, led by the California Chamber of Commerce, opposed the bill, labeling it a “job killer.”

“Such a drastic shift in the law will create an astronomical financial burden on healthcare employers and the system, creating an appreciable pact on the cost of healthcare at a time when we are trying to make healthcare more affordable,” Ashley Hoffman, policy advocate for the California Chamber of Commerce, wrote in a letter to lawmakers that was signed by 35 other groups.

The bill is part of a broader discussion in California about which coronavirus modifications should continue. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he will lift most of the state’s coronavirus rules on June 15.

The state Senate passed a bill earlier this week that would let restaurants continue to serve alcohol outside. The state Assembly passed a bill that would require local governments to keep letting people comment during their meetings by telephone or the internet. Both bills still must pass the other legislative chamber and be signed by the governor before becoming law.

Written by Adam Beam, Associated Press (June 3, 2021)

https://www.westport-news.com/news/article/California-Senate-rejects-workers-compensation-16223712.php

Moody’s Says COVID Impact on Insurance was ‘Moderate’

Moody’s opinion echos that of NCCI regarding the impact of COVID on the Workers’ Compensation system. More rate decreases to come???

Neither COVID-19 nor legislation enacted because of it has seriously harmed the creditworthiness of the property and casualty insurance sector, according to a report released by Moody’s Investors Service on Friday.

Businesses have filed about 1,700 business-interruption claims because of COVID-19 shutdowns, but those cases are largely being decided in favor of insurers, Moody’s said.

“US property policies typically require direct physical loss or damage to the property for business interruption losses to be compensated,” Moody’s said. “Moreover, most policies specifically exclude coverage for losses caused by a virus or communicable disease.”

But the battle for coverage, of course, is far from over. Only 20% of the cases filed have been resolved so far.

“A handful of courts have recently ruled in favor of insured parties despite standard policy wordings,” the report says. “Additionally, court decisions are subject to appeal, a process that could take years to resolve.”

Moody’s says it believes that ultimately, policy provisions will limit insurers’ business-interruption losses is the United States.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

“Nevertheless, we expect the ongoing litigation will lead to inconsistent outcomes, appeals to higher courts, elevated legal costs, and some uncertainty on this matter for the next couple of years,” the report says.

For workers’ compensation, which makes up 14% of commercial line P&C premiums, the coronavirus pandemic has had only a “moderate” impact on claim costs, the report says. Moody’s echoed a report by the National Council on Compensation Insurance released earlier this month that said total COVID-19 workers’ comp losses amounted to $260 million in the US.

“The severity of these claims was generally low with 95% of the claims less than $10,000,” Moody’s said. “With more states enacting presumption laws in 2021, insurers will see additional claims but we expect them to be moderate.”

While the passage of presumption laws led to more claims for work comp, state lawmakers also enacted laws that limit exposure for commercial liability. Moody’s said the coronavirus liability protection for businesses that was adopted by most states is a “credit positive” for insurers.

The report says eventually, government might step in to create a public-private risk sharing agreement to cover business interruptions caused by future pandemics. Moody’s said bills were introduced in a number of states last year that would have required insurers to pay COVID-19 business-interruption claims, but none passed.

“With an eye toward future pandemics, some insurers and US legislators are considering public-private risk sharing arrangements to compensate small and large businesses for business interruption caused by pandemics,” the report says. “Common elements of these proposals are that P&C insurers would administer the coverage and assume a limited portion of the risk, while the US government would assume the bulk of the risk.”

5 Ways Cyber Business Interruptions Differ from Traditional Interruptions


Content taken from Andrew G. Simpson’s May 2021 article in the Insurance Journal and is a reformatted post

While a typical business interruption can often be a confusing insurance situation, the picture gets even muddier when it involves cyber coverage.

According to Chris Mortifoglio, who is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), understanding the “nuances and differences” of a cyber insurance business interruption exposure or claim compared to a traditional one is more important now than ever.

“I will tell you that in my experience business interruption is often the most misunderstood part of property coverage. Part of that has to do with the fact that it can be very subjective. If you have 10 accounts looking at the same set of financial data, you’ll oftentimes receive 10 different calculations or estimates of what a business interruption loss might be,” said Mortifoglio, who has been dealing with business interruption exposure assessments and claims for more than a decade as the director of forensic accounting at Procor Solutions and Consulting in New York.

A cyber business interruption risk can be difficult to estimate and manage. To further the understanding of cyber BI, Mortifoglio identified five areas where cyber BI differs from traditional BI: period of measurement; period of restoration; personnel involved; geographic constraints, and reputational risk.

