The combination of a strong economy and a very tight labor market tends to put the squeeze on employers competing for the top talent in their respective industries. Nowhere does this play out more visibly than in the benefits packages that companies offer new hires. Benefits often make the difference when all other aspects of a job offer are comparable.
Knowing what we know about the current labor market, it would seem that benefits in 2020 have to be more competitive than ever before. We have done some research with the goal of understanding what employees will be expecting from their benefits over the next 12 months. The most in-demand benefits for 2020 might be benefits you can afford to offer.
Student Loan Repayment Assistance
Data cited by Forbes demonstrates that some 45 million consumers owe a combined $1.6 trillion on student loans. Student loan debt is second only to mortgage debt in this country. Unfortunately, the topic of student debt has become a political hot potato.
We see all of this creating a perfect opportunity for benefits administrators. A small minority of big companies are now offering student loan repayment assistance as an extra benefit. We expect more to follow suit as a matter of necessity. Student loan repayment assistance can be set up simply as a withholding program or a benefit with matching employer contributions.
Paid Family Leave
No fewer than eight states and the District of Columbia now have paid family leave laws on the books. Dozens of others are considering following suit. As such, we expect employers to begin offering more generous paid family leave policies if for no other reason than to stay ahead of state legislators. Paid family leave is one of those benefits that employees tend to view as a necessity rather than an extra.
High Deductible Health Plans
Health insurance remains a top priority for American workers. However, how they view health insurance is beginning to change. It would appear as though the bloom is finally off the health maintenance organization (HMO) rose. Instead, consumers are looking more toward high deductible health plans that are reminiscent of health insurance in the pre-HMO days.
Expect new hires to prefer high deductible health insurance as a way of keeping their premiums down. Also look for interest in vision and dental plans as well. With the cost of healthcare continuing to rise, employees want better ways to manage their healthcare spend.
Employee Wellness Programs
Employees know, just as their employers do, that focusing on overall wellness can reduce healthcare costs. As such, 2020 could be the year when employees start demanding employer-sponsored wellness programs. The tricky thing is figuring out what an appropriate wellness program would look like.
Wellness to some means free or reduced-cost access to gyms and health clubs alongside healthier eating options in break rooms and cafeterias. To others, it also includes access to mental health services including counseling and mindfulness training. One thing is clear: wellness is a hot topic that younger workers are definitely more attuned to.
Employee benefits are as important as they have ever been in competing for top talent and retaining current workers. Moreover, benefits packages have evolved over time. They will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Our job, as a provider of payroll and benefits administration services, is to help our clients develop the right kinds of benefits packages that best support their employees.
For more information about how we can help, please contact us at your earliest convenience. Our services are available nationwide to businesses of all sizes.