Top 10 employee benefits for 2020. HR trends forecast the most desired employee benefits for 2020 like pet perks, flex work and financial wellness programs.

It’s time to start building your organization’s employee benefits for 2020. 

Companies can reduce turnover by nearly 140 percent with the right mix of benefits, according to research from Paycor. The annual employee benefits survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides data on the prevalence of benefits over time to help employers determine which employee benefits are most in-demand and which ones are phasing out.

Here is our list of the top 10 employee benefits for 2020:

Top 10 Employee Benefits for 2020

#10 Pet-Friendly Employee Benefits

Fifteen percent of companies now offer some form of pet health insurance. Health insurance for pets is a benefit that’s grown 6 percent since 2015 (4 percent of that was just this last year). Some companies have gone as far as offering paid time off or the flexibility to work from home for employees who adopt a pet, referred to affectionately as ‘paw-ternity leave.’ 

#9 The Benefits of Paid Leave

Almost 80 percent of employees live paycheck to paycheck. Without an emergency savings account to fall back on, employees turn to credit cards to cover unexpected expenses or reduce spending on other things, like necessary healthcare. Ninety-four percent of low-income employees do not have access to paid family leave, and they are the employees who need it most.

Paid leave is on the national legislative agenda in this congressional cycle, as Oregon recently became the eighth state to adopt a paid family and medical leave policy. It’s worth exploring organizational costs and strategies for paid leave benefits as the debate plays out on the national stage.

#8 Transportation Benefits for Employees

Nearly half of workers consider their commute to be the worst part of their day and one in five employees say they are ‘regularly late’ for work due to travel disruptions. Companies like Apple have started to provide commuting reimbursements or company shuttles to help ease the angst over commutes. It’s a smart strategy to attract and retain talent in a tight labor market.

#7 Flexible Scheduling Benefits

More than 10 percent of employees quit because of a poor work-life balance regarding their company’s schedule, commute, flexibility or travel. Flexible scheduling makes a big difference for new parents, caretakers, students, employees with ongoing health issues and employees with long commutes. 

Flexible work schedules give employees some sort of control over when and where they work. It establishes a level of trust with their employer and allows them to be there for friends and family when it matters most. 

#6 Family Planning Benefits for Employees

More employers are offering family-friendly benefits like paid maternity leave and fertility services to attract and retain employees. It’s not just big corporations either, 10 percent of employers with 50 or fewer employees offer some sort of fertility benefit (up from 4 percent in 2016). Egg harvesting or freezing, in-vitro fertilization treatments, paid paternity leave and emergency/sick childcare are just a few of the family-friendly benefits growing as part of the larger trend to expand work-life balance policies.

#5 Tech Benefits for Employees

SHRM found over 50 percent of employers provide a company-owned business cell phone/smartphone for business and personal use. More than 40 percent offer subsidies for cell phone/smartphone bills for employee-owned devices. Surprisingly, nearly 15 percent of organizations offer free computers for employees’ personal use. Tech benefits ensure that employees have the right equipment to get the work done whether they’re in the office, traveling or working remotely.

#4 Transgender-Inclusive Healthcare Benefits

The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans (IFEBP) found nearly 30 percent of employers now offer transgender-inclusive benefits, like coverage of sex-reassignment surgery or subsidies for cosmetic procedures, such as electrolysis, mastectomy and Adam’s apple reduction surgery. 

“Employers are increasingly recognizing the importance of LGBT benefits,” says Julie Stich, associate vice president, content, for the IFEBP in Brookfield, Wisconsin. “The growing awareness of LGBT rights has made its way into the workplace, and organizations are adjusting the design of their benefits programs and the language of their diversity policies to be inclusive of LGBT employees and their families.”

#3 Student Loan Debt Repayment Programs

There’s no way to ignore the massive student loan debt crisis in America. Employers have been developing solutions to help employees who are struggling to pay down their share of the more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. Some companies are allowing workers to transfer up to five days of paid time off for payments against student loan debt. Other programs offer student loan refinancing or allow employers to match employee 401(k) contributions with student loan repayments. 

#2 Mental Health Employee Benefits

Nearly a quarter of U.S. workers have been diagnosed with depression and 40 percent of them take an average of 10 days off from work each year because of their mental illness, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. The good news? WHO also estimates that for every $1 put into scaled up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. 

Employers can minimize the effects of mental illness in the workplace by identifying work-related risk factors and simplifying access to mental health benefits.

Top 10 Employee Benefits for 2020: Financial Wellness Programs Are #1

Money causes the most stress in the lives of almost 60 percent of employees, according to the latest report by PwC. It was the top choice for life stressor across all generations, well ahead of issues with jobs, relationships, and health. More than 30 percent of employees say their health has been impacted by their financial worries. 

When PwC asked respondents what employer benefit they don’t currently have but would like, one in four employees said they want a financial wellness program with an unbiased counselor. Research by Paycor found that financial wellness benefits appeal to all age groups.

Financial wellness programs, like Best Money Moves, give employees personalized tools to help them better manage their money, pay off their debts, build their savings and plan for retirement.

More on Trends in Employee Benefits

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