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Benefits

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In the Dark
Although storing and sharing important information about benefits spending has become easier and more affordable through cloud technology, a new survey finds benefit managers at global companies remain in the dark about employee-benefit spending regarding core insurance plans.
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Class Appeal
Although Starbucks is getting a lot of attention for the new tuition-assistance program it offers employees, at least one other company offers even-more-generous educational benefits.
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Same-Sex Benefits
Don't look now, but same-sex benefits just went from "cutting edge" to "needed yesterday." As a result, employers across the country must make immediate -- and in some cases, retroactive -- changes on a number of fronts, including tax withholding and eligibility for employee benefits.
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There's More to Wellness Program ROI than Medical-Cost Savings
The value conversation about wellness programs needs to encompass factors beyond medical savings, driving the health-management industry to find new ways to show employers the return on investment.
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What's Missing from Health and Wellness Programs?
Employees may be participating, but are they really engaged? Are they just going along to get the incentive? Many programs offer information and guidance, but not the kind of help employees really need to make lasting, healthy changes.
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More Than Money?
New reports highlight the need for HR leaders to shift their thinking on how to gauge return on investment for wellness programs.
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Employer, Can You Spare a Dime?
With the ongoing credit crunch, many employees are finding it hard to get short-term loans. But employers that are considering filling that void via workplace loans should tread carefully, experts caution.
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Private-Exchange Impact
For now, private healthcare exchanges are a blip on the employer-provided healthcare screen, but, within the next few years, that could change dramatically. And employers should pay attention.
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Helping at Home
With the recent rise in the number of children diagnosed with some form of autism, an increasing number of employees now face overwhelming challenges at home. But experts say employers can -- and should -- help their workers who care for special-needs children to better balance home life and work life.
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The Flexibility Bias
A new study shows workplace bias against those who use flexible-work arrangements -- often for child-care needs -- may increase employee dissatisfaction even among those who don't have children. But can HR help to eradicate such bias within an organization?
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Benefits Column

It appears employers have moved in droves to include voluntary product offerings as part of their overall employee-benefits strategies. Here are a few things to consider as you evaluate the many and varied options out there.
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