SHRM Releases 2023 Employee Benefits Survey Results

Family support benefits rise in the wake of the pandemic; travel expenses for medical care gain coverage

June 12, 2023

LAS VEGAS The number of employers offering various family support and leave benefits has increased significantly, according to the 2023 SHRM Employee Benefits Survey results released today at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo. The need for heightened family support during the pandemic seems to have evolved into long-term parental benefits. Significant increases from 2022 were seen in the share of organizations offering paid maternity and paternity (up 5 percentage points each) or parental leave (up 6 percentage points), as well as adoption leave (up 6 percentage points). 

In addition, perhaps due to the December 2022 enactment of stronger federal protections and accommodations for women who pump breast milk during the workday, more than half of employers now offer onsite lactation facilities. As the national debate about paid family leave continues, the number of organizations offering their workers paid leave (beyond local requirements) continues to rise modestly.  

"In today’s job market, employer-sponsored benefits act as a key recruitment tool, but they’re also pivotal to the employee experience, and thus to retention, satisfaction and engagement,” said Alex Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, chief knowledge officer, SHRM. “Employers are listening to their employees about their own wants and needs, but also the needs of their families, as shown by the increase in family support benefits and the emergence of paid travel expenses for medical care.” 

The SHRM Employee Benefits Survey is one of the longest-running annual surveys of employee benefits in the U.S. Each year, SHRM collects data from HR professionals across the country to capture emerging trends in the popularity and prevalence of various employer-sponsored benefits.  

As the world of work has evolved, SHRM has expanded the 2023 survey with 35 additional items, some newly introduced and others reinstated from previous surveys. SHRM members also have exclusive access to an interactive online database again this year. Using this tool, members can benchmark the survey results by industry, organization size, and location.  

2023 SHRM Employee Benefits Survey Highlights:  

Health Care Benefits:  

  • Health benefits remain the most important benefit category employers feel they can offer.  

  • New this year, 11 percent of employers are reimbursing employees for domestic travel expenses related to seeking medical care, while 6 percent are doing so for international travel. 

  • Corresponding with intense media coverage of the health risks associated with obesity, coverage for weight loss surgery increased 3 percentage points from 2022 to reach 28 percent in 2023. 

  • Preferred provider organization (PPO) plans remain the most common type offered (82 percent, up from 80 percent in 2022). High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) linked to a health savings or spending account (health savings account, health reimbursement arrangement or flexible spending account) continue to gain popularity, reaching 64 percent (up from 61 percent in 2022). 

  • Of the 60 percent of employers that offer a health savings account (HSA) as part of their HDHP, 63 percent contribute to their employees’ accounts. 

  • The prevalence of medical flexible spending accounts (FSAs) declined slightly for the second year in a row, to 62 percent.  

Retirement and Savings: 

  • Tied for second in importance are benefits focused on retirement. Overall, the retirement landscape has changed little since 2022.  

  • More than 9 in 10 employers (94 percent) continue to offer a traditional defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b). Of these employers, 84 percent provide a matching contribution with an average maximum percentage salary match of 7.02 percent.  

  • Roth (post-tax) retirement options continue to gain popularity, rising 3 percentage points to 71 percent this year. Of the employers that offer Roth plans, about 3 in 4 (74 percent) also provide employer matching, with an average maximum percentage salary match of 6.69 percent.  

  • Half of employers (50 percent) automatically enroll eligible employees in a retirement plan, a pattern consistent with the higher levels seen since the onset of the pandemic. Automatic escalation of salary deferrals has also been consistent, with 27 percent of employers offering this feature. 


  • Leave benefits are tied with retirement for second in importance among benefit categories.  

  • Paid vacation (99 percent) and sick leave (95 percent) remain nearly universal, with 70 percent of organizations combining them as paid time off (PTO). Paid open or unlimited leave increased slightly, with 8 percent offering this benefit.  

  • With many employers identifying mental health as a major priority for 2023, about 1 in 5 (19 percent) continue to offer designated paid mental health days (separate from regular sick time). 

Family Care and Leave: 

  • Paid leave to care for immediate family members became slightly more common in 2023, with one-third of employers (33 percent) now offering it. Almost 2 in 10 employers (18 percent) provide paid leave to care for extended family.  

  • Meanwhile, 83 percent of employers provide unpaid leave to care for immediate family as defined by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, and 27 percent allow employees to extend the length of their unpaid leave beyond state or federal requirements. Just over a third (36 percent) of organizations allow employees to take unpaid leave to care for extended family. 

  • Paid adoption leave also rose by 6 percentage points, with about a third of employers (34 percent) now offering it. Paid foster child leave increased 3 percentage points to 25 percent. 

  • Pet insurance is now offered by nearly 1 in 5 employers (19 percent), up from 14 percent in 2022. 

Flexible Work: 

  • In 2023, 62 percent of employers continue to offer hybrid work opportunities.  

  • Among all employers, 59 percent subsidize the cost of at-home office equipment, a drop of 3 percentage points from 2022. The average amount that organizations will provide for at-home office equipment also dropped by $34, to $857.  

  • The costs employers typically cover include office technology (95 percent) and general office supplies (65 percent).  

  • The only other flexible work benefit that more than half of employers offer is flextime during core business hours (54 percent), while a third (33 percent) offer flextime outside of core business hours.  

  • Despite broad publicity about employers trying a four-day workweek (32 hours or less per week, for all or part of the year), this schedule has caught on with only about 1 in 10 employers (9 percent). 

Professional Development: 

  • About 8 in 10 employers provide formal training or education for upskilling/reskilling employees (79 percent) and for keeping skills current (82 percent).  

  • The large majority also cover costs for professional memberships (87 percent), certification/recertification (78 percent) and professional licenses (77 percent). In 2023, these percentages all reached or remained at their highest point within the past five years.  

  • Tuition assistance, offered by 48 percent of employers, is a sought-after benefit for many employees working their way through school. Though the percentage of employers offering this benefit has remained stable from last year, employers may be tightening the purse strings by offering smaller benefit amounts.  

  • Company-provided student loan repayments are another way for employers to support workers grappling with the rising costs of higher education. This is provided by 8 percent of employers, almost unchanged over five years. 


The 2023 SHRM Employee Benefits Survey was conducted from Jan. 17 to March 8, 2023. Online surveys were sent to U.S.-based professional members of SHRM, which yielded eligible responses from 4,217 participants representing independent organizations. Respondents were asked to provide answers regarding what employee benefits their organizations offered during plan year 2023. A stratified sampling approach was used to ensure coverage of all locations (including states) in the online benchmarking tool. Respondents represent organizations of all sizes—from two employees to more than 25,000—in a wide variety of industries and sectors across the U.S. The data is unweighted. 

About SHRM 
SHRM creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. With nearly 325,000 members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 235 million workers and families globally. Learn more at



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