March 2, 2024

Paull Ank Ford

Business Think different

Employee Benefits: Categorizing Can Make Them Easier to Explain

Every fall, employers and their benefits brokers engage in the challenging task of having to explain all the available options for the coming year. They try to make sense of benefits packages so that employees can make informed choices. But successfully completing the task is easier said than done. Sometimes it is just hard to explain employee benefits in simple terms.

BenefitMall is a general agency under which thousands of benefit brokers offer products and services. They also represent more than 100 carriers to those brokers. BenefitMall says it can be helpful for both employers and brokers to categorize benefits. Categories can make them easier to explain.

Here are four examples to get started:

1. Health and Wellness

Health and wellness would be the obvious first category. Its primary benefit would be health insurance. The category would also include dental plans, vision plans, mental health benefits, and any other options that directly affect an employee’s health and physical or mental wellbeing.

BenefitMall says that mental health benefits are trending right now. So are disability insurance, long-term illness coverage, and accident insurance. However, you could make the case that some health and wellness benefits overlap with other categories.

2. Retirement and Financial Wellness

Retirement packages have been standard fare, along with health insurance, for decades. Pensions used to be the big thing before being replaced by 401(k) plans and IRAs. At any rate, retirement packages headline this second category. Also in this category are financial wellness benefits.

When you think of financial wellness, think of basics like individual financial management and retirement planning. Then throw in investment planning, life insurance benefits, student loan debt reduction, and even something as basic as budgeting assistance.

3. PTO and Unpaid Leave

Paid time off (PTO) is another benefit employees have come to expect. As for unpaid leave, it was virtually unheard of two decades ago. It is now becoming more of a trend among employers looking to hire and retain the top talent in their industries.

PTO can be addressed in one of two ways. The most common model is to offer employees a set number of paid hours that can be taken as vacation time, personal time, or medical leave. A second model is to offer unlimited PTO. Employees can take as much time off as they want, for any reason, as long as they get their work done.

Where unpaid leave is concerned, it is generally offered to allow people to take time away for family needs. A few states have taken the step of mandating a certain amount of unpaid leave. A few others have gone one step further to mandate paid family leave.

4. Work-Life Balance

This final category of employee benefits is nearly unlimited in terms of form. Employers can do all sorts of things to help their workers achieve the kind of work-life balance they want. A prime example of a benefit in this category is remote work. Employees might be given the option to work remotely two or three days per week. Some may work remotely full time.

Another key benefit in this category is flexible scheduling. Allowing employees to exercise greater control over their schedules also gives them the opportunity to better meet family needs.

Employee benefits can be difficult to understand. When employees are confused, they count on their employers to explain things. Categorizing benefits can help. It can organize a large selection of benefit options into smaller, bitesize chunks that are easier to mentally digest. Hopefully, this post has given you some ideas for explaining benefits to your employees.