Small-Business Employees Willing to Pay for Benefits

August 21, 2012 ( - Small-business employees want more benefits and are willing to pay for them, a MetLife study found.

One-half of Generation X and Generation Y workers employed in smaller businesses (less than 500 employees) said current economic conditions were making them look more toward employee benefits to achieve financial security.  

Gen X and Y, who constitute 56% of the small-business work force in the survey, also recognize that their goal of more financial security can entail a cost. As a group they are willing to do their part, despite the financial strains some of them experience. Two-thirds of Gen X and Gen Y small-business employees would be willing to pay more of the cost of benefits rather than lose them. Fifty-four percent of younger workers would be interested in having a wider array of benefits options, even if it means paying all of the cost for those voluntary benefits.

Below are some voluntary insurance benefits, the percentage of younger workers interested in paying for them, and the percentage of small-business employers who offer the benefit: 

  • Life Insurance – 41% of employees are interested, 20% of employers offer; 
  • Dental – 38%, 11%; 
  • Vision38%, 9%; 
  • Disability40%, 8%; 
  • Critical Illness – 38%, 10%; and 
  • Home/Auto44%, 2%. 


In addition, nearly three of four small-business employees are interested in their employer offering financial education programs, but only 29% of employers do so   

“There is no economic need for smaller businesses to leave popular voluntary benefits to the realm of larger companies, especially given the interest and willingness by many Gen X and Y employees to contribute to, or to fully pay for, benefits,” said Anthony J. Nugent, executive vice president of Group, Voluntary & Worksite Sales at MetLife.    

The findings from the MetLife study are summarized in “Are You Listening? What Small Business Employees Want From Their Benefits, and How Employers Can Show They’ve Heard,” available at