NEW YORK — Far more employers used to offer subsidized childcare, mortgage assistance and employee stock purchase plans than they do today.
Those are just a few of the benefits that have been on the wane over the past 20 years, according to the latest benefits trend survey from the Society of Human Resource Management.
The good news is that the share of employers offering “core” benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings plans and employee assistance programs has held steady during that time. And there’s been an increase in various paid leave benefits (e.g., parental leave for men and women) and work flexibility options that are so attractive to employees today.
Nevertheless, as the cost of living has gone up along with the complexity of balancing work and family obligations, the elimination of certain benefits can increase the load on employees.
Here’s how much the share of employers offering the following benefits has dropped since 1996:
Credit union membership: 70% to 23%
Paying for health insurance premiums with flexible spending accounts: 54% to 39%
Onsite health screening: 53% to 31%
Employee discounts on company services: 43% to 32%
Relocation benefits: 39% to 24%
Matching employee charitable contributions: 30% to 21%
Employee stock purchase plans: 28% to 9%
Unpaid sabbaticals: 27% to 12%
Loans to employees for emergency disaster assistance: 27% to 13%
Parking subsidy: 25% to 10%
Job sharing: 24% to 10%
Spouse relocation employment assistance: 22% to 7%
Eldercare referral service: 17% to 12%
Mortgage assistance: 12% to 4%
Vacation purchase plan: 11% to 4%
Subsidized childcare center: 9% to 2%
At the same time the menu of possible benefits has grown more than five-fold since SHRM’s first benefit trends survey 20 years ago, said Evren Esen, SHRM’s survey program director.
Of course, some are pure cotton candy. They may be fun and welcome, but they won’t keep you at a job. Think snacks, nap rooms, concierge services and on-site vegetable gardens.
But others — such as paid leave for fathers, the option to telecommute, generous 401(k)s and educational assistance — just may be.