Employee Benefits: What Workers Want May Surprise You

The start of a new year often brings with it the implementation of new employee benefits. This year, more than any other in recent memory, health and wellness has been at the forefront of benefits planning. We are all more attuned to health and wellness due to the coronavirus crisis. But believe it or not, American workers have other concerns, too.

Frac.tl’s 2020 Employee Benefits Survey asked 2000 U.S. workers what they value most in a benefits package. However, the question wasn’t as straight as it sounds. Survey respondents were asked whether they would give ‘some consideration’ or ‘heavy consideration’ to a variety of benefits when having to choose between jobs. They could take a higher paying job with fewer benefits or a lower paying job with better benefits.

As you might expect, health insurance topped the list. Approximately 34% would give some consideration to a better health plan while 54% said they would give heavy consideration. Combine the two groups and you wind up with 88% willing to consider a lower paying job if it had stronger health benefits. But what about the rest of the list? It might surprise you.

Below are the top five employee benefits after better health insurance:

1. Flexible Hours

Flexible scheduling takes a very close second behind better health benefits. In fact, it is only a few percentage points lower. American workers see flexible working hours as more suitable to their lifestyles. They want the ability to set their own schedules rather than their work schedules dictating the rest of their lives. Of course, flexible scheduling is not possible in every industry. But it is a good benefit where it can be implemented.

2. More Vacation Time

Next up is more vacation time. Do not confuse this with unlimited PTO, as that will be discussed in just a minute. Straight up vacation time is important to workers who may only get one or two weeks per year. In many European countries, vacation time is much more generous. Perhaps American workers are looking to their European counterparts with a bit of envy.

3. Work-From-Home Opportunities

It’s not clear when Frac.tl’s was done in relation to coronavirus shutdowns. Nonetheless, work-from-home opportunities are important to more than 75% of the people surveyed. Perhaps people are just getting tired of the commute. Maybe they have had enough of office politics. Who knows? What we do know, as Dallas-based BenefitMall confirmed in a recent post, is that work-from-home opportunities are important to employers and employees alike.

4. Unlimited PTO

Unlimited PTO is an idea that has been tried by some major corporations over the last decade or so. It seems to work for certain kinds of industries in which tight scheduling is not necessary. With unlimited PTO, employees can come and go as they please as long as their work is done on time and up to standard. More than 60% of survey respondents say unlimited PTO is important to them.

5. Student Loan Repayment

The last item on the list should be no surprise to anyone who follows employee benefits programs. Increasingly, college students are graduating under a mountain of crushing debt. They appreciate employers who include student loan repayment benefits in their packages. Such a benefit gives a young worker hope that their loans will be paid off in a reasonable amount of time.

Health insurance is still the number one benefit priority for American workers. But despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, workers are interested in more than just good health plans. Frac.tl’s 2020 Employee Benefits Study is proof of that.

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