1. PERIOD OF MEASUREMENT

The differences between traditional and cyber business interruption begin with the period of measurement or evaluation of lost business income, a period that typically runs shorter for cyber. The timing of a cyber incident can have a major effect on the amount of a potential loss. “Traditionally, when you have a property loss, you’re usually valuing the disruption for a period of weeks or months or years as it takes time to physically repair the property damage that was occurring,” he said. In a cyber incident, the loss may last for just a few hours or a few days. This much shorter time period requires detailed or as Mortifoglio refers to it “granular” on the impact and the disruption on a company. “This means that in order to properly evaluate cyber business interruption, you need much more granular levels of data, maybe even hourly revenue data, or certainly daily sales data, as opposed to a traditional business structure loss where, in some cases, monthly profit and loss statements are enough to evaluate the impacts of the loss,” he said. The granular data is particularly important, for example, when the business operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week making online sales. “There may be much more greater impacts, and there may be more of a need to really drill down into the disruptions that happen at different times of the day. What happened at midnight versus what happened at 8:00 am?” he explained. When comparing traditional versus cyber BI coverage, the waiting periods following an event before coverage begins are usually different as well. The waiting period for a cyber policy is often denoted in hours, whereas a traditional policy is typically for at least a few days, although it may be written as 48 hours or 72 hours, as opposed to perhaps a 12 hour waiting period for a cyber business interruption loss.

2. PERIOD OF RESTORATION

Another difference is the period of restoration. Defining the period of restoration is very important because that drives the ultimate value of a cyber business interruption loss. The period of restoration is defined as starting on the date of loss, which is the date of physical damage, and ending on the date “when the repairs should have been completed if the insured had utilized due diligence and dispatch.” That period of time is the period of time that an insurance policy will provide coverage for any loss of business income. But determining when this period starts or ends is not always easy. “When it comes to property losses, there’s usually a very clearly defined start to that business interruption period, known as the date of loss. We can define very easily what that period of indemnity is and what a potential extended period of indemnity is because it all depends on the physical damage,” he said. If a fire, earthquake or hurricane impacts an organization, it’s not hard to define when that physical damage occurred. That is the starting point for the period of restoration. However, when it comes to cyber, “there is much less certainty, not only to when a cyber event has started, but also when a cyber event ended” including when the system was repaired and there no longer is a breach. These dates are critical to figuring out the period of time that’s going to be evaluated for a cyber business interruption loss. Mortifoglio recited some questions that come up when evaluating cyber business interruption: “When did the loss start? How do we know that it started at this point in time? Was there a full disruption for an organization or just partial. For example, was it a specific system that was impacted, an email system or an accounting system that went down? And then when did this loss end?”

3. PERSONNEL INVOLVED

So in addition to requiring more and different types of data, and presenting complexities around the period of restoration, cyber business interruption also typically calls for more personnel to become involved from an organization. Mortifoglio cited a need for personnel from the risk manager and legal counsel to financial, technology and operations officers as well as others to contribute to the assessment. First and foremost is the risk manager, the “quarterback of the insurance recovery process” who is helping to manage the actual claims process once something happens, not to mention being the purchaser of the insurance on the front end. After a loss has happened, somebody from the accounting or finance department — perhaps the CFO or the controller—should be called upon to provide the financial data required to quantify any business interruption loss. In addition, it’s important to have someone from operations to assure that the full impacts of the loss are being documented and also connected to the actual financial calculation. And there’s more. “You now have to bring in more folks from your organization to help really provide the picture in the story of what happened and help to properly and accurately quantify cyber business interruption,” Mortifoglio added. This means calling in folks from the IT team to help to identify the status of the cyber incident and define the period of indemnity and the period of restoration. “That’s going to help narrow down the exact period of time that we need to evaluate from a financial perspective to quantify the loss,” he said. Also, the chief systems or technology officer may be needed to oversee data privacy and records issues that may come up in a cyber incident. The legal department may also deal with privacy issues, general legal ramifications and coverage issues, as well as interface with outside counsel brought in to help deal with a cyber breach. “The addition to these extra personnel can add to the complexity of the process,” the Procor executive said.

