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Disability and leave benefits:
With four generations in the workplace, a mix of racial, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and greater diversity in sexual orientation, gender identification, and family structures, the workforce has never been more heterogeneous. And employers have never been more challenged indesigning benefits plans to address the huge range of employee needs.
Certainly, workers are looking for more support in meeting their unique personal commitments and in achieving holistic well-being, as demonstrated by MetLife’s 2022 Employee Benefit Trends Study 2022. Disability and leave benefits help employers go beyond one-size-fits-all solutions and empower employees to protect their lifestyles when big life events or unexpected changes occur. Such benefits are also associated with higher levels of employee satisfaction, loyalty and wellness.
The bottom line: disability and leave are powerful tools to attract and retain talent because these benefits demonstrate that employers care about the unique needs and overall well-being of all of their employees.
During the last few years, both employers and employees have become more concerned about well-being—including mental, physical, financial and social health. With work-life balance harder to maintain, fewer than half of all employees said they were holistically well.
Most employees believe their employers are responsible for their mental well-being, and employers agree.
Workers are clearly interested in leave and disability benefits and see them as a way to improve their well-being.
Effective disability benefits and leave programs pay off in the form of increased job satisfaction and loyalty.
They also correlate to stronger talent outcomes and higher degrees of mental wellness and holistic among select employee groups.
Employees worried about their well-being will feel more secure knowing they have benefits that allow them to take time off to access care for themselves, provide care to a loved one, or take paid family medical leave.
Employers looking to achieve these talent outcomes should take the following actions:
Offer broader short-term and long-term disability coverage: Employees can opt into coverage for both existing and unexpected disabilities, including accidents, critical illnesses, and serious mental health problems.
Provide flexible leave policies: Employers can support employees by staying up to date on various state paid family and medical leaves as well as offering time off for a range of life events, medical needs, and personal situations. Parental leave is especially appealing to professional and office-based workers, while caregivers value paid leave to look after family members (e.g., children, aging parents). Beyond serious illness and accidents, more companies have begun offering leave for bereavement, religious observance, military duty, voting and jury duty, volunteering and community service and sabbaticals.
Empower employees with financial benefits: Income protection has become a priority for many employees, while subsidies for emergency care or pre-tax accounts can be used to pay for dependent care. Flexibility around premiums and eligibility requirements make such benefits available to more workers.
Establish access to wellness programs and resources: Popular physical wellness benefits include access to telemedicine, gym memberships, reimbursements for virtual exercise classes and home exercise equipment. Employees also value financial wellness programs, including classes and tools for money management, budgeting and retirement planning, as well as debt counselling. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) have also become more common to support mental health for more employees.