By Cyril Tuohy
The correlation between the satisfaction of the benefits package and the employer remains strong, but employee ratings of their workplaces and benefits offerings are at their lowest levels since 2008, new research by Unum has found.
It is the lowest rating of benefits in six years of conducting the research, Unum also said.
Only half (49 percent) of U.S. workers rated their employer as an excellent or very good place to work, and less than half (47 percent) of employees who were offered benefits by their employer rated their benefits as excellent or very good, the research found.
With health care costs steadily rising, employers have been shifting more of those costs onto employees in the form of higher deductibles and higher copayments.
The study, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Unum, found that 77 percent of workers who rated their benefits package as excellent or very good also said their employer was an excellent or a very good place to work.
Only 17 percent of employees who considered their benefits package to be fair or poor also said their workplaces were excellent or very good, the survey found.
Bill Dalicandro, vice president of the consumer solutions group at Unum, said the research also pointed to the importance of providing education and guidance to employees about their employer-sponsored benefits.
When employees understand their benefits, “they tend to value them more and in turn may then value their employers more for providing access to them,” Dalicandro said.
For employers and employees, it’s been a year of tumult as health care reforms has affected nearly everyone.
Cautious employers have continued to offer traditional benefits in which costs are shared by the employer and the employee. These companies have preferred to see how the health reforms play out before making big changes to their health plan.
Other, more progressive employers have given employees money toward benefits coverage to be bought on private health care exchanges.
The online survey polled 3,031 adults 18 or older. Of those 3,031 adults, 1,521 were either working full or part-time or were self-employed.
Many employees don’t feel they are getting the information they need about the benefits they are being offered, the survey found.
Only 33 percent of employees who were asked to review benefits in the prior year rated the benefits education they received as excellent or very good, a drop from 2012. In addition, nearly 28 percent rated their benefits education as fair or poor.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at email@example.com.
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