4. GEOGRAPHIC CONSTRAINTS

Whereas a traditional business interruption claim may be geographically constrained, the same is not always true for cyber exposure. In a traditional scenario, the property damage is contained to either a single location or region that has been hit by a widespread catastrophe. “Think of a hurricane that hit the state of Florida, and if you’re an organization that has multiple locations there, you may have multiple instances of damage. You may have multiple locations that are being impacted,” he noted. When it comes to a cyber loss, these geographic constraints do not exist and an entire organization could be impacted around the globe at the same time. “If you are an organization with a global presence and you have systems that are connecting all of your physical locations around the globe, then a cyber incident may impact you around the globe without any sort of restraints as far as geographic regions. With traditional business interruption, organizations can mitigate their risk by spreading out their operations geographically to avoid a catastrophe, really hampering the entire organization. When it comes to a cyber loss, those types of geographic constraints no longer apply,” he said. For risk mitigation purposes, Mortifoglio stressed the importance of understanding that if a global organization is running systems used by the entire workforce, all operations around the globe can be impacted immediately. “It can make it more complex because you can’t just look at a single isolated location. You have to look at the interconnectivity of your systems to see if something were to happen to them, what would the operational impacts be on your organization? And that’s what’s going to help you evaluate the potential cyber business interruption,” he said. In short, there are no geographic constraints with cyber business interruption and therefore it is harder to mitigate.

5. REPUTATIONAL RISK

Finally, cyber BI carries with it a reputational risk that traditional property business interruption does not. When there is a traditional BI loss such as a fire at a factory, customers and the general public usually do not to have any sort of reaction. Most of the time, the general public is not even aware of the fire and here is no effect on the company’s reputation. However, if a company is hacked and customer records are stolen, Mortifoglio said this can result in a “breach of trust in the public’s eye” and the reputation of an organization can be significantly harmed, often resulting in extended financial losses. In the case of a data breach, even though the system has been repaired and the breach fixed quickly, customers may be hesitant to return to do business with the organization “until they have absolute confidence that it won’t happen again. It’s hard to determine how long that might go on.” However, the forensic specialist noted, cyber business interruption policies are building in coverage to help recover any losses tied to the transitional risks, in a way that is similar to the extended period of indemnity coverage in traditional property policies. “The thought is that once a cyber incident is repaired and a breach is fixed, there may be lingering impacts due to some reputational risk” and there should be coverage there to help capture those losses, Mortifoglio said.

“The notion of implied meaning is the root of misunderstanding.”

— Eric Parslow

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10 Workplace Safety Considerations for Small Business Owners

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Content utilized to create this post was from Forbes Magazine’s Human Resources Council (includes Megan Leasher, Nicole Smartt Serres, Sameer Penakalapati, Tracy Cote, Chris Stanzione, Subhashree Chaudhuri, Courtney Peterson, Tina R. Walker, Kristin Fowler & Madhukar. Govindaraju)

The vaccines have arrived and the numbers are trending up, down and all around depending on what network your watching and who you are speaking with. The fact is small, midsize and enterprise level businesses are considering what approach they should take for getting their staff back to work in an office environment. The majority of small and mid-sized employers are looking at using a blended approach, meaning they plan on implementing more work from home flexibility with their existing in office staff. 59% of those that are working from home support a work schedule that allows working from the office and at home. We wanted to provide 10 impactful considerations for employers as they forge forward.

TEN WAYS TO CREATE A SAFE WORK ENVIRONMENT


  1. There is no one-size-fits-all approach

Have a plan that fits your cultural goals and direction. Your plan should be a blend of meeting all safety & risk management guidelines from a legal perspective along with proper consideration for what the organization and its people need.

2. Communication is not a one way street

Involve trusted staff to carry the message of your risk & safety policies. Encourage employee participation in the development process. When your employees feel that their input is valued your office will be engaged in carrying your message. Design the process to be sustainable at all levels of your organization.

3. Proper work-life balance impacts mental health

Employees may be asked to get used to another new normal. Whether that means coming back into the office on a more regular basis or permanently, try and remember that by and large employee mental wellness suffered throughout the pandemic. As you take steps to protect the safety and health of your workforce, do not overlook mental health and wellness. Everybody has unique circumstances that may adversely impact their mental well being so little adjustments like extending flexible work hours can go a long way to employee satisfaction.

4. Play by the same set of rules – that means everybody

It is easy to become disregardful of even the most sensible of guidelines that have been established for the greater good of the group. Implementing common-sense guidelines supported by your state or OSHA need to be followed by everybody. Consistency is the key for resonating the message. Send out reminders as often as necessary and echo your message firmly. Somebody who refuses to abide by clearly defined rules may need to be sent home. Be relentless about making sure everybody is playing by the same set up rules.

