Better Benefits, Lower Costs
The “New Normal” of Benefits Employers Can Promote
The “New Normal” of Benefits Employers Can Promote
Several New Workplace Perks Forward-Thinking Leaders Are Incorporating to Support Their Workforce In 2020
With the "new normal" of working life, it's no surprise that it comes with an array of new and expanded benefits to help support employees at work and home. Acknowledging that employees are being stretched thin with new home duties – can anyone say virtual school? – employers are stepping up to provide a new menu of benefits, or highlighting some often-ignored benefits, to support employees during this time. The below benefits have emerged as popular this past year and should be promoted in our “new normal” world.
Since the pandemic, the large majority of employers with 50 or more workers have embraced telemedicine, with 85% offering health care services in this mode. Kaiser Family Foundation reports that telemedicine offerings have increased significantly within the last year, especially among employers with between 50-199 workers. Not just for urgent care, telehealth has expanded to behavioral health, nutrition and dermatology services as well. Pandemic aside, seeing doctors via telehealth is simply more convenient and cost-effective, which is why we think telehealth is here to stay. For more information, review the recent blog post: The Power of Telemedicine and How Telemedicine is Reducing the Cost of Healthcare.
Will we ever return to the office? The pandemic lockdown created a wave of people who pivoted from office-work to homework very quickly. According to a Stanford study, an incredible 42% of the US labor force is now working from home full-time. Although we know that not every job is set up to telework, signs are pointing toward a hybrid model of working in the office and home. Companies are now promoting their “new normal” of telework and employees are loving the flexibility and efficiency working from home. Download OneDigital’s Work From Home Guide to outline your company’s telecommuting or work from home policy and expectations, and educate your employees on best practices for working at home.
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts
Dependent Care Accounts have grown in popularity as parents struggle to pay for childcare with a virtual educational model. Typically these accounts get little enrollment, but their financial impact can make a difference for working parents. These pre-tax accounts let employees save about 30% on qualified childcare expenses, and some benefits for elder care as well.
We are seeing a trend toward employers contributing to an employee’s dependent care account as well. Employees are allowed to make changes to their DCA if the childcare situation changes due to a change in cost or coverage (i.e., daycare is closed or employee is now staying home to care for child), which means the employee can change elections or discontinue elections mid-year. Check your plan document for details. For more on COVID-19 and Mid-Year Election Changes, check out this recent post: New COVID-19 Mid-Year Election Change and FSA Carryover Guidance
Gone are the days when HR professionals hand out an EAP brochure to handle “personal situations.” Now HR pros are connecting resources and apps to support an employee’s personal situation. Whether it’s offering a resilience/wellbeing app like Zillions for those who are concerned with wellbeing and stress or offering a remote diabetes program like Livango for those who need extra support managing their condition, the trend is to offer a customized experience for employees as they navigate challenges with the “new normal.” If personally targeted resources are outside your budget, make sure you are getting every bit of value from your EAP by letting employees know how to access it and making sure management knows to mention it to employees in distress. EAP can act as an employee’s personal assistant, locating services and making recommendations to alleviate stress. Listen to this OneDigital Podcast on How Employers Can Support Working Parents for other ideas and resources for working parents.
Spotlight Disability Benefits
While medical, dental and vision benefits often get the most press at open enrollment, now is the time to highlight short- and long-term disability. These lesser-known benefits provide a wage if the employee needs to take time off if they are sick with an illness or injury. Accident and Hospital Indemnity plans have also gained some traction during the pandemic as employees look for plans that will pay them money if hospitalized or injured. Read more on this topic Protecting What Matters Most by Offering Disability Benefits
In today’s exceptionally demanding climate, it’s essential to offer benefits your employees value and rely upon to reinforce your support and commitment to their wellbeing. To learn more about cutting-edge offerings, check out this recent blog post: A Brave New World: Employee Perks.
To learn more about the offerings that would align with your current strategy, connect with a OneDigital strategist today.