Organisations reviewing their benefits packages are most likely to be scrutinising their health benefits provision, according to research from HR specialists XpertHR.
Based on a survey of 356 organisations’ benefits packages, the research reveals that health benefits feature among the most popular benefits on offer. Private medical insurance is offered by almost three-quarters of organisations, second only to childcare vouchers.
When questioned on recent and planned changes to benefits, health benefits were mentioned significantly more than any other benefit. But practice varies – the benefits most likely to be reduced in value are private medical insurance (PMI) and permanent health insurance (PHI). But PMI is also the benefit most likely to be increased in value.
In contrast, the benefits most likely to be have been introduced over the past year are employee assistance programmes and healthcare cash plans.
Overall, around four employers in 10 have made changes to their benefits packages over the past year, with a similar proportion planning further changes over the next year.
The top benefits available to UK employees are:
- Childcare vouchers – available in 87.6% of organisations.
- Private medical insurance – 73.9%.
- Free car parking – 72.8%.
- Counselling service or employee assistance programme – 71.1%.
- Long-service awards – 66.9%.
An indication that employers are looking for the most cost-efficient method of providing benefits is the finding that salary sacrifice benefits (offering savings to both the employer and employees) are now offered in around seven in 10 organisations. The most common benefits available under these arrangements are childcare vouchers, pension contributions and cycle loans.