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2020 Employee Benefits

U.S. Employee Benefits in 2020

​The 2020 edition of the SHRM Employee Benefits Survey, one of the longest annual studies on employee benefits, offers another glimpse into the prevalence of employer-offered benefits. Using data collected from thousands of HR professionals across the United States, results from this survey are carefully analyzed to identify short- and long-term changes in benefits organizations offer to employees.

To adapt to the changes the COVID-19 pandemic forced workplaces across the globe to encounter, this year’s survey focused primarily on benefits often considered core to many benefits plans, including healthcare, leave, retirement, family-friendly, flexible work, and professional development benefits. Benefits that were reliant on employees being in a physical workplace setting, benefits most drastically impacted by the pandemic (e.g., business travel and relocation benefits), and other benefits with historically low incidence rates were excluded from this survey. Instead, we added several questions directly related to employee benefits during a pandemic.

Download the 2020 edition of the SHRM Employee Benefits Survey Executive Summary below or download the full benefits prevalence results by selecting each report by industry, organization size, or region. All reports provide data on the prevalence of benefits over the past five years.

Full Report

Executive Summary



Organization Size


Key Findings

In 2020, a majority of employers said they had either expanded upon or maintained some key benefits related to the pandemic. 78% of employers said they had expanded on telework options and 43% said they expanded offerings related to telemedicine services. Retirement benefits, ranked second only to healthcare benefits since 2019, dropped in ranked importance behind other benefits categories.

Apart from high-deductible health plans linked to a savings/spending account, the prevalence of employer-offered healthcare plans dropped slightly in 2020. However, healthcare services within offered plans increased since 2019, including coverage of mental health services and critical illness insurance.

Many more organizations this year offered some type of formal training or education to develop new skills compared to the last five years - likely influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and new skillsets employers required throughout.

Other Benefits Resources

Get assistance finding a benefits broker with the SHRM Broker Finder

Get immediate answers to common benefits questions with HR Express Requests (under "Hot Topics Menu")

Ask your peers in the SHRM community about benefits on SHRM Connect

Read the latest from SHRM on benefits

Discover more research from SHRM


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