Employers "Balance" Benefits in Slowing Economy

April 23, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Workers are finding a greater array of worklife benefit options, thanks to the still-tight labor market, according to a survey of 1,020 US employers by Hewitt Associates.

The management consultancy found that the number of companies offering these types of benefits increased last year, even as the economy slowed.

The programs that grew the most over the year, in terms of the number of companies offering them include:

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  • on-site personal services,
  • group purchasing discounts,
  • personal and professional growth programs, and
  • financial education and planning.


For the family

More traditional family oriented continued to be popular, specifically,

  • child care assistance is offered by 91% of companies, dependent care spending accounts by 89% and resource or referral services by 43%, and emergency child care programs by 16% of employers.
  • nearly half of those surveyed make elder care benefits available, 34% provide resource or referral programs, while 20% offered long term care insurance.
  • almost three-quarters offer flexible work arrangements, including flextime by 58%, part-time employment by 48%, telecommuting by 30% and job sharing, compressed workweeks and summer hours by 28%, 21% and 12% respectively.
  • just over a third provide benefits to adoptive parents, with reimbursement levels ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per adoption.

Professional and financial growth

More than three quarters of companies provide opportunities for personal and professional growth, such as:

  • tuition reimbursement, offered by 77%,
  • developmental seminars and workshops, and
  • career counseling.

Financial planning and scholarship programs are offered by 41% of employers.

Perks and privileges

Almost 40% of those surveyed offer group purchasing discounts, with benefits such as:

  • reduced-price entertainment and travel
  • insurance discounts
  • group auto insurance
  • group homeowners insurance