Paid leave, student loan benefits continue to trend upward
NASHVILLE, Tenn. July 3, 2019 – The stable job market and the strong economy have kept employers on their feet as they have improved the benefits offerings to continue being competitive in their efforts to attract and retain their employees.
As per the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual study, benefit programs like student loan repayment programs have gained popularity, while other programs including dependent care have seen a decline.
Alex Alonso, chief knowledge officer of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), while speaking at the organization’s annual conference this week said that this study gives a better understanding of the strategies leveraged by employers to remain more competitive.
Also, according to the report, in the last few years, paid leave benefits have been the most debated topic. Time off policies for new parents is the most discussed kind of paid leave because it allows them to use as the need or desire arises and so it continues to be a hot benefit.
According to SHRM, in 2018, we have seen a momentous rise on all kinds of paid parental leave, but in 2019, most of those changes have been stabilized with all kinds of paid parental leave remaining within 2 percentage points of their last year measure. With elections bringing the potential for changes in federal law, all kinds of parental leaves will remain as the hot topic for debates throughout 2020, according to the study.
As per the same study, there are some drivers that are altering the way employers approach strategizing benefit offerings like the mounting health insurance cost and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
Multigenerational workforce is another major driver. The majority of the workforce in a company include the Millennials, Gen X, and the Baby boomers, while many companies include younger Gen Zs, and members of older Traditionalists too. Employees in various stages of their lives may need various benefits. But, employers may not afford to provide the employees with the best of every benefit, they can ill afford to underinvest in the benefits that are most important to their employees.
Alex Alonso said, “It’s always a challenging task to identify the best combination of benefits which attracts a multigenerational workforce.” “But, if you notice that more of your workforce are baby boomers who are having aging parents, you can increase the caregiving benefits and flexible scheduling policies.
One among the most desired perks employees need is the healthcare benefits which also continues to rise as the economy progresses and the legislative landscape changes.
Alonso also said, “We can clearly say that PPO has been the most preferred health option and at the same time HDHP linked to an HSA or other spending account becoming more available. He also said that HDHPs which are not linked to an HSA or HRA has seen a drop of about 10%.
Alonso said that Telehealth and Telemedicine are also increasing. In 2016, Telemedicine workplace offerings were just 23% but now in 2019, they have seen a significant growth moving to 72%.
“This gave employers a chance to make a favorable healthcare choice and a definitive benefit to employees who don’t quite have easy access to healthcare options.
Financial wellness and retirement benefits also have been making some changes. Almost all employers who were surveyed said that they provide at least one or more type of DC plan. 93% of the employers are offering a traditional 401(k) plan or another similar kind of plan, and 59% of the employers are offering a Roth 401(k) plan or another similar kind of plan. Speaking of the 401(k) plans, as much as 75% of the employers have a match over the last 5 years.
Though it seems slightly unusual that the percentage of the employers who are providing student loan repayment benefits became twice because we see its only 4% in 2018 and 8% in 2019.
“The student loan repayment benefits is one of the things which has seen a tremendous rise,” says Alonso. “The Society for Human Resource Management is excessively speaking in favor of passing a law supporting employer-provided student loan repayment tax benefits. Alonso says we are very much behind this data trend.”
Few of the employers including Sotheby’s, Estée Lauder, and Pure Insurance have also recently started providing contributions to workers’ principal debt amounts. Fiat Chrysler has begun to offer a student loan refinancing benefit that permits employees to replace the existing loans with a fresh loan at a lower interest rate.
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Original source: benefitnews