5. Be mindful of each other’s responsibilities

Small to mid-sized businesses need to be aware of the risk and safety management responsibilities and the varying degrees the employer and the employee are responsible for. When it comes to providing a safe working environment, provide safety options, consider alternative ways of doing a job safely, and engage employees in a mutually agreeable way. Remaining open-minded and reserving judgement is crucial as well.


6. Tap into available consultative and training resources

Shameless self-promotion is coming in five, four, three, two and one; do you have access to safety and health resources through an agency, consultant or expert… such as a Libertate Insurance for example? Inquire about the available voluminous resources that your reliable partners posses when it comes to evolving environments, laws and compliance requirements! Leverage your partnerships especially those involved in your firm’s best interest and you will be amazed at what “we”, I mean they will be able to help you with.

7. Put safety policies front and center

Do you remind employees about the ongoing safety and mask campaign? Chances are safety policies are not necessarily the primary thought running through your employees minds while racing from desk to printer and back. Your firm’s culture needs to foster regular engagement to the point it becomes second nature. Emotional intelligence goes a long way in the delivery of your message. Remind employees of the care and concern leadership has for their well being, it will be appreciated.

8. Make health and safety part of your organization’s culture

It is all of our responsibility to protect each other and minimize risks. When you see something, say something. Avoid expecting somebody else to see and say something. Every member of the organization can play an active role and should.

9. Do they understand your expectations

If you create a health and safety culture with team members that own the message and every member of the organization is singing the same safety tune, you have won the expectation battle. Do not allow the loose ends or the uninformed be the squeaky wheel. Be consistent, be vigilant and be clear about what is expected.

10. Get creative about getting input from office and field staff

Companies have implemented daily check-ins, reporting processes and employee task forces to encourage information about risk and safety to flow in daily. Create a safety game, make sure managers are listening, remember one voice and one message. Make safety and risk management happen.

Managing COVID-19 Employment Practice-Related Exposure

We found this article, made available by Insurance Journal, most informative. The original content can be accessed by clicking here.

This post is part of a series sponsored by The Hanover Insurance Group.

As the pandemic continues, we’re seeing new COVID-19-related regulations, restrictions and advisories issued and adjusted by federal, state, and local officials on a regular basis. Each jurisdiction can create and enforce its own laws, leaving many employers faced with varying—and at times conflicting—orders and guidance. This creates a decision point for employers. Which should they follow? And, how can that decision impact their business?

From decisions about workplace safety, such as personal protective equipment, visitor policies and vaccine requirements, to handling work-from-home, family, and medical leave requests, there are a lot of business issues to sort through and a great deal of exposure, which could leave them open to the threat of an employment-related lawsuit. As trusted advisers to these businesses, independent agents can help guide their clients through the maze of regulations and guidance, sharing thoughtful risk management practices and key coverages to evaluate.

Growing threat of litigation

More than 2,000 COVID-related employment lawsuits have been filed already, and the number is expected to grow as businesses respond to ever-evolving circumstances. Business leaders can prepare by educating themselves and seeking out resources and guidance to navigate health, safety, and economic issues. Whether it’s subsequent waves, a change of jurisdictional guidance and/or regulations, or the availability of a vaccine, forward -thinking leaders will be well prepared to understand the options and their impact and make informed, proactive decisions.

With the pandemic, employers should be especially mindful of the following types of employment practice claims:

  • Workplace safety: Allegations of failure to provide a safe working environment
  • Discrimination: Allegations of age and disability bias in employment termination
  • Wage and hour: Allegations of failure to pay non-exempt employees for remote work or time spent completing employer-mandated COVID-19-realted health and safety activities, such as daily screenings
  • Retaliation: Allegations of retribution for complaints about workplace safety or use of medical leave

Thoughtful risk management

With questions like ‘can employees be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine?’, ‘how do we manage continued work-from-home requests?’, ‘what accommodations should be made for employees with disabilities?’, and ‘how do we address employees’ workplace safety concerns?’, it can be difficult for businesses to know where to start. Independent agents can play an important role in helping their clients think critically about their risks and take proactive steps. Similarly, top insurance carriers understand this, and have acted to provide employers with guidance and services that can help them minimize the risk of litigation.

