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10 most popular employee benefits and perks

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Are you offering the most popular employee benefits and perks to attract workers? Workers know their value, and if you don’t compensate them with competitive pay and the most desired employee benefits, they might choose to leave.

According to Joblist’s 2022 U.S. Job Market Report, two in three job seekers agree that workplace benefits are more important to them now than they were before the pandemic, and 80 percent think that employers need to reevaluate their benefits package. Additionally, 54 percent would consider taking a job that paid less if the benefits were better.

To help you meet worker demand and boost employee engagement, here’s a look at some of the most in-demand job benefits.

Health Insurance, Telemedicine and Wellness Programs

Health insurance remains a staple of the standard employee benefits package. This hasn’t changed, but some details have, notably the popularity of telemedicine.

According to the KFF 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey, 59 percent of firms offered health benefits to at least some of their health workers in 2021, and 95 percent of firms that offer health insurance and have at least 50 employees offered telemedicine options. Just three years ago, only 67 percent of these firms offered telemedicine options.

Wellness programs are also popular. KFF says that 58 percent of small firms and 83 percent of large firms that offer health benefits offer some type of wellness program, such as tobacco cessation or weight loss programs.

Despite the investment that employers are putting into health insurance benefits, many workers are not satisfied. According to Joblist, 67 percent of job seekers say that health care is the top employee benefit that job seekers care about, and 60 percent of workers who have health coverage say they are not satisfied with their plan.

Beyond Retirement Plans: Financial Wellness and Student Loan Repayment

A retirement plan has been a cornerstone of a solid employee benefits package for a while, and it’s still important. A Bankrate survey found that 52 percent of Americans say they are behind on their retirement plans. These workers need help catching up.

However, saving for retirement isn’t the only financial concern that workers have. A study from Capital One found that 77 percent of respondents say they feel anxious about their finances, and 56 percent are worried about keeping up with the cost of living, while 45 percent are worried about managing debt levels. Student loan debt is a big concern for many individuals, and Education Data Initiative says that the average among of student loan debt is $37,693.

Employee benefits can help employees manage their budget and pay off their loans, and employees are interested in financial wellness programs and student loan assistance. The TIAA 2022 Financial Wellness Survey found that 51 percent of employees think employers have a responsibility to help employees improve or maintain their financial wellness.

According to the 2021 Financial Wellbeing Employer Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the percentage of employers that offer a financial wellbeing program has increased from only 12 percent in 2018 to 34 percent in 2021. Additionally, 89 percent of employers say that they either have or are developing a strategy to improve their employees’ financial wellness.

Other Common Insurance Options and Voluntary Benefits

In addition to health and retirement benefits, employers need to offer a few more coverage options to round out the standard employee benefits package. Common benefits include life insurance, disability insurance, dental insurance and vision insurance. Other options may include long-term care insurance and critical illness insurance. These insurance options are often offered as voluntary benefits.

According to BLS, 40 percent of private industry workers have access to dental care benefits, and about one in four private industry workers have access to vision care. BLS also says that 35 percent of civilian workers have access to long-term disability insurance, and 40 percent have access to short-term disability insurance.

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Mental Health Benefits

Employee mental health has become a hot topic. Many workers are struggling with mental health issues and stress, and many of them want their employers to help by offering mental health coverage and support. TIAA found that 63 percent of workers say that employers have a responsibility to make sure employees are mentally healthy and emotionally well.

Employers are listening. The Annual Employer-Sponsored Health & Well-being Survey from Business Group on Health found that 92 percent of employers expanded support for mental health and emotional wellbeing in 2021.

Paid Time Off

People have been focusing on work-life balance, and paid time off can help them achieve that, whether it’s paid parental leave, floating holidays, paid vacation, paid sick days or other paid time off.

According to the BLS, 77 percent of private industry workers have access to paid sick leave, 23 percent have access to paid family leave and 45 percent have access to a single amount of paid time off that can be used for various purposes, including vacation, illness or personal time.

Some employers are taking paid time off to a new level by offering unlimited time off. According to Employee Benefit News, unlimited paid time off is an in-demand perk, and the companies offering it include Netflix, Grubhub and LinkedIn.

Caregiving Benefits

The pandemic highlighted the need for better support for working parents, when many parents were forced out of the workforce. Pew Charitable Trusts says that mothers with children 12 years old and younger lost 2.2 million jobs between in 2020 between Feb. and Aug., a drop of 12 percent.

To help working parents juggle work and family responsibilities, many employers are increasing their caregiving benefits. According to the Annual Employer-Sponsored Health & Well-being Survey from Business Group on Health, 64 percent of employers enhanced child care support in 2021, and 48 percent provided backup child care support.

Flexibility and Remote Work Options

Remote work and flexible work arrangements can also help workers find work-life balance, and these perks are highly desired right now.

Joblist’s 2022 U.S. Job Market Report found that 61 percent of all job seekers are interested in remote work, and 45 percent of workers who are currently working remotely say they would quit if they were required to return to the office on a full-time basis.

Fertility Benefits

For couples who are trying to start a family, fertility benefits can be out of reach due to the cost. According to Verywell Family, the average cost for one in vitro fertilization cycle is $12,000, and couples may have to go through multiple cycles.

These couples are likely to be extremely interested in any employer that offers fertility benefits, and some employers have seized this as an opportunity to attract and retain top talent.

Identity Theft Protection

The Internet Crime Complaint Center says that there were 43,330 reports of identity theft in 2020, and victims lost more than $219 million.

Identity theft can cause significant financial problems for employees, and these issues could easily distract them from work. Employers can help their employees by offering credit monitoring and other benefits designed to protect them from identity theft. As data breaches and identity theft incidents rise, this is an increasingly important benefit.

Pet Insurance and Other Voluntary Benefit Perks

An employee benefits package is not one-size fits all. Employers can customize their offerings by providing access to various voluntary benefits. During the pandemic, pet insurance has emerged as an especially popular option.

The American Veterinary Medical Association says that 38.4 percent of households have a dog and 25.4 percent have a cat. Dog owners require an average of 2.4 veterinary visits each year, and the average annual cost is $410.

Of course, if the pet has a major injury or sickness, the veterinary costs can be much greater. Many people lack the savings needed to cover an emergency veterinary bill. For these pet owners, pet insurance is a popular option.

Putting Together the Employee Benefits Package

By offering the most popular employee benefits and perks, you can attract talent and boost retention. Do you need help putting together the top employee benefits for your workforce? Higginbotham can help. 

Not sure where to start? Talk to someone who wants to listen.

A great plan starts with a conversation. Let’s talk about what you need.

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