How Voluntary Benefits Affect Employees
Should you consider voluntary benefits for your employees? Voluntary benefits are those that employees choose to pay for, in addition to their core health insurance coverage. Voluntary benefits typically include things like life insurance, disability insurance, accident insurance, or financial counseling. Some employers that offer voluntary benefits pay for a portion of the cost, while others pass on the cost to the employee in full, through payroll deferral.
These optional benefits are more valuable to employees than you might think. In fact, surveys have found that 88% of employees view voluntary benefits as part of comprehensive benefits packages; in other words, they expect them to be offered. And, 76% percent of millennials say that benefits customization is an effective way to increase their job loyalty. The big idea: today’s workers are aware of, and care about, voluntary benefits.
Offering voluntary benefits is a way to attract and retain good talent. Voluntary benefits are valued because they cover a wide range of important situations beyond primary health insurance. For example, many employees want to know that should something happen to them, their loved ones will receive a life insurance payout that adequately meets their needs. Or, that if they get injured in a car accident, they’ll still be able to collect an income to support their family. As an employer, you can choose to offer that financial stability without significant (or any) cost to your bottom line.
One of the most attractive perks of voluntary benefits is that they give employees flexibility. Let’s say you decide to offer eight different categories of voluntary benefits. As the name suggests, nobody is required to select and pay for any of your eight voluntary benefits. But, the employees that are interested can review options and choose the ones that make the most sense for them. They can even select the level of coverage they prefer within each. Setting a life insurance policy is a great example. An employee can choose to opt for a life insurance amount that makes sense for their current circumstance — for example, growing their family — while their coworker can opt for a completely different policy amount, or pass on a policy altogether.
As a result of this flexibility, voluntary benefits can help you and your employees save money in the long-run. Rather than offer fewer, more comprehensive packages that combine multiple benefits some employees just don’t need (and are more expensive), employees can save money and purchase benefits individually. You might have employees that only want the most basic disability plan, or you may employ young people that want to opt out of vision plans to allocate funds elsewhere. Everyone will have their prerogatives, whether wise or risky. As an employer, you empower your employees to follow those prerogatives and use their money as they see fit.
Voluntary benefits also help fill in gaps when employer healthcare benefits fluctuate. With rising healthcare costs and changes in legislation, some employers find they have to cut back on the policies they offer or increase costs. Voluntary benefits that offer supplemental coverage for different aspects of health and life can be an important way for employees to maintain coverage and a sense of financial security.
Ultimately, voluntary benefits are highly attractive to current and prospective employees who look for flexibility, cost savings, and financial security (and who wouldn’t?). They should be attractive to employers, too, because they can support employee retention rates, attract new talent, and keep teams happy and healthy. While you can determine the extent to which your company does or does not contribute to the cost of these voluntary benefits, simply offering them to your employees is an impactful place to start.
To learn more about voluntary benefits for your employees, reach out to our experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation!