Benefit Trends Post-Pandemic
COVID-19 has changed employee benefits. And some of the impacts on plan offerings may be here to stay. Here’s a look at some benefit trends that could stick post-pandemic.
Even in good economic times, financial stress can contribute to distractions, lost productivity, and unplanned absences. To combat these effects, 53% of employers in Bank of America’s Workplace Benefits Report offered financial wellness programs last year. But utilization has remained low. That may change due to the economic repercussions of the crisis on employees’ needs, priorities and goals. Offerings from basic money management tools to personalized financial guidance can help employees make more confident decisions. They can also enhance their financial well-being beyond retirement for life events like marriage or starting a family.
More Generous Leave Policies
More generous leave polices have been on the rise in recent years. In fact, while the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) updated the FMLA and expanded minimum leave, 56% of organizations with less than 500 employees were already providing what was required. Even when FFCRA benefits end on December 31, 2020, the trend towards more leave may continue. According to SHRM research, 32% of those surveyed now offer additional paid leave for employees due to COVID-19 and 34% offer additional unpaid leave. And more companies plan to, even if it’s not required.
Pre-COVID-19, only 7% of civilian workers had flexible workplace benefits according to the 2019 National Compensation Survey. But a recent survey showed that almost half of respondents now working from home want to remain remote post-pandemic. That’s because employees realized they can better balance work and family and save on commuting time and costs. Since an estimated 56% of workers can do their jobs – at least partially – from home, the telecommuting trend may become permanent. Twitter has already announced it’s leaving it up to employees to decide whether to work from home or the office going forward. To see the upsides from remote arrangements, like greater productivity, performance and job satisfaction, read our tips for managing virtual workers.
Consumer Directed Health Plans (CDHPs)
Today, less costly healthcare options like CDHPs that give consumers more control over their spending may see a spike, like high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) coupled with a health savings account (HSA). For family coverage, a worker’s contribution for an HDHP is significantly less than a PPO or HMO says Kaiser Family Foundation. Right now, about 26% of companies providing health benefits offer some kind of HSA-eligible HDHP. But these plans may become more appealing to those looking to lower monthly expenses. Plus, they offer other advantages in an unpredictable economy. Since they’re savings accounts, employees can use the funds for immediate needs – even non-medical ones – with a tax penalty. And workers can carry the money over from year to year to help them prepare for future healthcare expenses.
According to SHRM, 72% of employers offered telemedicine and telehealth in 2019. But during the pandemic, use skyrocketed, boosted by legislative changes that increased flexibility for the services. So adoption may continue. One reason is that employees got familiar with the technology and capabilities. Plus, workers found telehealth can lower healthcare costs. And there are other benefits: better patient satisfaction, improved doctor-patient relationships due to faster, more convenient access, and increased patient engagement.
To learn more about structuring benefits for a post-COVID-19 workforce, contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 877.253.9020.