Unlike your name, DNA, and family members, you can actually have a say in what voluntary benefits you get (duh, they’re voluntary). Therefore, one of the largest advantages of voluntary employee benefits is the amount of customization they afford your employees.
This customization allows your staff to choose a benefits plan that fits their needs, which contributes a greater level of satisfaction with their benefits program. And, consequently, increases overall job satisfaction.
A 2013 survey of CFOs, found that 74 percent agreed or strongly agreed that offering voluntary employee benefits is a cost-effective way to increase employee satisfaction with overall benefits.
Still, these benefits can be worth so much more to both your business and your employees. Keep reading to find out what voluntary employee benefits options your company could use and how they could help both of these parties.
1. Hospital Indemnity Insurance
Hospital indemnity plans are a type of insurance that pays a set amount of money (per day, week, month, or hospital visit) if you’re restricted to a hospital.
These hospital indemnity plans work to relieve the financial pressure and stress that families and individuals face from an extended stay in a hospital. Employees can use a hospital indemnity plan to subsidize their existing health insurance.
This coverage is especially relevant for those who have a high-deductible medical plan. If you have a high deductible and know that a lengthy hospital stay would be financially devastating, a hospital indemnity plan can protect you.
Hospital indemnity insurance serves as a financial shield for your staff. Like many of the other employee benefits below, hospital indemnity plans reduce the weight of the financial stress accompanying a sickness, injury, or surgery that would require you to be hospitalized.
2. Accident Insurance
Accident insurance is an insurance plan that helps you pay for the medical and out-of-pocket costs that you may incur due to an accidental injury. Accidental injuries can result in outsized medical bills, even if you have health insurance.
Expenses standard for these injuries, such as ambulance and emergency room fees, are examples of qualified costs. Similar to hospital indemnity, accident insurance acts as a financial safety net for your employees.
3. Disability Insurance
There are two main types of disability insurance, but they both accomplish the same goal. This insurance covers an individual who is diagnosed with a disability.
Short and long-term disability both replace a portion of your salary up to a specific monthly dollar cap. Short-term disability usually pays out for six months or less. The waiting period for short-term coverage can be up to two weeks after you become disabled.
Conversely, long-term disability pays out until your disability ends. If your disability remains, your benefits could end after a specified number of years or until you reach retirement age.
Long-term disability also has a waiting period. Benefits under long-term disability last longer and so does the waiting period. The length of this waiting period differs but is typically around 90 days.
Read more about disability insurance.
4. Life Insurance
Life insurance is a type of insurance that provides your family with a benefit after you die. The big difference between life and other forms of insurance such as medical or disability is that your benefit is paid only once, upon your death.
There are two main types of life insurance: term and permanent. Within permanent life, there are three main subcategories: whole, universal, and variable life insurance. Each of these types has distinct pros and cons based on your individual situation.
Life insurance is another source of coverage that can reduce your workers’ financial stress, and stress overall.
Learn more about each type of life insurance, and how they differ.
5. Dental or Vision Insurance
Dental and vision insurance are both supplementary lines of insurance that offer coverage for treatment and procedures related to your oral or visual health. Typically, only routine procedures are fully covered by these plans, with more complicated procedures falling under a cost-sharing schedule.
Still, both of these plans are vital to fielding a competitive employee benefits package. And not only do they help your employees, but they benefit your company as well. Employers gain as much as $7 for every dollar spent on vision coverage.
Similarly, workers lose an average of 164 million work hours each year because of dental disease. Both of these insurance types can help your employees stay healthier and more productive overall.
6. Financial Education and Counseling
A study by PwC, last year, found that employees are at the highest level of stress, due to finances, in five years. Money is stressing your employees out, and voluntary benefits could be the fix.
Financial education gives employees the knowledge and ability to reach self-sufficiency in their daily financial lives. And, financial counseling lets employees discuss their debt and credit with a trained financial professional.
These benefits work to curb your staff’s financial stress. Stress costs businesses an average of $300 billion a year in healthcare costs and missed work. Fighting this stress is advantageous to your staff as individuals and your firm as a whole.
7. Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is pretty self-explanatory; it’s medical insurance for your pet. While this may seem like a frivolous benefit, it can hold real value for your employees.
According to the APPA, Americans spend $15.42 billion on veterinary care last year alone. Every six seconds a pet owner faces a vet bill of $3,000 or more.
The advantages of pet insurance are numerous. Similar to the previous benefit, pet insurance is great at protecting your employees’ financial wellness. Over 73 percent of pet owners, in one study, admitted they’d take on debt to pay for their pet’s medical care.
With pet insurance, your employees, ideally, wouldn’t have to take on debt to pay for their pet’s treatment. Halting an employee from taking on debt helps your staff avoid further financial stress.
Find out more about pet insurance.
8. Student Loan Repayment Programs
Student loan repayment is an employee benefit that pays back a portion of an employee’s student loan debt on a monthly or annual basis. Your company agrees to pay a specific amount each month or year, often capping the number of payments or years they will contribute.
These programs are especially attractive for younger recruits, who are graduating with more college debt, than ever before. The average graduate, today, will leave college with $37,172 of student loan debt.
Student loan repayment programs help ease this crushing amount of debt for recent college grads. It is an employee benefit that shows your workers you care about them and recognize the issues affecting them today.
Learn more about student loan repayment programs.
9. ID Theft Protection
Identity theft protection defends your employees from financial fraud and stolen identity. Helping to halt a potential financial catastrophe is an excellent way to engender them to your business.
The world is shrinking every day. And now that more of every person’s life is immortalized through the internet, ID theft will only become a more serious problem.
If your company offers ID theft protection, it demonstrates to your staff that you care about their overall well-being. Plus, looking out for your employees’ finances benefits you too. The less financial stress your employees are under, the more productive they can be.
10. Elder Care
According to BenefitsPro, employees pay almost $17,000 in annual medical care costs after they reach age 65. This statistic illustrates why elder care is so important for some employees.
Eldercare is both expensive and time-consuming. It’s a pain point for many Americans, today. Eldercare involves older employees (obviously), but it also involves younger employees caring for older parents or grandparents.
Employees caring for older relatives will be just as interested in elder care services as those in need of the services themselves. As baby boomers age, the desire for elder care will only grow.
11. Critical Illness Coverage
Critical illness, like accident and disability before, augments an employee’s health insurance policy. This coverage provides a security blanket in the event a worker develops a serious illness.
Again, critical illness can be invaluable towards protecting your employees’ finances. Without this coverage, your employees could face both a financial and health crisis if they ever develop a grave sickness.
12. Career Development
Career development opportunities are becoming more valuable, as more millennials enter the workplace. Certification programs, mentorships, job training, and tuition reimbursement are all examples of career development tools.
Career development is something that employees of all ages can appreciate. But millennials, in particular, find career development benefits meaningful.
In a 2016 Gallup survey, the number one factor for millennials, when applying for a job, was opportunities to learn and grow. Clearly, millennials are entering the workforce looking for a company that will give them the resources necessary to improve themselves.
Voluntary employee benefits fill the gaps in coverage your employer-sponsored benefits may leave. They are perfect for giving your employees autonomy to choose what level of coverage they desire, without costing your business.