A survey of major U.S. employers by Hewitt Associates shows more companies are offering work/life benefits to their employees this year, despite the economic downturn. The two fastest growing benefits are group purchasing programs and onsite personal conveniences.
- Group purchasing (discounted purchases) are offered by 44% of companies surveyed. The most prevalent programs involve auto insurance (26%), homeowners insurance (25%), long-term care insurance (23%) and legal services (12%).
- Onsite personal services are offered by 61%. The most popular onsite conveniences are ATM (39%), banking services (24%), credit union (19%), dry cleaners (19%) and travel services (18%).
- Alternative work arrangements (flexible work options) are offered by nearly three-fourths of all businesses. The most common arrangements are flextime (59%), part-time employment (48%), work at home (30%), job sharing (28%), compressed workweeks (21%) and summer hours (12%).
- Personal and professional growth opportunities are offered by 80% of companies. These opportunities include education reimbursement programs (79%), onsite/offsite training, personal and professional growth workshops, career counseling and support groups.
- Child care is the most common work/life benefit, with 94% of companies offering some form of assistance, such as dependent care spending accounts.
- Elder care has experienced steady growth over the past few years. Half of all employers offer some form of elder care assistance and almost a quarter offer long-term care insurance.
- Adoption benefits are offered by 34% of the companies surveyed.
- Financial planning services and advice is provided by 44%. This category includes scholarship programs and financial education workshops.
"We have long said that work/life benefits present a great, and often low-cost, way to motivate employees, engender loyalty and enhance productivity," said Hewitt work/life consultant Carol Sladek. "The fact that these programs have continued to grow through a period of deep budget cuts and belt tightening suggests that employers recognize their impact on the bottom line."