Author Archives: afscme

Key Provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Source: National Association of Towns and Townships (NATaT), March 15, 2021

…The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes $350 billion in direct financial relief for all state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; extends federal supplemental unemployment benefits; increases funding for the Paycheck Protection Program; provides funding to assist schools in safely reopening; provides additional utility assistance; and includes additional funding for COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and treatment, among other provisions that assist many industries, businesses, and individuals.

Many of the federal departments and agencies that received additional or new funding for programs and financial assistance will likely begin issuing guidance for this funding over the coming weeks.

This NATaT Special Report, based largely off summary documents provided by Senate Democratic leadership, covers each title of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, including funding levels and provisions that may be of interest to towns and townships.

Across U.S. Public Finance, All Sectors Stand To Benefit From The American Rescue Plan

Source: Robin L Prunty, Marian Zucker, S&P Global Finance, March 18, 2021

Key Takeaways:
– The American Rescue Plan’s funding will support credit quality of issuers across all U.S. public finance sectors.
– The plan’s flexibility will afford issuers the opportunity to address unique financial and economic challenges associated with the pandemic.
– Many of the initiatives will support a more robust economic recovery across the country.

How to Ensure Pay Equity for People of Color

Source: Michael A. Tucker, HR Magazine, Spring 2021

Employers are scrutinizing their pay policies to eliminate racial disparities.

….That slow progress and the United States’ bloody legacies prompt a fundamental question when the issue of pay equity and race is broached: How can the U.S. value the work of people of color if it doesn’t value people of color?…

How Inclusive Is Your Leadership?

Source: Salwa Rahim-Dillard, Harvard Business Review, April 19, 2021

Many managers are ill-equipped to lead and connect with Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) employees. Until white leaders become skilled at bridging (connecting with people different from them) and BIPOC leaders become skilled at bonding (connecting with people similar to them), BIPOC employees will not experience workplace inclusion. Hundreds of socially conscious CEOs have engaged in CEO activism and pledged their commitment to advance racial equity and inclusion. But many leaders (white and BIPOC) don’t know the explicit behaviors needed to implement the desired change. The author presents a research-based, multi-use performance, assessment, and training tool that provides behavioral descriptors to identify and measure a manager’s skill level at inclusively leading and authentically connecting with people from marginalized and underrepresented groups.

Impact of Compensation on Inclusive Organizations

Source: Muhammad Irfan, Omar K. Bhatti, Rashida K. Malik, Compensation & Benefits Review, Vol 53, Issue 3, 2021
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Discrimination in compensation for minority groups and individuals with regard to gender, physical disability, religion, and culture affects inclusion in an organization. This study is a combination of two studies and endeavors to verify our initial inference that compensation gaps are significantly related to inclusion. A mixed method approach has been adopted; in first part of the study, compensation data obtained from 32 organizations (608 observations) have been analyzed quantitatively. The study finds significant correlation between components of compensation gaps and inclusion. Gender as basis of discrimination was found insignificantly correlated to compensation, while pay for performance was found negatively related to inclusion. We have proposed a model to predict feeling of inclusion if components of compensation and discriminatory factors are known. In second part of the study, based on 25 in-depth interviews, cognitive basis of compensation gaps has been divulged, and we conclude that implementation of compensation equity and removal of cognitive bases of discrimination seem mandatory actions for inclusion.

What to Do If Your Team Doesn’t Want to Go Back to the Office

Source: Liz Kislik, Harvard Business Review, January 18, 2021

From the summary:
As offices continue to open up, there are ongoing discussions in many organizations about when and how employees should return to work. What should you do if your team wants to continue to work from home and senior leadership wants everyone to start showing up in person? You can advocate for your team, as long as you do it tactfully. Focus on what your leaders care about and find ways to show that remote work is beneficial to the company, not just to individuals. Demonstrate that your team is engaged no matter where they are located. For example, you might invite leaders to video meetings that include both in-person and remote workers. And encourage employees to treat company leaders as their most important customers. An emphasis on formal respect and personal interest can mitigate some leaders’ concern that employees aren’t taking their work seriously when they’re at home.

Workers’ compensation costs for healthcare caregivers: Home healthcare, long‐term care, and hospital nurses and nursing aides

Source: Kermit G. Davis, Andrew M. Freeman, Jun Ying, Jeffrey R. Huth, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 64 Issue 5, May 2021
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background: Healthcare workers (nurses and nursing aides) often have different exposures and injury risk factors depending on their occupational subsector and location (hospital, long‐term care, or home health care).

