As we step into 2024, the world of employee benefits continues to evolve. Understanding employee benefits trends isn’t just about keeping up with the latest perks; it’s about delving into what shapes employees’ working lives and wellbeing, and also the willingness of employers to tackle the trends and offer the benefits their employees want and need.
Employee benefits trends are a barometer for broader societal changes and workforce expectations, and reflect changing attitudes towards work-life balance, health and wellness, and an inclusive and supportive work environment. Whether it’s an emphasis on financial wellness in times of economic uncertainty or wanting to make healthcare more accessible to all, each trend provides insights into the evolving needs of today’s workforce.
In 2022, employee benefits were all about overall wellbeing and wellness. In 2023, the focus shifted towards work-life balance and integration. As we start 2024, let’s look at the trends and what benefits you might consider offering.
Inclusive and Flexible Paid Time Off (PTO)
The standard Paid Time Off (PTO) that companies typically offer in the United States starts at 11 days and increases to 15 days after five years of service. However, employees are now advocating for PTO policies covering mental health, parental leave, and caregiving needs beyond the standard 11 to 15 days. Offering inclusive and flexible time off could give employees peace of mind, knowing they have the time to care for personal and family needs.
Flexibility in work models
The pandemic has led many companies to adopt work-from-home models, and in 2023, there’s been a push for return-to-office policies that some employees resist. A survey highlighted that nearly two-thirds of workers would take a pay cut to keep their remote job rather than return to the office. Yet, not all workers want a fully remote position; the same survey showed 46% of employees would prefer a hybrid arrangement. Gathering employee feedback is crucial for adopting fully remote or hybrid policies.
Mental wellbeing and mental health
Employers are growing concerned about their employee’s mental health and wellbeing. In 2023, 77% reported an increase in mental health concerns, with another 16% anticipating a rise in such concerns in the future. Because of this, improving access to mental health services has become a priority, with more options for support and efforts to lower cost barriers. Working with your insurance provider is important to give your employees the care they need to sustain their wellbeing.
Comprehensive healthcare coverage and affordable prescriptions
As of 2023, only 30% of covered workers are in positions where their employer pays for the entirety of their healthcare coverage. Now more than ever, employees are looking to their employer to help with health care costs with comprehensive, or full-coverage, health insurance, which must include the ten essential benefits outlined by the Affordable Care Act, and ensure that employees meet their health needs.
Additionally, the cost of prescription medications is a significant concern for employers, with 92% reporting worries about this issue. To address this, consider implementing a transparent pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) to help manage the costs of medications and treatments.
Increase in health equity
The Center for Disease Control defines health equity as “the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.” Strides are being made in health equity, particularly in making benefits accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status. In 2023, a survey by EY indicated that 98% of organizations have a health equity strategy in place. Other surveys looking forward to the year 2024 show that:
- 86% of employers plan to work with employee resource groups (ERGs) to promote benefits and wellbeing initiatives.
- 61% will require health plan and navigation partners to maintain directories of healthcare and mental health providers.
- Nearly half of employers will ask vendors to report on health equity measures to facilitate measurement.
- 85% of employers will put at least one strategy into action to support the health and wellbeing needs of their LGBTQ+ employees.
Stay ahead of the curve and ensure you have a health equity plan in place to support the health and wellbeing of all your employees. More importantly, make sure you put that plan into action.
The financial wellness of employees is becoming increasingly important. Consider these facts:
- Only 60% of Americans have a 401(k) or retirement plan.
- 40% could not cover a $400 emergency expense.
- 44% live paycheck to paycheck.
- Although 96% of employers feel responsible for their employees’ financial wellness, only 2 in 5 offer financial wellness benefits.
Multiple studies have shown that financial issues are a major source of stress for employees, but financial wellness benefits, such as access to a 401(k), financial education, and emergency savings accounts, can help retain employees and make them happier and more productive.
“The Big Stay”
For 2024, the trend is offering benefits that not only focus on the wellbeing of employees but also contribute to “The Big Stay,” which refers to employees staying in their jobs for longer periods of time. To retain your employees, keep their wants and needs in mind and use their feedback to shape your benefits.
Content provided by Q4intelligence
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