For example, The Hanover has negotiated agreements with leading labor and employment practices firms to offer a range of services to Hanover policyholders that can help reduce the risk of employment practice lawsuits related to COVID-19. These value-added services are offered to policyholders no cost, or at a significant discount, such as:

Holistic insurance solution

  • COVID-19 return-to-work guide, including a robust testing and screening guide, sample policy language and detailed guidance on workplace safety, disability accommodations, and more
  • Family First Coronavirus Response Act compliance assistance, including sample policies, template forms, a flowchart for managing requests and attorney consultation
  • COVID-19 online training module for employees on personal hygiene practices and more
  • A COVID-19 customer information center with key information from the CDC, EEOPC, and state-specific resources

Beyond risk management, agents can help their clients by partnering with insurance carriers that offer employment practices liability insurance that can be tailored to the needs of each business.

As businesses wonder if they have adequate insurance protection, agents can help them understand their coverage and identify possible risk areas by considering these three important factors:

  1. Definitions: As agents know, not all definitions are created equal. Carefully assess definitions of wrongful acts to ensure a business’s unique risks are covered.
  2. Who to cover: Ensure coverage applies to the acts of all individuals who work at the organization. For example, does the business use contractors?
  3. Key coverage provisions: These should include punitive damages where insurable, and coverage for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or state equivalent proceedings.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, employers face increasing risks from employment-related lawsuits. Fortunately, agents can play an important role in guiding their business clients to risk management practices and coverages that help best protect their operations, their interests, and their employees.

Reminders for you New Year’s Celebrations

Yet another post about Covid-19 safety, but this is our new normal so here we go! With the close of 2020 and all of its wonderful tidings (pun-intended), how do we safely celebrate the Hope of the New Year without bringing additional risk of Covid-19? The CDC has some pointers, check out this link for their article on “Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings.”

In Summary

If possible stay within your Risk Pod! Your Risk Pod are those that have been part of your pandemic social group and have been taking measures to reduce the spread of the virus. People that have not been a continued part of your Risk Pod add different levels of risk for exposure.

Covid-19 is mostly spread through respiratory droplets through talking, coughing or sneezing. Find out how people have been feeling before you open your home; don’t be afraid to monitor for fevers before entry.

This virus is also known to be of spread concern through contaminated surfaces and then contact made via nose, mouth or eyes. Keep cleaning supplies nearby and use them regularly.

If your celebration is a must try and schedule for an outdoor function where people can practice social distancing. Make sure ample access for hand washing is available.

Back in May of 2020 the R Naught or reproduction number (R0) of Covid-19 was between 2 and 3 for the United States meaning for each 1 person infected the virus, on average, can be spread to 2 or 3 additional people. As of December 7th the United States was reporting R0 between 1 and 1.25. We saw spikes in new cases in November. For more Covid-19 tracker information check out Covid19-projections. There is a great amount of machine learning visuals and information on the virus here.

Whatever your celebratory activities are to ring in 2021, we at Libertate Insurance hope you Have Fun and Stay Safe! Don’t kiss strangers at the Drop of the Ball! Keep your Mask On!

Celebrating Holidays Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic

‘Tis the season for holiday planning. Yet, gatherings of families and friends, crowded parties and travel may put Americans at an increased risk for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you carefully consider the spread risk of in-person holiday celebrations. Several factors contribute to COVID-19 spreading in group settings. Those include community spread of the coronavirus, event location, event duration, quantity of attendees and the locations where attendees are coming from. It’s also important to consider attendees’ behavior both prior to the gathering and during the celebration.

Before a Gathering

If you choose to attend an in-person event, consider the following tips prior to the gathering:

  • Check whether the host has steps in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Bring along supplies like extra masks, tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with people outside of your household for 14 days before the gathering.
  • Also, it’s important to stay home if you do not feel well or are at a higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

During a Gathering

Consider the following tips from the CDC to reduce your risk of being exposed to, contracting or spreading COVID-19 during an in-person event:

  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with—and be mindful in areas where it may be harder to do so, such as restrooms and eating areas.
  • Wear a mask at all times when around people who don’t live in your household.
  • Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

If you want to celebrate the holidays as safely as possible this year, consider celebrating virtually or with members of your own household.

Give Your Holiday Baking Recipes a Makeover

Food is part of holiday traditions, and your family likely looks forward to certain recipes. Luckily, there are some simple substitutes to make your favorite holiday recipes a bit healthier. Consider the following tips to transform your recipes without sacrificing flavor:

  • Fat—For baked goods, use half the butter or oil and replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana.
  • Salt—If baked goods don’t require yeast, you can reduce salt by half.
  • Sugar—Reduce the amount of sugar by one-third to one-half. Instead, add spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg—or flavorings such as vanilla or almond extract to boost sweetness.

