The Evolution of Private Sector Retirement Income From Defined-Benefit Pensions to Target-Date 401(k) Plans

Source: John G. Kilgour, Compensation & Benefits Review, OnlineFirst, Published July 19, 2019

From the https://doi.org/10.1177/0886368719864480:
Traditional employer-sponsored defined-benefit pension plans in the private sector that provided lifetime benefits have declined precipitously since 1985. They have been largely replaced by Section 401(k) plans in which investment control, market risk and longevity risk have been transferred from the employer to the participant. Most participants opted for the low-yielding money market plan default option, which proved inadequate for providing viable retirement income. The Pension Reform Act of 2006 made two important changes to 401(k) plans: (1) allowed automatic enrollment and (2) allowed target-date funds as a “qualified default investment alternative.” This article examines the evolution from defined-benefit pensions to target-date funds and the closely related collective investment trusts.

Evaluating the Effects of Childcare Policies on Children’s Cognitive Development and Maternal Labor Supply

Source: Andrew S. Griffen, Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 54 no. 3, Summer 2019
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From the abstract:
To explore the role of childcare policies in the development of early cognitive skills, this paper jointly estimates a cognitive achievement production function and a dynamic, discrete choice model of maternal labor supply and childcare decisions. Using counterfactuals from the model, I investigate how the designs of two childcare programs, Head Start and childcare subsidies, affect the formation of cognitive skills through maternal work and childcare decisions. The results suggest large impacts on cognitive skills from expanding Head Start to current noneligibles and negligible impacts of subsidies on cognitive skills of current eligibles.

Voices from an age of uncertain work – Americans miss stability and a shared sense of purpose in their jobs

Source: David L. Blustein, The Conversation, July 18, 2019

On the surface, the well-being of the American worker seems rosy.
Unemployment in the U.S. hovers near a 50-year low, and employers describe growing shortages of workers in a wide array of fields.

But looking beyond the numbers tells a different story. My new book, “The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty,” reveals that some Americans are experiencing an erosion in the world of work that is hurting their well-being, relationships and hopes for the future.

We can’t simply blame the rise of the gig economy. It’s also a result of a growing impermanence in the U.S. economy, with more short-term jobs that lack security and decent benefits. At the same time, worker wages continue to stagnate, which underscores the breadth of the problem.

Daily Nursing Home Staffing Levels Highly Variable, Often Below CMS Expectations

Source: Fangli Geng, David G. Stevenson, and David C. Grabowski, Health Affairs, Vol. 38 No. 7, July 2019
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From the abstract:
Staffing is an important quality measure that is included on the federal Nursing Home Compare website. New payroll-based data reveal large daily staffing fluctuations, low weekend staffing, and daily staffing levels often below the expectations of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These data provide a more accurate and complete staffing picture for CMS and consumers.

In Hospitals With More Nurses Who Have Baccalaureate Degrees, Better Outcomes For Patients After Cardiac Arrest

Source: Jordan M. Harrison, Linda H. Aiken, Douglas M. Sloane, J. Margo Brooks Carthon, Raina M. Merchant, Robert A. Berg, Matthew D. McHugh, Health Affairs, Vol. 38 No. 7, July 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In 2010, prompted by compelling evidence that demonstrated better patient outcomes in hospitals with higher percentages of nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), the Institute of Medicine recommended that 80 percent of the nurse workforce be qualified at that level or higher by 2020. Using data from the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines–Resuscitation registry (for 2013–18), RN4CAST-US hospital nurse surveys (2015–16), and the American Hospital Association (2015), we found that each 10-percentage-point increase in the hospital share of nurses with a BSN was associated with 24 percent greater odds of surviving to discharge with good cerebral performance among patients who experienced in-hospital cardiac arrest. Lower patient-to-nurse ratios on general medical and surgical units were also associated with significantly greater odds of surviving with good cerebral performance. These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence that supports policies to increase access to baccalaureate-level education and improve hospital nurse staffing.

Growth Of Public Coverage Among Working Families In The Private Sector

Source: Douglas Strane, Genevieve P. Kanter, Meredith Matone, Ahaviah Glaser, and David M. Rubin, Health Affairs, Vol. 38 No. 7, July 2019
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From the abstract:
Working families have increasingly enrolled their children in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program in recent years. Parents’ place of employment affects the availability and cost of family health insurance, making it a determinant of pediatric public insurance enrollment. We examined that enrollment in the period 2008–16 in families working full time and earning more than 100 percent of the federal poverty level at three types of employers. Among low-income families (100–199 percent of poverty), children’s public health insurance coverage was highest for those with parents employed at small private firms, increasing from 53 percent to 79 percent, while the public insurance coverage rate also increased among children with parents working for large private firms (from 45 percent to 69 percent). Among moderate-income families (200–299 percent of poverty) working at small private firms, public coverage increased from 21 percent to 64 percent. Increases in the number of working families with pediatric public insurance were driven by employees of large private firms. Maintaining high pediatric insurance coverage rates will require policies that recognize the changing role of public insurance for working families as the cost of employer-based coverage grows.

Blue-Collar Workers Had Greatest Insurance Gains After ACA Implementation

Source: Sumit D. Agarwal, Anna L. Goldman, and Benjamin D. Sommers, Health Affairs, Vol. 38 No. 7, July 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Analyzing national survey data, we found that workers in traditionally blue-collar industries (service jobs, farming, construction, and transportation) experienced the largest gains in health insurance after implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014. Compared to other occupations, these had lower employer-based coverage rates before the ACA. Most of the post-ACA coverage gains came from Medicaid and directly purchased nongroup insurance.

The Invisible Web of Work: The Intertwining of A-I, Electronic Surveillance, and Labor Law

Source: Richard A. Bales, Katherine V.W. Stone, UCLA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 19-18, Last revised: June 30, 2019

From the abstract:
Employers and others who hire or engage workers to perform services use a dizzying array of electronic mechanisms to make personnel decisions about hiring, worker evaluation, compensation, discipline, and retention. These electronic mechanisms include electronic trackers, surveillance cameras, metabolism monitors, wearable biological measuring devices, and implantable technology. These tools enable employers to record their workers’ every movement, listen in on their conversations, measure minute aspects of performance, and detect oppositional organizing activities. The data collected is transformed by means of artificial intelligence (A-I) algorithms into a permanent electronic resume that can identify and predict an individual’s performance as well as their work ethic, personality, union proclivity, employer loyalty, and future health care costs. The electronic resume produced by A-I will accompany workers from job to job as they move around the boundaryless workplace. Thus A-I and electronic monitoring produce an invisible electronic web that threatens to invade worker privacy, deter unionization, enable subtle forms of employer blackballing, exacerbate employment discrimination, render unions ineffective, and obliterate the protections of the labor laws.

This article describes the many ways A-I is being used in the workplace and how its use is transforming the practices of hiring, evaluating, compensating, controlling, and dismissing workers. It then focuses on four areas of law in which A-I threatens to undermine worker protections: anti-discrimination law, privacy law, antitrust law, and labor law. Finally, this article maps out an agenda for future law reform and research.