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Top Benefit Trends of 2019 and Beyond

December 20, 2019

As 2019 comes to an end we can look back at how benefit offerings have changed this year and perhaps get a glimpse into what might continue to be a trend into 2020 and beyond. Being in an employee-driven market right now makes for new benefit offerings that cater to candidates and current employees alike. Human Resource Executive classified top five benefit trends of 2019.

Financial Wellness:  Employers are becoming increasingly aware of the struggles their employees are facing when it comes to financial woes.  Earlier this month the 2019 MassMutual Workplace Financial Wellness Study found that 79% of employers said that their employees are struggling financially, and 57% of employees are seeking help from their employer.  Luckily for them, employers are listening and research from Bank of America found that twice as many companies (53%) offer workplace financial wellness programs compared to four years ago (24%).

Paid Parental Leave: Since the U.S. does not mandate any paid parental leave, it continues to make the news when large employers in the country roll out any form of paid parental leave programs.  In ASE’s own Michigan Policies and Benefits Survey there was approximately a 5% increase in organizations offering paid maternity leave since 2017.  Despite the popularity and increases in offering paid parental leave, SHRM reports that less than 30% of organizations actually do, leaving it to be a big opportunity in 2020 and beyond.

Personalization and Digitalization: We continue to hear about the merging of multiple generations within our workforce and the differences between each of those generations.  That makes it no surprise that tailoring benefit options is a growing trend that isn’t going away.  No employee is the same therefore their needs are not the same.  In addition, the increasing use of technology allows organizations to offer personalized options through the use of apps and enrollment sites.

Student Loan Assistance: Another benefit that is rising in popularity but is still an opportunity for many is student loan assistance. Recent graduates are continuing to enter the workforce, but the amount of debt they bring with them is a lot larger than generations in the past.  With around 7 in 10 college seniors graduating with student loan debt averaging $30,000, employers will have to understand the burden their younger employees are facing.  According to SHRM the percentage of employers offering a student debt benefit doubled from 4% in 2018 to 8% in 2019.

Employers Taking Charge of Healthcare: Healthcare costs are growing each year and have reached unsustainable levels.  Employers are realizing that the stress employees are facing over high costs of care is likely to affect their productivity at work, and they are doing what they can to help.  Employers are continuously trying to find ways to cut healthcare costs for their organizations and employees.  ASE’s 2019 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey found that some of the most prevalent cost containment strategies that organizations implemented prior to 2019 or were planning to implement in 2019 were offering telemedicine with one or more health plans, increased employee education regarding help plan features and costs, implementing a Consumer-Driven Health Plan, and implementing or expanding wellness programs.

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