June 29 2007 - The Society for Human Resources Management's annual benefit survey found little difference between the employee benefits on offer in 2007 and the previous year with only a slight reduction in the percentage of organizations offering some financial and compensation benefits.
The SHRM 2007 Benefits Survey of randomly selected HR professionals received 590 responses and found that, in addition to some type of health insurance plans, the most commonly offered benefits were:
- Direct deposit of paychecks
- Paid holidays
- Professional development opportunities
- Payroll deductions
- Prescription drug program coverage, and
- Dental insurance
Not surprisingly, the survey found that with few exceptions organizations with large workforces were more likely to offer any given benefit than smaller organizations. On average, organizations spent 38% of payroll on total benefit costs, with 20% of costs being attributed to mandatory benefits and 18% to voluntary benefits.
The only advance on 2006 in financial and compensation benefits came in the provision of Cell phones, pagers and/or handheld devices for personal use. The following benefits all showed a decrease between 2006 and 2007:
- Automobile allowance/expenses
- Individual investment advice
- Traditional defined benefit pension plans
- Full flexible benefits plans
- Retirement planning services
- Employee discount on company services
- Commission and loans to employees for emergency/disaster assistance
While most benefits showed little changed between 2007 and 2006, the most noteworthy benefit fluctuations found by the study were:
- Vision insurance - up from 73% to 79%
- Transit subsidies - up from 13% to 16%
- Telecommuting programs - up from 26% to 33% for part-time; 45% to 48% for ad hoc; and 19% to 21% for full time
- Fitness center membership subsidy/reimbursement - down from 37% to 30%
- Programs for employees to bring a child to the office in emergency situations - up from 22% to 29%
- Programs for a weekly casual dress day increased - up from 62% to 66%
- Traditional pension plan programs (guaranteed pay based on years of service) - down from 48% to 40%
- Employee prenatal programs - down from 82% to 70%
Some other survey highlights included:
For the seventh year running, dependent care flexible spending accounts (allowing to set aside pretax dollars) were the most commonly offered family-friendly benefit with 76% of HR professionals stating that their organizations offered this benefit.
41% of organizations offered some form of domestic partner benefits (opposite-sex partners, same-sex partners or both).
38% of organizations offered health care benefits for dependent grandchildren, and 29% offered health care benefits for foster children.
Pro-active wellness programs were planned for the coming year by a number of employers, including weight loss programs (5 percent), smoking cessation programs (6 percent), health screening programs (5 percent), and health care premium discounts for annual health risk assessment (6 percent).