July 10, 2008 — A 2008 employee benefits survey reveals that employers are able to maintain a balance in employee benefits despite existing economic challenges, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The report was released at SHRM’s 60th annual conference in Chicago.
Declined benefits, such as health screening programs, stock options, paid adoption, paid paternity leave, and legal assistance, are being balanced with other benefits like allowing personal use of company-provided cell phones and communication devices, on-site vaccinations, reimbursement or subsidy for fitness-center membership, and Roth 401(k) savings plans.
Other major findings of the survey include:
• Organizations are adjusting their benefits to suit the contemporary definition of family changes. Thirty-six percent offer healthcare coverage for both same-sex partners and dependent grandchildren. In addition, 30 percent offer healthcare benefits for foster children, and 15 percent give paid adoption leave.
• Organizations identify the importance of balance between work and home. For example, 62 percent pay for long-distance calls home during business travel; and 37 percent offer a compressed workweek.
• Organizations are helping employees to improve their health. Seventy-two percent offer wellness resources and information, 40 percent offer smoking-cessation programs, 31 percent offer weight-loss programs, and 21 percent cover bariatric procedures.
Human-resource professionals reveal that the benefits costs to employers average 39 percent of payroll. Twenty-one percent of these costs are for mandatory benefits, and 18 percent are for employee-selected benefits.
Source: Medical NewsWire, www.medicalnewswire.com/index.shtml