Voluntary benefits schemes have a number of advantages for both employers and employees, so it is perhaps unsurprising that the percentage of respondents offering perks on this basis has risen year on year. During the ongoing economic downturn, when benefits budgets may tight or non-existent, voluntary schemes can be a cost-effective way for employers to offer their workforce something extra. Employees, meanwhile, may value their employer’s efforts to help their salary stretch a little bit further.
This may account for the popularity of retail and leisure discounts, which have remained the most commonly offered voluntary benefit for the second year – offered by 34% of respondents.
One of the main advantages of voluntary benefits schemes is the element of choice and flexibility these offer employees. However, with most people now looking to get the best possible value on any purchase they make, employers should ensure their scheme includes offers that employees will not be able to source elsewhere, rather than simply looking to offer the greatest possible number of deals.
Dental insurance is one of the most significant climbers in popularity this year, rising from sixth to second place.
This year, 27% of respondents say they offer the benefit, which is up from 17% last year and 22% in 2010. This increase may have been driven by employees’ desire to obtain assistance with the cost of everyday expenses.
Read more Benefits research 2012