Benefits Balance Shifts Toward Work Life Balance

April 18, 2001 ( - Shifts in work and personal life balance and changes in society are reflected in the results of the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) 2001 Benefits Survey.

The results, comprising the responses of some 754 human resource professionals, reflect the continuing trend towards greater flexibility in the workplace since the first survey in 1997.

Benefits that have increased over the last five years include:

  • paid time off plans
  • domestic partner benefits
  • flexible scheduling
  • retirement and financial planning

Designated leave benefits are being overtaken by paid time off plans in which all types of leave are pooled and each employee decide how it will be used. Almost two thirds of employers offer these plans – almost double compared to the previous year.

In addition, the survey found that the number of employers offering:

  • telecommuting rose from 20% in 1997 to 37% in 2001,
  • flextime benefits increased to 58% this year
  • while compressed workweeks and job sharing also grew

For the aging baby-boomers, more employers are offering retirement benefits:

  • a little below 30% offer financial planning benefits,
  • retirement planning rose from 36% to 43%, and
  • long-term care insurance grew to 46% from 35% in 1997.

Benefits packages have also become increasingly family friendly, with flexible spending accounts the most widely offered at 69%. Many employers are assisting parents with childcare:

  • just under a quarter of respondents allow employees to bring their children to work in an emergency,
  • one fifth offer a child care referral service,
  • almost 15% offer emergency childcare,
  • while, 5% have an on site child care center.

SHRM members can view the complete survey at .