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Employment Benefits Comparison Research Paper

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Updated: Jan 13th, 2020

Introduction

Employment benefits are the advantages which employees get from various organizations. These benefits act as incentives for workers to perform better for their own benefit and for the benefit of the organization.

Employments benefits differ from organization to organization and they change with time. Most of the benefits offered to workers in 1980’s and 1990’s ­ are not the same as those offered today.

Some of the benefits offered to workers by their employers from the year 2000 up to now are almost the same or have not changed much.

Most benefits offered to employees by 1980’s have been completely eliminated by most governments and only few employment benefits offered over two decades ago are still being offered to workers today.

Various bills have been passed to protect the welfare of workers to make sure that organizations offer various benefits to workers.

These legislations include: The medical bill of 2003, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, Employees Retirement Income Security Act and Family and Medical Leave Act. Some of the employment benefits include: Health care and welfare benefits, Retirement and retrenchment benefits, family benefits, financial benefits, leave benefits, family benefits, flexible working benefits, housing and relocation benefits, employee service benefits and business travel benefits besides others.

Most of these benefits have been introduced recently and in 1980’s they were non-existent. Organizations in majority of countries offer these benefits to their workers and indeed the Organization for Economic Co-corporation and Development (OECD) countries are leading in ensuring that workers get their employment benefits.

Healthcare and welfare benefits

Healthcare and welfare benefits were offered by organizations in the 1980’s to help employee manage their healthcare and that of their dependents.

Most organizations today cover the full cost of healthcare of the employee while in some organizations the cost is shared between the organization and the employee.

Currently many healthcare benefits have emerged, for instance some organizations today offer healthcare and welfare benefits which focus on child wellbeing and fertility such as contraceptive coverage, infertility treatment and in-vitro fertilization and this could not happen in the 1980’s and 1990’s (2011 Employment Benefits, 2011).

In the1980’s, limited benefit indemnity medical plan and free of service plans were offered to employees. This allowed each employee to compare various providers of healthcare services and then choose the one they liked most.

But now very few organizations offer this kind of healthcare benefits to their workers. Currently, firms with high staff turnover or those with high number of part time workers are likely to offer mini-med-health plans to reduce the cost they are likely to incur in case an employee falls sick (2011 Employment Benefits, 2011).

Most employers these days offer benefits such as mental health coverage, accidental death insurance, long term care insurance, hospital insurance and intensive insurance to their employees.

A good employee-employer relationship is needed to attract and retain employee talent. Some of the benefits particularly these healthcare and welfare benefits are made to nurture such a productive relationship between employers and employees (2010 Employment Benefits, 2009).

In 2003, Medicare bill was enacted which led to the creation of Health Savings Accounts (OECD Employment Outlook, 2003).This bill helps employees to save money on a tax free basis for future qualified medical and retirement healthcare cost.

About one third of institutions, firms and companies offer these accounts to their workers. Contribution to these accounts is maybe by the employee, employer or both of them.

In addition 20% organizations today offer health reimbursement arrangements to their employees. This is aimed at contributing money to the health saving accounts so that the employees can use the money to pay for their health care services.

Retirement savings and planning benefits

Every organization has its own retirement benefits which cover certain amount of years which are offered to help workers plan for their future lives. Retirement and retrenchment benefits became a common object in the 1980’s and up to now these benefits are offered by organizations across the globe.

There are various types of retirement plans offered to employees. Some of them include: Defined contribution retirement plans and Roth 401(K) retirement plan which are two common plans nowadays (2010 Employment Benefits, 2010).

Other retirement plans are the traditional defined benefit retirement pension plan and cash balance pension plans which were prevalent in the 1980’s and 1990’s (OECD Employment outlook, 1994).These two are not common in many organization these days.

Supplement executive retirement plans (SERPs) are non-qualified plans that offer benefits above those covered in other retirement plans. These SERPs are authorized under the Employees Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

About ten years ago organizations offered financial planning benefits such as individual investment advices and retirement preparation advice.

