Trends and Statistics in Employee Benefits: A Quick Guide for Small Business Owners

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Employee benefits are more important than ever for attracting and retaining top talent. And yet, historically, the smaller the company, the less likely it is to offer benefits. But times are changing and so are benefits—especially for small businesses. That’s why we want to share some employee benefits trends and statistics with you and show you how small business owners can participate in these positive trends.

Why do employers offer benefits?

Employers offer benefits to attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive landscape. According to a Glassdoor survey, employees are more interested in benefits than a pay raise! And MetLife’s 2018 Employee Benefit Trends Study showed that 51% of employers believe health and wellness benefits will be more important for employee retention in the next three to five years.

Employee benefits trend: Flexibility

As mentioned above, small businesses have historically been less likely to offer benefits than larger companies. This is partly because traditional benefits plans don’t work for many small businesses and alternate options were scarce.

But the benefits industry is moving towards flexibility. Large organizations are revamping their benefits plans to give employees the flexibility they want and the protection they need. Benefits Canada reports that KPMG revamped their benefits program to make it more flexible and easier to understand. Their employees can now choose the level of medical and dental coverage, move money from a wellness pool to other benefits and they each have $2000 for mental health coverage.

How small business owners can get involved in the flexibility trend: Choose to provide as many options as you can for employees in their Benefit Wallet. The Benefit Wallet is a flexible spending account. Benefits can include health and dental, wellness, savings, charitable giving and personal insurance.

Employee benefits trend: Wellness

Wellness programs help employees become or stay well and this trend is hot. Wellness involves everything from onsite wellness programs to employee assistance programs and flexible benefits that can be used for gym memberships and other health maintenance programs.

The Workplace Wellness Trends: 2019 Survey Report, published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, found that:

  • 71% of businesses offer wellness benefits to improve overall health and well-being of their employees.
  • 29% offer wellness benefits to control and/or reduce health-related costs.
  • 84% of surveyed organizations offer wellness benefits through wellness plans or as part of their employee benefits package.

How small business owners can get involved in the wellness trend: Choose to offer a wellness spending account (WSA) as part of your Benefit Wallet with BeniPlus.

Employee benefits trend: Mental Health Support

Though there’s still stigma associated with mental illness, it’s becoming more common for workplaces to discuss and support mental health and wellness.

In the U.S. and Canada, there’s a lot more coverage for mental health issues than there was in 2014. This includes access to psychological services, health risk assessments, meditation and mindfulness classes, etc.

The Workplace Wellness Trends: 2019 Survey Report surveyed 619 organizations across Canada and the U.S. and found that:

  • 79% of Canadian organizations offer mental health coverage (40% in 2014).
  • 87% of U.S. organizations offer mental health coverage (69% in 2014).

How small business owners can get involved in the trend to support their employees’ mental health: Choose to offer a healthcare spending account (HSA) so employees can visit healthcare professionals and a wellness spending account (WSA) that lets employees use their benefits to improve their health and well-being. You can also ask us about our partnership with TiaHealth to see if that’s right for your business.

Employee benefits trend: Offering benefits for full-time and part-time employees

In 2011, a Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA) study showed that mid-sized employers are more likely to offer benefits than smaller companies.

Figure 1: In 2011, LIMRA finds that mid-size companies are more likely to offer benefits than small businesses.

Fortunately, the benefits industry has evolved in the last decade, making it easier than ever for small businesses to offer simple, flexible and affordable benefits to their employees. We anticipate the small business numbers will continue to rise in the next decade, especially since offering benefits to full-time (salaried and hourly) employees and part-time employees is trending.

The Toronto Board of Trade published The Big Bench: 2019-2020 Toronto Region Compensation Benchmark report and explored which benefits are offered to employee types.

Here’s what they found in their survey of 205 small, medium and large employers in the Toronto region:

  • 100% of employers offer benefits plans to full-time salaried employees.
  • 40% of employers offer benefits plans to eligible part-time employees.
  • 96% of employers offer short-term disability plans for salaried and hourly employees.
  • 98% of employers offer long-term disability benefits to salaried employees
  • 88% of employers offer long-term disability benefits to hourly employees.
  • 100% of employers provide health plans for salaried and hourly employees.

The average allotment for healthcare spending accounts (HSA) is $2,042 per year for executives and $965 per year for management and staff.

How small business owners can get involved in the trend of expanding benefits to part-time and hourly employees: Choose to make hourly and part-time employees eligible for benefits when you set up the Benefit Wallet for your employees.

These benefits trends are positive for small business owners and we’d love to help you take care of yourself and your employees this year and beyond.

Take 10 minutes today to get a quote for our simple, flexible and affordable employee benefits program.

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