EXCLUSIVE: Oscar Mayer revamps benefits scheme to offer employer-paid healthcare

Oscar Mayer

EXCLUSIVE: Food manufacturing organisation Oscar Mayer has revamped its Millie Benefits Scheme, to provide employer-funded healthcare and legal assistance benefits to 2,000 permanent employees across three UK operating sites.

The Millie Benefits Scheme, which was relaunched on 1 April 2018, was originally introduced in 2001 as a voluntary benefits scheme, which employees elected to join at a cost of £2.25 a week. After Oscar Mayer was acquired by a private equity firm last year, the organisation decided to update its benefits provision to make the majority its benefits employer-funded and available at no cost to the employee.

As part of the update, Oscar Mayer changed its healthcare benefit from a bespoke, voluntary scheme to an employer-paid health expenses scheme, called Bupa Wellbeing Health Expenses, provided by Bupa. This enables employees to claim back the costs for everyday healthcare needs, such as optical and dental care, physiotherapy and consultancy or treatment fees. In addition, Oscar Mayer has introduced new features such as a face-to-face employee assistance programme (EAP), health assessments and online health assessments, as well as a 24-hour health line service where employees can speak to a GP or nurse.

The organisation’s legal assistance benefit, which enabled staff to speak to a solicitor, for example, has also moved from a voluntary benefit to being employer-paid.

Oscar Mayer continues to offer voluntary benefits through provider Edenred, such as retail discounts and subsidised gym membership, and it also works with charity GroceryAid to provide wellbeing-related services such as financial guidance and counselling.

The Millie Benefits Scheme can be accessed through its own dedicated website. Permanent employees become eligible for the scheme after completing three-months service.

Oscar Mayer has also removed benefits in order to better reflect its workforce demographic. For example, its will writing benefit has switched from being an employer-funded benefit to being a voluntary benefit, and the retirement payment benefit has been removed.

The new Millie Benefits Scheme was communicated to staff using face-to-face presentations as well as emails.

Since its launch on 1 April 2018, more than 1,000 employees are using the new Millie Benefits Scheme.

Ken Martin, group benefits manager at Oscar Mayer, said: “When we were reviewing the scheme, because the scheme has been in operation since 2001, the demographics of our people then compared with now are completely different. For example, we used to have a retirement award, but when you look at the average employee, who now is roundabout 18 [to] 19 [years-old], then a retirement payment that they’ll get in 40 years’ time is probably not going to be much of an interest to them, whereas everyday healthcare and things that people are spending money on, [such as] prescriptions, dental, they’re tangible benefits. We’ve homed in on the things that most people used the scheme for, and we took out some of the benefits that perhaps were a little bit dated.

“[The Millie Benefits Scheme] is a scheme that shows tangible benefits, not a book of vouchers that [employees] might use [or] might not use. People see everyday benefits. They’re going to their dentist or they want to get a prescription or they need to get glasses. So they see the value in the benefits.”