Over the past eight years, there has been little change in the top core benefits that employers offer to all staff. As in 2004, 2010 and 2011, this year, life assurance (also known as death in service) is the most commonly offered core benefit.
In third place comes counselling or employee assistance programmes (EAPs), which have gained popularity over the years to become an integral part of many core benefits packages. Back in 2004, just 30% of respondents offered an EAP. This year, 75% do so for all staff, while 5% offer it to some staff – a slight rise on the 70% and 4%, respectively, that did so last year.
This rise may have been driven by greater recognition of stress and mental health issues and their impact on the workplace, plus a desire to support staff suffering from such problems. The economic climate may also be a factor, with employers looking to support staff with non-work-related issues to prevent any adverse impact on the organisation.
Auto-enrolment begins to become compulsory from October this year, so it is encouraging to see pensions are provided as a core benefit for all staff by 76% of respondents, while a further 8% provide this as core to some workers.
Other benefits that have remained popular include childcare vouchers and extra holidays for long service.
Read more Benefits research 2012