Get creative and experiment with other ways of creating healthy recipes for your most beloved holiday tradition.

Are You Getting Enough Water?

To prevent dehydration, you need to consume adequate amounts of fluid. Dehydration can increase your risk of illnesses and cause health problems, such as fatigue and muscle weakness. According to new guidelines, men should get about 3.7 liters (15 ½ cups) of fluids each day, and women need about 2.7 liters (11 ½ cups). Remember that the water content of the foods you eat counts as well. You need to get enough water for your body to operate at its best. Make water your beverage of choice, and consider
these simple tips to help achieve your daily water intake:

  • Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.
  • Hydrate before, during and after exercise.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you for easy access during the day.
  • Choose sparkling water instead of alcoholic drinks or soft drinks.

Spicy Baked Squash

  • vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 dash salt
  • 2 Tbsp. margarine
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ginger

Preparations

Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat the baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray. Wash the squash. Cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into ½-inch slices. Place the squash on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Melt the margarine on low heat in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to the saucepan. Spread the margarine mix on the squash. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender.

Makes: 4 servings. Each serving provides 122 calories, 6 g of fat, 1 g of saturated fat, 1 g of protein, 91 mg of sodium, 19 g of carbohydrates, 7 g of total sugars and 2 g of fiber.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Happy Holidays from Libertate Insurance Services!

Employee Skills for the Post-pandemic Workplace

As the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly changed workplaces, workers’ skills have changed as well. Job skills were evolving before the pandemic, but it has prompted more change in a much quicker manner.

In fact, the number of skills required for a single job is increasing by 10% per year, according to Gartner data. In response, organizations should embrace a dynamic approach to reskilling talent in order to shift vital employee skills and help develop skills as they become relevant and necessary. Consider skills necessary to thrive in an organization, especially in relation to company modifications like remote work or operations changes.

As organizations move from their initial pandemic response plans to more sustainable operations, this article provides critical worker skills for companies to foster with both candidates and current employees.

The Skills

The skills mentioned in this section were important before the pandemic, but may not have been prioritized by many organizations. Consider pursuing and supporting the following proficiencies for potential and current employees:

  • Adaptability—Just as an organization may have quickly adapted to new ways of working and communicating, the willingness and capability to adapt will rise to the top of desired employee skills. The goal for employees is to remain functioning even when forced out of their comfort zone. If employees can excel in those environments, even better. Encourage current employees to take on stretch roles to build this skill.
  • Communication—Communication is not a new in-demand skill, but now needs to extend across platforms. Many organizations have deployed videoconferencing or collaboration tools to facilitate communication inside and outside the company. With employees working remotely, communication skills are critical for emails and virtual meetings. The goal remains to be effective and efficient, and valuable employees will be able to communicate clearly and concisely with all stakeholders. Communication is still happening, just through different channels.
  • Digital capabilities—As the world and workplace rely more on digital assets, digital skills—including programming, design, writing and coding—will be even more vital to success. The workforce should evolve as well and be comfortable with digital platforms. Tying into the communication aspect above, an employee should be open to using digital communication platforms at work and know when to use certain platforms. Organizations may invest in a variety of digital platforms to facilitate communication among employees, clients, vendors and other stakeholders. Find what’s relevant based on the company’s industry, and focus on new digital tools and skills that best support the company, clients and co-workers best.
  • Emotional intelligence—Emotional intelligence (EI) is central to both personal and professional life. It’s the capacity to differentiate, evaluate and respond while recognizing both one’s emotions and the emotions of others. EI is often a sought-after skill for leadership roles, but it is relevant in today’s workplace for all roles. Employees with higher EI typically navigate the workplace more effectively and are more resilient. The following components of EI can have a positive impact on a post-pandemic workplace:
    • Empathy is the ability to understand and feel for others, and therefore relate to them better.
    • Motivation is the ability to use internal resources to perform and strive toward goals.
    • Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand one’s behaviors and emotions.
    • Self-regulation is the ability to be in control of one’s emotions, and therefore responses.
    • Social skills are the ability to build and maintain relationships, manage conflict and work with others.

Organizations can seek out and hire candidates who strongly demonstrate these skills, but what can they do with their current workforce? Consider pushing current employees to convey or demonstrate these skills in order to leverage more work opportunities within the company. Depending on the role, that may be done through accomplishments or data. Just as organizational leadership can stay relevant by shifting to support market needs, the same flexible mindset should be present and practiced among the workforce.

Comment below on other crucials skills workers’ should possess in a post-Covid world.