On Aug. 5, Indiana became the first state in the nation to pass legislation restricting access to abortion, just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has not indicated whether he will sign the bill, but some of the state’s largest employers are expressing concerns over how they foresee such a law affecting their business.  

Indianapolis-based drugmaker Eli Lilly, for example, employs around 10,000 people in the state of Indiana, and has issued a statement saying that the law will force the company “to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.”  

Abortion is a “divisive and deeply personal issue with no clear consensus among the citizens of Indiana,” the company said. “Despite this lack of agreement, Indiana has opted to quickly adopt one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States. We are concerned that this law will hinder Lilly’s — and Indiana’s — ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world.”  

Engine manufacturing company Cummins also employs about 10,000 Indiana workers, and has joined Eli Lilly in voicing concern about the law’s potential impact.  

“The right to make decisions regarding reproductive health ensures that women have the same opportunity as others to participate fully in our workforce and that our workforce is diverse,” according to a Cummins statement.  

“There are provisions in the law that conflict with this, impact our people, impede our ability to attract and retain top talent and influence our decisions as we continue to grow our footprint with a focus on selecting welcoming and inclusive environments.”  

Wells Fargo Completes Review of Diverse Candidate Slate Guidelines 

Wells Fargo & Co. is reinstating its diverse candidate slate guidelines, after temporarily suspending a hiring policy that required at least half of the candidates interviewed for open Wells Fargo positions paying $100,000 or more annually to be women, non-white or otherwise disadvantaged.  

That policy brought recent media attention to the company, with a handful of the bank’s current and former employees telling the New York Times that the mandate led to “fake” job interviews for non-white and female job-seekers for roles that had already been guaranteed to someone else.   

In the months since, the company has completed a review of diverse candidate slate hiring approaches and has interviewed Wells Fargo recruiters and hiring managers to determine what’s working and what’s not, according to a company statement, which also notes that Wells Fargo has “engaged a broader set of employees in listening sessions since mid-May.”  

Wells Fargo is resuming application of the guidelines effective Aug. 19, continuing certain aspects and changing others, such as continuing to expect a 50% diverse candidate slate and a diverse interviewer panel; redefining roles that are in-scope for the guidelines based on job level, not compensation; and providing updated training for recruiters and managers on the diverse candidate slate guidelines, including how they should be applied throughout the recruiting and hiring process.   

“We are recommitting to our diverse candidate slate guidelines with changes that will help clarify and simplify the process and lead to a better experience for all candidates, internal and external. We began this exercise knowing that diverse candidate slates work, and that they are a common, good practice across multiple industries,” said Bei Ling, Wells Fargo chief human resources officer, in a statement.  

“Wells Fargo has seen measurable increases in diverse representation over the past several years, and we believe that diverse candidate slate guidelines have been one of the many contributing factors. Our review helped us to identify opportunities where we can further improve how the guidelines are implemented.” 

Chipotle to Pay Workers $20 Million for Labor Law Violations 

As ABC News reported, Chipotle Mexican Grill will pay $20 million to current and former employees at its New York-based restaurants for violations of New York City labor laws.  

Investigators said that Chipotle’s violations of New York City’s Fair Workweek Law included failing to post work schedules 14 days in advance, neglecting to pay a premium for schedule changes and not offering available shifts to current employees before hiring new workers.  

The settlement between the city and the Newport Beach, Calif.-based fast-food chain covers around 13,000 employees who worked at Chipotle’s New York City locations between 2017 and the present, according to ABC News.  

The settlement is “not only a victory for workers … but also sends a strong message, as the largest worker protection settlement in New York City history, that we won’t stand by when workers’ rights are violated,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.  

As part of the agreement, any hourly New York City Chipotle worker is eligible to receive $50 for each week worked between Nov. 26, 2017, and April 30, 2022, and Chipotle will also pay $1 million in civil penalties to the city.  

In a statement, Chipotle Chief Restaurant Officer Scott Boatright said the organization was “pleased to be able to resolve these issues and believe[s] this settlement demonstrates Chipotle’s commitment to providing opportunities for all of our team members while also complying with the Fair Workweek Law.” The company has also taken steps to improve compliance through measures such as improved timekeeping technology, Boatright added. 

Research Finds High-Deductible Plans Driving Out-of-Pocket Costs 

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has published a brief finding that the share of out-of-pocket costs paid by patients rose from 17% in 2013 to 19% in 2019; an increase that EBRI says appears to be driven by the growing number of employees enrolling in health plans with high deductibles.  

In analyzing data from more than 45 million patients covered by employer-sponsored health-care plans, the study found that out-of-pocket costs for patients rose between 2013 and 2019 overall. “Interestingly, this seems to be driven by the increasing adoption of plans with higher deductibles, and not by changes in cost-sharing,” said Jake Spiegel, a research associate at EBRI, in a statement.  

In fact, when separating the study by individual plan types, such as high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs) or health maintenance organizations (HMOs), EBRI found that the share of out-of-pocket expenditures for patients in those plans have either decreased or remained stable, according to Spiegel.  

“Employers face a tension between controlling the bottom-line impact of health-care costs and helping workers achieve financial wellness,” he added.  

“On the one hand, employers are more frequently implementing financial wellness programs as a means to improve their employees’ financial well-being. On the other hand, in an effort to wrangle health-care cost increases, employers often turn to raising their health plan’s deductible, potentially offsetting the positive impact of any financial wellness initiatives.” 

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