Employers are broadening the scope of their employee benefit offerings to meet the changing needs of their workforce, according to the results of a survey on the use of rewards programs among U.S. companies conducted by nonprofit human resources association WorldatWork with underwriting support from talent management consultancy Korn Ferry.

The survey of 1,072 employers was conducted between August 15 and September 14, 2018. The results showed that there were statistically significant increases in the rates at which employers offered certain benefit programs from 2017 to 2018. Among the programs that respondents reported offering at higher rates in 2018 than in the previous year are telemedicine services, identity theft insurance, unpaid sabbaticals, paid parental leave, elder care resource and referral services, women’s advancement initiatives, and disaster relief funds. Among the programs that the companies surveyed reported offering at lower rates in 2018 are charitable fundraising programs, floating holidays, onsite fitness centers, and college scholarships.

The vast majority of the employers surveyed said they provide certain health and wellness-related benefits to some or all of their employees, including dental benefits (99%), employee life insurance (99%), long-term disability insurance (98%), employee assistance programs (97%), flexible spending accounts (95%), spouse/dependent life insurance (94%), short-term disability insurance (94%), preferred provider organization (PPO) medical plans (87%), and/or high-deductible medical plans (80%).

In addition, more than three-quarters (77%) of respondents said they offer health savings accounts (HSAs), immunization clinics or promotions (79%), and/or biometric or wellness screening (77%); while smaller shares indicated they offer health maintenance organization (HMO) plans (38%) and/or health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) (31%).

The survey also found that most of the employers polled offer certain health-related benefits as part of their health plans or as standalone benefit programs, including prescription drug plans (100%), vision plans (98%), behavioral health plans (90%), and telemedicine services (81%). The results further indicated that more than two-thirds (67%) of respondents provide child care and/or elder care referral services. Among the other wellness programs offered by large shares of respondents are tobacco or smoking cessation support (83%), fitness club membership discounts or subsidies (71%), weight management programs (70%), and nutritional counseling (68%).

When asked about the paid leave benefits they offer their employees, most of the companies surveyed said they provide holiday pay (98%) and bereavement leave (97%). Just under half (47%) of respondents said they offer paid vacation and sick leave benefits through a paid time off (PTO) bank, while 59% said they provide these benefits separately. In addition, 52% of respondents indicated that they offer paid parental leave, 20% said they offer paid caregiver leave, 9% said they offer unlimited time off, and 8% said they offer paid sabbaticals.

The findings also showed that nearly all (99%) of the employers surveyed offer defined contribution retirement plans and 50% offer nonqualified deferred compensation plans, while smaller shares sponsor defined benefit plans (39%) and/or an employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). Moreover, the survey found that 32% of respondents said they offer retiree health care benefits, and 31% indicated that they offer phased retirement.

The results further indicated that more than half of the employers polled sponsor culture and community
involvement initiatives, including charitable fundraising programs (69%), corporate social responsibility programs (63%), work environment initiatives (83%), and/or diversity or inclusion initiatives (58%). In addition, more than one-third (36%) of respondents reported offering women’s advancement initiatives.

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