Methods: A total of 5234 compensation claims for nurses and nursing aides who suffered injuries to their lower back, knee, and/or shoulder over a 5‐year period were obtained from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and analyzed. Injury causation data was also collected for each claim. The outcome variables included indemnity costs, medical costs, total costs, and the number of lost work days. The highest prescribed morphine equivalent dose for opioid medications was also calculated for each claim.

Results: Home healthcare nurses and nursing aides had the highest average total costs per claim. Hospital nurses and nursing aides had the highest total claim costs, of $5 million/year. Shoulder injuries for home healthcare nursing aides (HHNAs) had the highest average total claim costs ($20,600/injury) for all occupation, setting, and body area combinations. Opioids were most frequently prescribed for home healthcare nurses (HHNs) and nursing aides (18.9% and 17.7% having been prescribed opioids, respectively). Overexertion was the most common cause for HHN and nursing aide claims.

Conclusions: With the rapidly expanding workforce in the home healthcare sector, there is a potential health crisis from the continued expansion of home healthcare worker injuries and their associated costs. In addition, the potential for opioid drug usage places these workers at risk for future dependence, overdose, and prolonged disability. Future research is needed to investigate the specific and ideally reversible causes of injury in claims categorized as caused by overexertion.

Participatory survey design of a workforce health needs assessment for correctional supervisors

Source: Alicia G. Dugan, Sara Namazi, Jennifer M. Cavallari, Robert D. Rinker, Julius C. Preston, Vincent L. Steele, Martin G. Cherniack, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 64 Issue 5, May 2021
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Introduction
The correctional workforce experiences persistent health problems, and interventions designed with worker participation show favorable outcomes. However, participatory intervention research often leaves workers out of the health needs assessment, the basis of interventions subsequently developed. This omission risks failure to detect factors contributing to the health and is less likely to result in primary prevention interventions.

Methods
Partnering with a correctional supervisors’ union, we followed Schulz and colleagues’ community‐based participatory research (CBPR) methods for participatory survey design and used Healthy Workplace Participatory Program (HWPP) tools to develop a tailored survey to assess workforce health and contributing factors. Utilizing the HWPP Focus Group Guide, we generated key themes to adapt the HWPP All Employee Survey, a generic workforce health assessment, to become thorough and contextually‐relevant for correctional supervisors.

Results
Content analysis of focus group data revealed 12 priority health concerns and contributors, including organizational culture, masculinity, work‐family conflict, family support, trauma, positive job aspects, health literacy and efficacy, health/risk behaviors, sleep, obesity, and prioritizing work and income over health. Twenty‐six measures were added to the generic survey, mainly health‐related antecedents including knowledge, attitudes, norms, and motivation.

Conclusion
Findings yielded new insights about supervisors’ lived experiences of work and health, and resulted in a customized workforce survey. CBPR methods and HWPP tools allowed us to identify health issues that we would not have detected with conventional methods, and provide opportunities for interventions that address root causes of poor health. We share challenges faced and lessons learned using CBPR with the correctional workforce.

White House Releases State-by-State Fact Sheets to Highlight Nationwide Need for the American Jobs Plan

Source: White House, Press Release, April 12, 2021

Today, the White House released state-by-state fact sheets that highlight the urgent need in every state across the country for the investments proposed by President Biden in the American Jobs Plan. The fact sheets highlight the number of bridges and miles of road in each state in poor condition, the percentage of households without access to broadband, the billions of dollars required for water infrastructure, among other infrastructure needs.

Individual fact sheets for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are linked below.

Analysis for the States: The American Jobs Plan Act

Source: Council of State Governments, 2021

…According to an official fact sheet released by the White House, the Plan proposes an investment of $2 trillion over the course of the next 15 years, consisting principally of one-time capital investments. Funding sources include an increase in the corporate tax rate to 28% and efforts to better enforce global minimum tax rates on corporations.

As proposed, the Plan constitutes the most extensive federal investment in infrastructure, job and workforce development and technology research and development to date. Furthermore, the Plan is unique in its broad focus, including efforts to address climate change as well as long-standing racial injustice and gender inequity. Notably, nearly 40% of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments will be focused on disadvantaged communities. Proposed advances in job development, specifically within STEM fields1 and the care economy, also will directly benefit women and communities of color.

The remainder of this document breaks down the funding in the American Jobs Plan by its major components:
• Transportation
• Building Upgrades, Modernization, and Repairs
• Jobs Investments
• Other Funding