Recession takes its toll on wellbeing perks take-up

Take-up of wellbeing and personal development perks through flexible benefits schemes has fallen this year because the recession has put many employees off luxury benefits.

Aon Consulting’s Flex Tracker study shows that wellbeing perks and learning accounts have fallen out of the top 15 most popular benefits. Take-up of health screenings on an unfunded basis has also dropped to 0.5%.

More staff have also chosen to sell holiday this year. The research shows 35% chose to sell holiday, while 65% bought extra days.

Gareth Ashley-Jones, head of flexible benefits at Aon Consulting, said: “Holiday trading used to be 20% selling and 80% buying. But it has swung towards staff using holiday trading to boost their pay.”

Pensions remain the most popular benefit through flex, with 78% of flex scheme members selecting the perk, followed by private medical insurance (45%) and holiday trading (21%).

Take-up of tax-free mobile phones has plummeted to 0.02%, which Ashley-Jones said resulted in Vodafone’s Flexphone pulling out of the marketplace in 2008.