Although these programs do not contribute to employee’s income, they can help employees plan their retirement benefits wisely. However few organizations offer these programs today.

On the other hand, phase retirement program is currently offered to employees which involve reduction of schedule or responsibilities for workers who are about to retire.

This retirement plan helps employees to ease into retirement while passing on their valuable knowledge which they have accumulated over the years to other employees.

Although retirement savings, planning benefit and defined benefit pension plans are old retirement plans they are still offered today. Most of these retirement benefits have not changed very much since the year 2000(OECD Employment outlook, 1998).

Financial and compensation benefits

Certain group of employees get financial and compensation benefits which help them deal with monetary transactions conveniently. Most of these benefits were non-existent in 1980’s but are common in many organizations today.

These benefits include: Membership in credit unions which offer low interest rates on loans, which offer loans for emergency and disaster assistance while others offer no-interest loans for non-emergency situations.

Provision of life insurance for dependents, accident insurance, accelerated death benefits, and assistance in case of terminal disease such as cancer are other benefits workers enjoy nowadays especially those in OECD countries (OECD Employment Outlook, 2003).

Commuter benefits are offered to offset the cost workers incur as they move from one play to other while carrying out operations of their companies. These include transport allowances, on-site parking, parking subsidies, carpool subsidies.

Other recent developments include some organization offering spending accounts, auto-insurance programs and company –owned vehicles to their employees.

Education assistance to employees such as career development benefits are important as they both benefit the employee and the employer since the employees have a chance to expound their knowledge and this leads to creation of a better workforce which is a benefit to the employer.

Undergraduate and graduate education assistance as well as education assistance to members of employees families are other benefits offered to workers (2010 Employment Benefits, 2010).

Most organizations offer monetary bonuses through various ways. Some lay out a criteria which when met by the employees, they will receive more compensation, incentive bonuses, promotions and this leads to high performance.

Other incentives include: sign-on bonuses for new workers, retentions bonus for workers who stay in the organization for a considerable period and lastly referral bonuses which are offered to workers who refer and encourage new members to be part of the organization.

In addition some organization recently have been able offer technology services and discounts to their employees such as business cell phones, personal computers, iPads and internet connections and these benefits helps employees cut down the associated costs of such services (2011 Employment Benefits, 2011).

Leave benefits

Leave benefits include paid time off plan which includes traditional vacation time, sick leave or personal days. Paid vacation plans these days are offered by most organizations to full-time employees which can be inform of cash-out option or a paid vacation leave donation program.

Other leave benefits include paid personal leaves and floating holidays whereby employees receive payment on their leaves (2010 Employment Benefits, 2010). Personal days may be used as birthdays, for religion purposes or as mental health days.

Most companies now offer these leave benefits because they recognize that there is need for employees to have time-off work for purposes other than vacation and illness.

Floating holidays are recent development in the employee’s benefit list whereby workers are given certain amount of days of their choice during the year to use for holidays.

Other leaves include paid sick leave whereby employees who are sick are paid and this protects the employees from loss of income when they are sick.

Some organizations offer stand-alone sick leave plan while others provide a paid sick leave donation program to their employees. Family and Medical leave act of 1993 ensures that every employee has a 12 weeks unpaid job-protected leave for a year if the employee, his/her spouse or child has a serious medical condition.

Although the act doesn’t require the various public and private organizations to pay for the leave some organization pay for the leave (OECD Employment outlook, 1999)

Military leaves, leave for new parents, paid paternity and maternity leaves are other leaves which have been offered by various organizations since 1980’s. Indeed maternity and parental benefits were introduced in the 1980’s and the companies offering them have increased greatly since then.

However long-term parental benefits nowadays are restricted to the OECD countries (OECD Employment outlook, 2003).

A few organizations today are even able to offer paid adoption leaves to their employees, paid time-off to serve on board of a community group, paid time off for volunteering, paid and unpaid sabbatical program and paid time off for group vacation.

