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Voluntary Benefits can Help Attract and Retain Talent

June 8, 2023

By Linda Olejniczak, courtesy of SBAM-approved partner, ASE

Voluntary benefits are services or products offered by employers, often at discounted rates, as a perk of employment. Employers can provide benefits that employees want, while employees will have a variety of insurance options available in one convenient place and as the name implies, it is optional to purchase.

They generally allow employees to enroll in the benefits that are most important to them, are cost-efficient and portable, and contribute to an employee’s work-life balance. Because of this, voluntary benefits have become a core component of many companies’ benefits strategies.

There are four key characteristics to these offerings:

  1. Employee-paid
  2. Offered through an employer
  3. Solicited and enrolled through a carrier or enrollment firm
  4. Paid via automatic payroll deductions

Some common voluntary benefits include:

  • Disability income insurance
  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Pet health insurance
  • Supplemental health insurance
  • Gym Memberships
  • Identity theft insurance
  • Travel Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Legal Counseling
  • Homeowners’ Insurance
  • Mortgage Services
  • Student Loan Repayment Programs
  • Financial Counseling
  • Tuition Reimbursement

Employers should consider expanding their benefit offerings to include voluntary benefits because they are not only cost-efficient but also easy to implement, and employees are looking for them. Voluntary benefits appeal to both employee and employer needs.

Employer advantages include:

  • A cost-efficient way to supplement health care benefits
  • Increased expense control in the face of rising benefits costs
  • Improved employee morale

Employee advantages include:

  • Affordable premiums
  • Easy enrollment process
  • Freedom to choose benefits that suit their needs

Voluntary benefits may not be the right solution for all employers and employees. Employers should examine their current benefits package to determine which benefits are popular by surveying their employees. In addition, focus groups with employees can help determine which voluntary benefits they would prefer.

Even if they decline to participate, employees usually appreciate it when their employer offers voluntary benefits. They may use them as they cycle through different phases in their career and personal life.

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