Employee Benefits See Little Change from 2006

For Immediate Release

Jun 24, 2007
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2007 Benefit Survey Shows Slight Decrease in Percentage of Organizations Offering Some Financial & Compensation Benefits

(Alexandria, Va), June 24, 2007—Employee benefits remained relatively stable from 2006 to 2007, despite a slight decrease in the percentage of organizations offering some financial and compensation benefits, according to the results of the Society for Human Resources Management's (SHRM) 2007 Benefits Survey.

The annual survey of human resource (HR) professionals gathers information on the types of benefits employers offer to their employees. Conducted since 1996, it includes the percentages of human resource professionals whose organizations offered each benefit, comparisons across organization staff size and industry and year-to-year trends.

The most commonly offered benefits were direct deposit of paychecks, paid holidays, professional development opportunities, payroll deductions, prescription drug program coverage and dental insurance. Additionally, almost all organizations offered some type of health insurance plans.

The SHRM study also noted that with a few exceptions, organizations with larger staff-sizes were more likely than smaller ones to offer any given benefit. HR professionals indicated that their organizations spent an average of 38 percent of payroll on total benefit costs: 20 percent of the costs were due to mandatory benefits and 18 percent due to voluntary benefits.

Automobile allowance/expenses, individual investment advice, traditional defined benefit pension plan, full flexible benefits plan, retirement planning services, employee discount on company services, commission and loans to employees for emergency/disaster assistance all decreased in 2007 from 2006. Cell phone, pager and/or handheld device for personal use was the only financial and compensation benefit that was offered by more organizations in 2007 compared with 2006.

Also, HR respondents indicated they planned within the next year to include pro-active wellness programs in coming benefit packages such as weight loss programs (5 percent), smoking cessation programs (6 percent), health screening programs (5 percent), and health care premium discount for getting an annual health risk assessment (6 percent).

Most benefits remained the same in 2007 from 2006, while others had minor fluctuations. Noteworthy benefit fluctuations from the study follow:

  • Vision insurance increased from 73 percent to 79 percent (down from 80 percent in 2005).
  • Transit subsidies increased 13 percent to 16 percent at the same time that auto allowances/expenses decreased 60 percent to 49 percent.
  • Telecommuting programs increased from 26 percent to 33 percent for part-time; 45 percent to 48 percent for ad hoc; and 19 percent to 21 percent for full time.
  • Fitness center membership subsidy/reimbursement dropped from 37 percent to 30 percent.
  • Programs for employees to bring a child to the office in emergency situations increased from 22 percent to 29 percent.
  • Programs for a weekly casual dress day increased from 62 percent to 66 percent, at the same time that daily casual business attire decreased 38 percent to 37 percent.
  • Traditional pension plan programs (guaranteed pay based on years of service) decreased 48 percent to 40 percent.
  • HR respondents said that 70 percent of their organizations in 2007 provided an employee prenatal program in comparison to 82 percent in 2006.

Other survey highlights are:

Overall, 41 percent of HR professionals indicated that their organizations offered some form of domestic partner benefits (opposite-sex partners, same-sex partners or both).

Thirty-eight percent of HR professionals reported that their organizations offered health care benefits for dependent grandchildren, and 29 percent offered health care benefits for foster children.

For the seventh consecutive year, dependent care flexible spending accounts was the most commonly offered family-friendly benefit. More than three out of four HR professionals (76 percent) indicated that their organizations offered dependent care flexible spending accounts to allow employees to set aside pretax dollars that can later be reimbursed for dependent care expenses.

The SHRM Benefits Survey offers a comprehensive look at what benefits are being offered by organizations. Information is provided on the following benefits: health care, family-friendly, housing, personal service, financial, travel and leave.

The surveys to HR professionals employed by companies in the U.S. were e-mailed to randomly selected SHRM members, and yielded 590 responses.

A complete copy of the survey is available at www.shrm.org/surveys.

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