by Jonathan Krass, Senior Account Executive
After days, weeks, and even months of planning emails, phone calls, meetings, presentations, and guidebooks (oh my!) you have successfully completed this year’s Open Enrollment. Ready or not, now is the time to begin thinking about where your benefit program is going for the 2020 year.
In this blog, I’d like to highlight four new and emerging benefits that should be on the top of your list to consider for your next benefits year:
- Student Loan Repayment: It’s not a secret that many college (and grad school) alum have student loans, and that for some grads, repaying their student loans is creating a burden on their day-to-day finances. Further, it can impact their ability to contribute to employer-sponsored retirement plans. There are many vendors in the marketplace that will help employees manage their student loans from soup to nuts. From getting (and then staying) on track with monthly payments, to consolidation, to adding in tax-favored contributions from their employers, vendors are stepping up to help today’s employees improve their student loan debt situation.
- Flexible Work Arrangements: Technology is rapidly enhancing how intelligently we work. Most of what we do on a daily basis can be performed on a smartphone. If you throw in a tablet, ever-shrinking laptop and the prevalence of public wifi, most office employees can perform a day’s work from any location in the world. In a recent survey by MetLife, 76% of respondents feel that “being able to work from home makes them feel that their employer trusts them.” Giving employees the flexibility to work from home, compress their work week, flex their start/end times, or even job-sharing can improve employee satisfaction and morale while still maintaining productivity.
- Paid Family/Parental Leave: Most employers offer some sort of leave to employees – whether it is Short Term or Long Term Disability, time off under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or a combination of vacation/sick days. But what if an employee is in a situation where none of these apply – or if, in the case of FMLA time, that leave would be unpaid? Many employers are increasing their benefits offerings to include Paid Family/Parental Leave – time off with pay for an employee to care for a baby or ill family member that does not decrease their allowance of vacation or sick time. In a 2018 study by Unum, 58% of respondents (64% of Millennials) ranked Paid Family/ Parental Leave as the most coveted employer perk – the #1 answer in the survey. Clearly, this can be a benefit that enables an employer to attract and retain quality talent.
- Voluntary Benefits: In a 2018 MetLife survey, 60% of respondents said that they are interested in having their employer provide a wider array of non-medical benefits that they can choose to purchase and pay for on their own. Further, 73% stated that having benefits customized to meet their needs would increase their loyalty to their employer. So offering non-medical benefits at no cost to the employer creates happy, loyal employees? Win-win! Benefits like Voluntary Accident, Critical Illness, and Voluntary Life help flesh out an employer’s benefits program by complementing existing core benefits, giving employees more choice, and do not have an employer contribution portion like medical or dental.
There is certainly a longer list of new and emerging benefits in the market, but these four are in the spotlight. If you do not already have them in your benefits program, they may be worth investigating to increase your employees’ satisfaction and retention. Contact your local CBIZ representative with any questions, or if you’d like more information about these or other voluntary benefits.