Benefits represent about 40 percent of a worker's total compensation and are important sources of personal and financial stability for today's workers, according to a 1997 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey.
Demographic changes since the 1950s have made benefit programs especially attractive for employees. More families have both partners working. In 1995, for example, 61 percent of married women participated in the workforce, compared to 41 percent in 1970, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. "As a result, employees will increasingly ask employers to help them balance their work and personal lives," according to the SHRM survey.
The most popular benefit programs, according to survey respondents:
Health care benefits.
Life insurance is offered by 96 percent of respondents' organizations; 91 percent provide dental insurance and 87 percent offer prescription programs. Nearly every organization offers some type of health insurance. Fifty-five percent offer medical flexible spending accounts and 44 percent offer health care premium flexible spending accounts. Another 43 percent have wellness programs with resources and information for employees and health screening programs.
Ninety-four percent said their organizations offer paid vacations, 91 percent offer paid bereavement leave and 86 percent offer paid sick leave. Nearly 60 percent offer paid maternity leave and 48 percent offer paid personal days.
Family friendly benefits.
Dependent care, flexible spending accounts and flextime are the most widely offered. Nearly 60 percent of the survey respondents said their organizations offer flexible spending accounts; 46 percent offer flextime.
Personal services benefits.
Nearly all organizations (96 percent) provide professional development opportunities such as seminars, conferences and courses and 81 percent offer educational assistance. In addition, 83 percent offer casual dress days and 57 percent provide automobile allowances or expenses.
Nine-out-of-10 employers provide on-site parking, 90 percent have payroll deduction programs and 86 percent have direct deposit programs. In addition, 68 percent offer defined contribution retirement plans, 49 percent offer defined benefit retirement plans and 60 percent offer membership to a credit union.
Nearly 60 percent of organizations offer relocation benefits to accommodate initiatives to expand nationally and globally.
Business travel benefits.
The two most common business travel benefits are paid long distance calls to home (70 percent) and permission for employees to retain earned airline frequent flier miles (69 percent).
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the leading voice of the human resource profession, represents the interests of more than 83,000 professional and student members from around the world.