Other employment benefits

Other employment benefits include family friendly benefits, flexible working benefits, employee service benefits, housing and relocation benefits and business travel benefits.

Under family friendly benefits, most organization nowadays are able to provide dependent care flexible accounts to their employees where money is set aside which can be used later to care for the employee’s dependants.

In addition some organizations offer child care benefits to their employees such as child care emergency, adoption or foster care assistance and child care referral services whereby a portion of companies today allow their workers to bring their babies to work on regular basis.

This reduces the cost which is incurred by employees when they access services such as non-subsidized child care or back up child care services.

Dependent care flexible account can be used by employees to offset cost of elder care. Other family friendly benefits include back up elder care benefits, geriatric counselling, assisted living assessments and elder care in-home assessment (2011 Employment Benefits, 2011).

Employee service benefits offered by companies include provision of language skills and work/life balance benefits. Globalization is happening fast in today’s world and has prompted people of diverse cultures to move from one part of the globe to another.

As a result workforce and customers of many organizations consist of people with various levels of language proficiency. Due to this many organization organize for foreign language classes for specific group of employees. On the other hand work/life balance benefits are also offered by organizations today in many OECD countries.

Many organizations provide quick access to food and beverages by having automatic vending machines near work place.

Banks and Post offices are likewise near workplace and this reduces time workers spend moving to use various services and this optimizes their performance for the benefit of the organization (2011 Employment Benefits, 2011).

Housing and relocation employment benefits have existed since time immemorial but recently they have been modified to suit the needs of workforce in many organizations today.

Most organizations offer one-time permanent relocation whereby companies offer one time simple relocation lump sum payment. Others offer local visit assistance or house hunting trips to employees, spouse relocation assistance, down payment assistance and temporary relocation assistance.

However housing and relocation assistance have declined over the last few years. Business travel benefits offered by companies today include travel expenses and additional pay to the employees involved in the travelling (2010 Employment Benefits, 2010).

Conclusion

Employment benefits have changed over the years since 1980’s through 1990’s to the present day. Various employment benefits have declined and in some countries they have been completely eliminated.

For instance labour market leaves existed in some countries in the 1980’s such as Belgium but they declined in the following years and in Denmark they were eliminated by 1999 (OECD Employment Outlook,1999).

In most countries, employment benefits allocation in Human Resource budget is fixed or marginally flexible hence job seekers are selective in choosing their employers and are likely to work in those organizations which offer fringe employment benefits.

Employment benefits are meant to improve employee’s performance, attract new personnel to an organization and improve employer-employee relation for the benefit of any organization.

Governments of various states have passed various bills which act in favour of employees in both private and public organizations to make sure they get various employment benefits. Almost all organizations offer some kind benefit to their employees with big organizations offering more benefits to their employees.

The kind of employment benefits offered by organizations depends on their size and workforce. For example a company with high proportion of part-time workers will chose to offer benefits which are suitable for such kind of workforce to cut down the cost spend on employment benefits.

References

2010 Employee Benefits. (2010).Examining Employee Benefits in the midst of a recovering economy.pp.1-92.Retrieved from:

2011 Employee Benefits. (2011). Examining Employee Benefits Amidst Uncertainty, society for human resource management. pp.1-92, Retrieved from:

OECD Employment outlook. (1994).Work-force ageing in OECD countries. Retrieved from:

OECD Employment outlook. (1998). Displacement and Job Loss: The workers concerned, pp.1-34, Retrieved from:

OECD Employment outlook. (1999).Recent labour market developments and prospects, Special focus on the quality of part-time jobs, pp.1-33, Retrieved from:

OECD Employment outlook. (2003). Towards More and Better Jobs Benefits and Employment, Friend or Foe? Interactions Between Passive and Active Social Programmes, pp.1-65, Retrieved from:

OECD Employment Outlook. (2009).Is work the best antidote for poverty?. pp.1-46. Retrieved from:

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Employment Benefits Comparison." January 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/employment-benefits-comparison/.

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