What Are Voluntary Benefits?

What Are Voluntary Benefits?

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How Voluntary Benefits Help You and Your Employees

Inherently voluntary benefits are about offering flexibility that appeals to a wide variety of employees. The overall group of benefits offered is often referred to as a “cafeteria plan.” Employees can have a look around at the scope of what’s being offered and pick what they’d like while leaving the rest.

More modern plans might include voluntary benefits such as prepaid legal services, financial planning, and career development products.

A traditional set of voluntary benefits often included life, accidental death and dismemberment, cancer and critical illness, vision, and dental insurances. These remain important options to provide as part of any comprehensive plan – but today options are virtually limitless.

Best practices would mean determining the cost-benefit to the company including how to administer the optional plan well and consistently over time.

According to this 2015 Aflac Workforces Report, 88 percent of employees perceived voluntary benefits to be part of a comprehensive package of benefits. Employees offered voluntary benefits were 19 percent more likely to say they were satisfied with their jobs – and 14 percent less likely to be searching for new employment within the coming year.

Overall the workplace may be a less stressful environment because employees feel cared for by their employers when offered voluntary benefits that really affect their lives.

For example, this Virgin Pulse article says 40 percent of employees wished their company cared more for their employees’ financial security. When financial planning is offered as a voluntary benefit it helps employees have peace of mind.

When a company offers voluntary benefits it helps employees have access to a better life. For example, when an employee chooses vision care, it can provide significant cost savings, allowing the individual to buy new eyeglasses on a regular basis.

Voluntary benefits add value to the company as an employer without increasing the bottom line. It doesn’t require much effort to offer the package of options to employees, and it’s done during annual open enrollment for health insurance.

Some companies offer life insurance that can pay out to family members without any cost to the employee.

When life insurance is offered at no cost to the employee it’s often done when they first come onboard at the company. It’s a one-time offer, not offered again during open enrollment. It’s an elective that the employee has to opt-in to in order to get the benefit but there is no cost coming out of the employee’s pocket.

If your company is offering employer-funded insurances, be sure to highlight them when they are presented to employees so that the company gets credit where credit is due. Contact BenefEx to discuss creating a robust voluntary benefits program for your company.