More employers offering financial well-being benefits: survey

Financial well-being benefits are on the rise in North America, according to a new survey by WorldatWork.

Among the companies surveyed, 70 per cent said they currently offer financial well-being benefits, more than half said they intend to expand these benefits and 35 per cent said they’ve increased spending in this area.

“Financial benefits play a critical role in effective total rewards programs,” said Scott Cawood, president and chief executive officer of WorldatWork, in a press release. He noted that financial strains — including life events, health-care costs and personal debt — are some of the main workplace stressors for employees.

Read: Financial well-being affecting work performance, stress levels

Half (49 per cent) of survey respondents said they’ve rolled out a new financial well-being plan and 59 per cent said they’re increasing the time they spend supporting these benefits.

As for why employers offer these programs, 31 per cent said their top business motivation was retention, followed by workforce productivity (30 per cent) and to meet employee expectations (21 per cent).

Some 21 per cent of companies said they offer employee stock purchase programs and, among those that do, participation rates are high. In the U.S., 401(k)-style retirement plans with an employer contribution match remain the most popular (90 per cent) retirement offering.

Read: A look at 401(k) as the retirement plan celebrates 40 years

Other popular programs include budgeting assistance (29 per cent), assistance finding or securing non-health insurance (28 per cent) and debt consolidation services (27 per cent).

And in developing staff skills, work-related conferences (91 per cent), tuition assistance (83 per cent) and certification assistance (71 per cent) were the most popular offerings among survey respondents.

In terms of the top programs employers currently offer or are considering for 2020, respondents cited helping employees deal with the financial burdens related to family responsibilities, covering fertility treatments within health benefits and helping employees find affordable care for children or elderly dependants.