July 18, 2024

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No. 1 job benefit workers want is fully covered healthcare premiums

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Employee retention will continue to be a top issue for companies in 2024. Even as the labor market cools a bit and the quits rate continues its decline from a pandemic era high, over one-third of workers (36%) have considered leaving a job in recent months, according to a new CNBC|SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey.

What could help employers keep the majority of workers around for longer?

It’s not a 401(k) match. It’s not a free lunch. It’s not a gym membership. No. 1 on the wish list of employee benefits sought by workers, according to the CNBC|SurveyMonkey data, is fully paid health-care premiums.

More than half of employees (51%) said they want fully-covered health-care premiums more than any other benefit typically covered by employers, including a 401(k) retirement plan match (37%), reimbursement for health facilities or gyms (27%), and free food onsite (26%).

While a 401(k) match is considered a crucial benefit for long-term financial security, the survey finding reflects a significant cost issue amid sharp income inequality: employees’ ability to afford health care is being stretched. Roughly three-fourths of employees overall can afford the health-care they need without financial hardship — but that drops to only 50% of employees at the lowest income levels, according to Mercer. Nearly one-in-five workers would even accept a lower wage in exchange for more comprehensive health-care benefits, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

“For some employee segments, affordable health care may be a higher priority than a generous 401(k) match,” said Rebecca Warnken, senior vice president of health solutions at Aon.

She pointed to research showing that Black, Hispanic, Latino, and younger workers are more likely to consider switching employers for better health benefits. Lower-income workers or workers with chronic health conditions may prefer benefits that can support short term health and financial needs over retirement savings, she said.

Though according…

2023-12-21 11:20:00

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