have been disappointing investors for years, but that’s
not all that’s been putting pressure on household
companies have been stingy with raises since the 2008
recession, they’ve also been whittling away at
benefits for the last five years. So in many cases,
workers have had to get by on frozen paychecks while
also forfeiting the extras that might have stretched
paychecks in the past.
greatest impact typically has come from employers
requiring employees to pick up larger portions of their
health care costs. But in addition, over the last five
years employers have cut things like automobile
subsidies related to business use, moving and relocation
expenses, and costs related to picking up more education
or training, according to a national survey of human
resources professionals done by the Society for Human
only compensation benefit that has increased since 2010,
according to the survey, has been spot bonuses —
one-time awards that recognize an employee’s
are still providing the benefits most employees assume
are part of the workplace, although some of the benefits
are less extensive than they once were. About 95 percent
of the employers surveyed offer prescription coverage
and dental insurance. About 87 percent provide mental
health coverage. Yet, while 83 percent offer vision
insurance and chiropractic coverage, the survey found
that roughly 1 percent of employers are planning
cutbacks in those benefits over the next 12 months.
new health benefits have been added over the past five
years, such as bariatric coverage for weight loss,
mental health care and contraception. But costly
additions are less likely than cuts.
median cost for employee-only coverage for companies
large and small was $5,838, and the human resources
professionals are expecting a 6 to 10 percent increase
in health care costs this year.
has been a 12 percentage-point increase in the last year
of companies offering health savings accounts, in which
employees can stash away pay from every paycheck so they
have savings to cover medical costs that aren’t
covered by benefits.
rising cost of benefits, particularly health insurance,
has "made it more challenging for employers to
continue to offer them," SHRM said in a report on
addition, in a challenging global economy since 2008,
companies have been keeping profits up by reducing
Society for Human Resource Management noted that
companies may be shortsighted by cutting back on
educational assistance to employees.
companies have complained that they have been unable to
find people with the backgrounds needed to fill jobs. In
the past, they might have provided training or helped
pay for outside classes.
the SHRM report noted: "Virtually all professional
and career development benefits tracked in the survey
declined between 2010 and 2014 or within the last year.
So although many organizations are apprehensive about
future skills shortages, this concern has not yet
translated into greater investment in benefits related
to employee professional and career development."
apparent inattention to internal educational needs, the
survey also reflects less attention to a growing
long-term national need. Most employees with pensions
must save on their own through 401(k)-type plans at
work. And studies suggest a national retirement crisis
is brewing because most people save too little, invest
poorly and retire too early. Yet, the SHRM survey showed
companies cutting back on the advice they’ve been
offering employees with 401(k) plans.
year, 59 percent of employers were offering online
investing advice, and 53 percent offered one-on-one
advice from a person. This year, only 50 percent were
helping employees with investing online, and the
personal touch had been sharply cut back. Only 41
percent of employers were offering it.
adding benefits tended to be offering those that didn’t
involve upfront expenditures, such as flexible work
hours, casual dress at work and telecommuting.