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Employers increasingly turn over responsibility for managing retirement, leave and health care benefits to employees
LAS VEGAS — The economy negatively affected the employee benefits offered by more than three-quarters of organizations, according to a
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey report released today at its
63rd Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas.
Seventy-seven percent of surveyed HR professionals said in 2011 that the economy negatively affected benefits to some or to a large extent, an increase from 72 percent in 2010, SHRM’s
2011 Employee Benefits Research Report showed.
In addition, the national survey found that more employers offered benefits that put responsibility on employees for managing retirement savings, leave and health care costs.
The majority of organizations (84 percent) provide a preferred provider organization (PPO) for employee health care, with only a third of employers using health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Health savings accounts (HSAs) are gaining in popularity as a health care benefit. In 2011, 35 percent of organizations provided HSAs, up from 29 percent in 2007.
Most businesses (93 percent) offer defined contribution retirement savings plans for retirement savings, more than those that offer defined benefit pension plans (22 percent) and formal phased retirement programs (5 percent). Although employees are more responsible for managing retirement savings, 42 percent of employers provide individual investment advice and 37 percent supply retirement preparation planning advice.
“We have seen many cuts to HR benefit budgets over the last three years,” said Mark J. Schmit, director of research at SHRM. “Organizations have had to be creative to find ways to compensate for the loss of benefits with hard cuts in order to stay competitive in the recruitment and retention of top talent.”
The future of employee benefits includes workplace flexibility benefits, which increased in 2011. More than half of surveyed HR professionals (53 percent) said their organizations provide flextime as a benefit, up from 49 percent in 2010. Twenty percent offer telecommuting on a full-time basis, an increase from the 17 percent of employers that offered it last year.
“The addition of workplace flexibility programs has been one of the primary tactics organizations are using to offset the benefit losses,” Schmit said. “These programs can have positive outcomes for both the employees and the organization.”
Employer spending on employee benefits remained stable this year. Organizations spent an average of 19 percent of an employee’s annual salary on mandatory benefits, like Social Security and workers’ compensation. Employers spent an additional 19 percent on voluntary benefits and 11 percent on leave pay benefits. Larger organizations spent more on voluntary benefits than organizations with small staff levels.The survey of 600 randomly selected HR professionals examines 284 benefits. Among other findings:
Colonial Life, based in Columbia, South Carolina, is the exclusive sponsor of the SHRM
2011 Employee Benefits survey report.
Employee Benefits Research Report helps HR professionals to see benefits trends. It is an important informational tool for We Know Next, a resource SHRM launched about a year ago, where business executives, policymakers and human resource professionals can explore and discuss the latest trends shaping the future of work. A revamped WeKnowNext.com, launched to coincide with SHRM’s 2011 Annual Conference & Exposition, includes the new “Next” blog, the latest workforce trends, expert commentary and public policy information.
WeKnowNext.comis a forum for businesses to explore many of the trends noted in the SHRM 2011 Employee Benefits survey report, from adopting practices such as family-friendly benefits, flexible working benefits, and paid time off plans appealing to employees and helping employers attract and retain talent.
For more information, visit the research section of www.SHRM.org at
http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Pages/default.aspx. Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.
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