During the economic downturn, voluntary benefits schemes have been a way for employers to help their employees’ salaries stretch a little bit further. Giving employees access to discounted products and services through a voluntary benefits scheme is also a cost-effective way of offering perks to staff, or boosting a benefits package, particularly where employers have little or no budget to spend on perks. So it is perhaps not surprising that voluntary benefits schemes are most commonly offered by employers in the public sector – where 83% of respondents offer perks on this basis.
In many cases, voluntary benefits schemes are offered as part of a wider total reward strategy alongside core or flexible perks, to offer employees a wider choice of benefits. Introducing staff to the concept of choice around their reward package also means voluntary schemes can be a good first step toward introducing flexible benefits.
Employees typically look to voluntary benefits schemes to obtain discounts on products and services they would not be able to source elsewhere. However, the plethora of deals now available via the internet means employers must be sure they can offer something different to keep staff engaged with their scheme.
When it comes to the benefits most commonly offered on a voluntary basis, tastes have changed little over time. During the last six years, the top benefits offered through a voluntary scheme – gym membership, retail or leisure discounts, PMI for employees’ partners or dependants, childcare vouchers, health cash plans and dental insurance – have remained the same.
Read more articles from the Employee Benefits/Alexander Forbes Benefits Research 2010