It’s open enrollment season for companies across the country. This is a good time to catch up on what’s happening now in employee benefits.

  • Employers boost pay and benefits to fight the Great Resignation. The S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the number of quits rose by 242,000 in August. A total of 4.3 million workers quit, and the quit rate of 2.9% is a record. The Atlantic says that the Great Resignation started in April, and it’s still accelerating. According to Business Insider, 73% of workers are thinking about quitting. Employers are becoming desperate for workers, and that means that workers have more power. According to Kiplinger, they expect higher salaries and more perks in 2022.
  • Workers want flexible benefits that address their whole lives. HR Dive says that companies with benefits that addressed “the full spectrum of workers’ lives” rated well on Comparably’s Best Perks & Benefits list. Popular packages included benefits like flexible time off, fully paid benefits and home office stipends. According to Benefits Pro, a survey from HealthEquity found that 71% of workers say flexible work schedules are among the most valuable benefits. Among workers who had switched to remote work, 66% wanted to continue working remotely after the pandemic at least some of the time, and 51% say that saving time because they don’t have to commute is one of their top three reasons for preferring remote work.
  • Mental health benefits target stress and burnout. COVID has taken a toll on mental health. SHRM says that two in three employees report feeling depressive symptoms at least sometimes amid the pandemic, while 41% of employees report feeling burned out from their work. Many employers have responded with new or expanded benefits. Fortune says that nearly 39% of employers expanded their mental health benefits during the pandemic, and nearly a third of companies with at least 50 employees increased access to mental health benefits by adding options like telehealth access.
  • Health plan costs increase. During the pandemic, many people delayed care. Healthcare Finance says that healthcare utilization is expected to increase in 2022 as people get the care they deferred. Other factors expected to increase care utilization include COVID, mental health, substance abuse issues and worsening population health. SHRM says that health plan costs are expected to rise around 5% in 2022 despite cost-management initiatives. However, workers may not see their costs increase. According to HR Morning, employers are not planning to shift rising costs to employees by raising deductibles or copays, and 32% of large employers plan to decrease employee premium shares in 2022.

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