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September 4, 2012

Talking Benefits – Part 1 of 2

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:00 am

Throughout the summer months, numerous benefits surveys are released and begin to provide information to employers about benefits trends.   SHRM’s “2012 Employee Benefits Report“, summarizes findings from its annual survey conducted at the beginning of 2012 and released in June.  Key findings from this survey include:

  •  The number of employers offering Health Savings Accounts continues to grow.
  • Organizations continue to put increased emphasis on preventive health and wellness by offering programs which reward employees through health care premium discounts and bonuses and incentives for completing certain health and wellness programs.
  • Defined contribution retirement savings plans and Roth 401(k) savings plans continue to be the predominant type of retirement savings plan.  The percentage of employers offering matching contributions did show a decline in this year’s survey.
  • Paid time-off plans continue to become more popular. These plans combine traditional vacation, sick and personal leave into one bank of time off.

Okay,  if you read this far, you are probably saying “so what” or “what’s really new here”?  My guess is most employers may be taking a conservative approach with their benefits plans based on upcoming elections and the uncertainty associated with the Affordable Care Act.  And, it’s no surprise that prevention and wellness are at the forefront of employers’ minds.  Employers are going to have to engage employees in trying to cut costs and just ‘expecting’ people to be healthy is not working.  It seems like the more interesting questions have to do with what your employees are telling you about benefits (are you even asking) and how you communicate about benefits these days (not only at open enrollment but throughout the year)?

In Part 2 of this blog, I’ll take a look at some trends in these areas . . . stay tuned.


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