Voluntary Benefits Now Essential, Not Fringe

Source: Stephen Miller, SHRM, April 13, 2018

Student loan help and financial planning aid are among offerings on the upswing.

Employers no longer consider voluntary benefits as simply add-ons but rather as “a way to address a host of employee needs, offer choice and allow employees to personalize their rewards,” said Lydia Jilek, director of voluntary benefits at consultancy Willis Towers Watson.

Voluntary benefits are supplemental to core health insurance and retirement savings plans and are typically employee-paid through salary-deferred contributions. They can be a cost-efficient way to provide additional coverage to employees, who can purchase these plans through their employer at a lower, group rate.

Newly released findings from Willis Towers Watson’s 2018 Emerging Trends: Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey of large employers show that:

– Only a handful of respondents (5 percent) say voluntary benefits will have little importance to the value they offer employees through their total rewards strategy. Five years ago, 41 percent of employers said voluntary benefits would have little importance.

– More than two-thirds of employers (69 percent) believe voluntary benefits will be a very or more-important component of their total rewards strategy in three to five years…..