It’s important for employers to maintain workplace benefits during a challenging economic environment in order to provide stability for employees, says Avinash Maniram, group and health-care consultant at PBI Actuarial Consultants Ltd.
“During challenging economic times, employees and their families are already facing a lot of uncertainty with [the] rising costs of bills and everything that’s happening, so having a solid benefits program and a solid pension plan in place is really a way of providing peace of mind in general — and even more so during inflation.”
Several employers in the technology sector have taken a different approach in recent months. Facebook parent company Meta Platforms made cuts to its health and wellness benefits, as well as perks like in-house laundry service and taxi credits, while Twitter Inc. cut its fertility benefits by 50 per cent, according to a report by the Financial Post.
Read: U.S. employers maintaining health benefits, considering other cost-cutting measures: survey
“We always advise our [plan sponsor] clients, when times are bad, [not to] overreact and, when times are good, [not to] overreact either,” says Maniram. “So when the economy rebounds and employers are looking to either improve benefits or move things back to where they were, take a ‘toe in the water’ approach and always put something aside in a contingency fund.”
Among plan sponsor clients, he says, employee benefits have also supported attraction and retention strategies in a challenging labour market. “They realize attraction and retention are a key part of benefits and, over the longer term, I think they recognize the value of a solid benefits program, so none of the plans we’re involved with are looking at reducing anything. They’ve especially seen the value going through the [coronavirus] pandemic because they managed to sustain benefits for employees throughout that period without having to make cutbacks.”
Read: 84% of U.S. employers increasing benefits offerings to help with attraction, retention efforts: survey