Views on the Value of Voluntary Workplace Benefits: Findings from the 2013 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey

Source: Paul Fronstin, Ruth Helmanm Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), EBRI Notes, Vol. 34, No. 11, November 2013

From the abstract:
The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has been conducting “value of benefits” surveys for 20 years to determine the relative importance of different benefits to workers and to assess the role played by benefits in job choice and job change. The surveys show consistency in the value of some benefits and substantial change on others. Workers continue to rank health insurance as the first or second most important benefit provided by employers. Between 1999 and 2013, the percentage of workers ranking health insurance as the first- or second-most important benefit varied between 75 percent and 82 percent. While the ranking of a retirement savings plan fell from 2001 to 2013, this may be due to the introduction of additional benefits in the survey, such as paid time off. This paper examines public opinion surrounding voluntary workplace benefits. Data come from the 2013 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey (WBS), conducted by EBRI and Greenwald & Associates. Among other topics, the survey examines a broad spectrum of workplace benefits issues, with a particular focus on voluntary workplace benefits. More than three-quarters of employees state that the benefits package an employer offers prospective employees is extremely (33 percent) or very (45 percent) important in their decision to accept or reject a job. Nevertheless, 31 percent are only somewhat satisfied with the benefits offered by their current employer, and 26 percent are not satisfied. Eighty-eight percent of employees report that employer-provided health insurance is extremely or very important, far more than for any other workplace benefit. Employees identify lower cost (compared with purchasing benefits on their own) and choice as strong advantages of voluntary benefits. However, they are split with respect to their comfort in having their employer choose their benefits provider, and think the possibility that they may have to pay the full cost of any voluntary benefits is a disadvantage.