A ‘New Normal’ for Employee Benefits? What It Could Look Like | Investing News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – During the past year, there is a good chance that you and your priorities changed significantly.

The things you used to think were important are not so important anymore. And issues you did not even think about before are suddenly very critical indeed.

Those reshuffled priorities are not just showing up in our homes and family life. They are being reflected in the workplace as companies respond with a new menu of employee benefits and rewards.

According to a recent survey from consultants Willis Towers Watson, 47% of employers report enhancing healthcare benefits, 45% are boosting well-being programs, and 33% are tweaking paid time off and vacation days.

“Wellness is the top priority that organizations are addressing right now,” says Regina Ihrke, senior director and wellbeing leader for Willis Towers Watson. “Companies had already been starting to go that way, but now that priority has been

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Social Issues, Outperformance Are Increasing Interest in ESG Investing

Source: Adobe Stock

A strong relative performance in the first quarter of 2020 and heightened awareness over social issues is shining a spotlight on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.

ESG investing has drawn more assets each year, and Morningstar data from May shows sustainable fund flows were resilient during the market selloff caused by the coronavirus pandemic. During the first quarter, the global sustainable fund universe pulled in $45.6 billion versus an outflow of $384.7 billion for the overall fund universe, the research firm said. U.S. flows accounted for 23 percent of that first-quarter figure.

Of course, ESG funds lost money during the market selloff, but they lost less than the broader market during that time, performing better on a relative basis, Morningstar said in a different report. During the first quarter, the returns of 70 percent of sustainable equity funds ranked in the top halves of their categories,

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Investing in Menstrual Health Is an Investment in Global Health

Schoolgirls in Deogarh, India learn about menstrual health and hygiene. (Photo by WSSCC/Javier Acebal)

Though menstruation is a natural part of life for more than half the world’s population, half a billion girls and women still lack the support they need to manage their periods safely and confidently. The costs to women, their families, and society are enormous and entirely unsustainable, even as access to information about menstruation, to sanitary menstrual products, and to facilities where menstruation can be managed in privacy, are instrumental to success in school and at work. The availability of menstrual care materials alone has been found to reduce absenteeism from work by 21 percent, while increasing school participation and improving learning outcomes. And long-standing stigmas and taboos around menstruation are found even in countries that have attempted to address this issue with policies dedicated to menstrual health and hygiene.

However, because it cuts across

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