The year may be winding down, but experts are already making their predictions for the hottest employee benefits in 2018. In a recent Employee Benefits News article, industry leaders expect benefits in the category of financial well-being to be the highest in demand.
Financial Wellness – More employers are offering programs aimed at helping employees with their finances. In the latest Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) employee benefits survey, members indicated that in addition to retirement and investment planning, programs that provide financial advice of any type increased to 49%, up from 37% just five years ago. Financial wellness often appeals to older workers, but younger employees are taking advantage of these programs too.
Student Loan Assistance – Student loan debt poses a barrier for employees who want to commit to participating in a 401(k) plan. Acknowledging the financial hardships created by student loan debt, employers are starting to look at creative ways to help employees with their debt while also saving for retirement.
Rich Health Coverage – The postponement of the excise tax on “Cadillac-style” health plans has many employers, especially those in tight labor markets, moving forward with rich health coverage as way to recruit and retain employees.
Convergence of Health Care and Retirement – When people plan how much they’ll need to save for retirement, they often forget about health care expenses. To help, many employers are encouraging employees to save for future medical expenses in retirement through vehicles like Health Savings Accounts.
Handholding Guidance – Employers should anticipate “regulatory or legislative clarification on whether certain pro-retirement plan designs and features are acceptable. Examples include a stretch match, which raises the threshold up to 12% for matching deferred pay, and changes to preretirement distributions aimed at reducing so-called leakage.” This regulatory guidance will encourage employers to pursue more aggressive strategies to boost retirement savings.
Workplace Wellness – Healthier living benefits continue to increase in popularity. Nearly 25% of participants in SHRM’s annual benefit survey indicate plans to increase their wellness benefits.
Flexible Work Schedules – Compressed workweeks largely appeal to younger employees; however, all employees are starting to expect greater flexibility in their work schedules.
Paid Leave of Absence – As employers look to be more family friendly to attract and retain talent, paid leaves of absences, especially for maternity and paternity benefits, will continue to grow in 2018.
Voluntary Benefits – Due to high health care deductibles, employees are benefiting from voluntary benefits, such as accident and hospital indemnity insurance, as a way to protect themselves in the event of a medical disaster.
Source: Employee Benefit News, October 2017