Employee Benefits

Employee Benefit Trends for 2020

Smiling Asian woman using laptop in office

Next to a competitive salary, employee benefit trends show employees highly value their benefits. Studies show that job applicants carefully review the benefits available when considering a new position. And it’s easier to keep them on the job if they like their benefit plans. As employers consider options for the next year, they are placing a high priority on employees’ total health. They understand the importance of taking care of overall employee well-being. It’s how they are able to find, keep and engage talented workers. Here’s a list of six employee benefit trends for 2020.

Student loan repayment

Human Resource professionals believe that the student loan repayment benefit is the #1 benefit to offer (after medical insurance). And employers are considering many options to provide this benefit. One easy way employers are assisting employees with student loan payments is by offering Employee Choice. It is a student loan repayment benefit exclusively offered by BenefitEd and Ameritas. It’s designed to use funds employers already have set aside for 401(k) matching contributions.

Employees can apply unused matching dollars to help repay their student loans. Or, they can split the matching funds to make a payment to their student loan debt and save the other part for retirement. Employees leave about $24 million in 401(k) matching funds on the table each year. So Employee Choice is an easy way to use existing funds to provide student loan payment relief for employees.

Tuition reimbursement

For years, many employers have offered a tuition reimbursement benefit. This helps employees pursue additional training, professional development or degree completion. It’s still a popular employee benefit today. But now, as Generation Z joins the workforce, it’s becoming an important strategic recruitment and retention program. Benefit trends show that 76% of Gen Z workers say that a tuition reimbursement program would encourage them to stay with an employer. About 81% also said that having this benefit would cause them to recommend their employer to a friend.

Voluntary coverage

Research by Willis Tower Watson discovered that 69% of employers say employees appreciate voluntary benefits. Workers want access to benefits they can customize to fit their needs. In addition to dental and vision coverage, employees want critical care, pet insurance, identity theft and disability insurance. Voluntary benefits can be an effective recruitment and retention tool. That’s why employers should ask employees what coverage they want in order to remain competitive.

Mental health

More and more employees deal with difficult personal and family issues. And they are worried about their finances. It’s a disturbing trend. These burdens can affect workers’ focus and productivity, and increase sick days. One study found that employee depression alone costs American businesses over $44 billion in lost productivity each year. Some employers are offering a telemedicine benefit, so employees can access resources that help them cope with their problems.

Flexible work

Employees today want the option to work where they are most productive. Some like the traditional office space, while others opt to work from home or a coffee shop. Thanks to online work scheduling tools, it’s easy to keep team members informed of project schedules and changes. This employee trend can save employers money by reducing the cost of office space.

Retirement savings benefit

Increasingly, employees are becoming aware of the importance of saving for the future. Many are burdened with so much debt they have limited funds left over for savings. But as employers step in to help, employees are able to start saving for retirement. A 401(k) employee savings program is a popular option. It works especially well when employers match a percentage of employee contributions.

Sources:
Employee Benefit Adviser Oct 24, 2019

Employee Benefit Adviser Nov 22, 2019
Forbes
Inc.

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