A Quarter of Employers Shifted Benefit Costs to Employees

July 28, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Half of employers say the economy has affected the benefits they offer their employees, according to a survey conducted by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company.

A news release said 26% of employers surveyed reported they have increased the amount employees contribute to their benefits costs. Twelve percent reported eliminating benefits altogether.

Another 12% of employers said they offered employee-paid voluntary benefit options as a result of the down economy. Only 10% reported adding to benefits offered, and only 9% said they increased the amount they contributed to employee benefit costs.

Looking ahead, nearly 42% of employers are considering changing their benefits packages in the next 12 months, according to the news release. More than 60% said they would consider adding employee-paid voluntary benefits to enhance their benefits plans.

Benefits Understanding

More than 92% of employers surveyed by Colonial Life said it is very important to their business that employees understand and appreciate the value of their benefits; however, less than 19% think their employees have a very good understanding of their benefits. Nearly 5% said they think their employees know nothing at all about their benefits.

The vast majority (nearly 90%) of employers said having one-to-one meetings between a benefits counselor and each employee would significantly improve their employees’ understanding of their benefits.