New Survey Examines the Employee Benefits Offered in Four Employment Sectors

Brookfield, Wisconsin (PRWEB) November 26, 2008 — As Wall Street continues to tumble, U.S. workers are looking for help in managing their money. One place they may be able to turn—their employers.

A recent survey of employers conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that 43% of U.S. respondents offer financial education/literacy programs for their workers.

“The current financial crisis has affected the way Americans are spending their money and how they are saving for the future,” says Julie Stich, Senior Information/Research Specialist with the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. “If the situation persists through 2009, we may see the percentage of employers offering financial education programs increase as they try to help their employees deal with the crisis.”

“With the economy affecting retirement plans, employees are taking a greater interest in their retirement future,” says Stich. “Employees who participate in a defined contribution plan may view the impact of the financial crisis differently from those who have a defined benefit pension plan. People with 401(k) plans feel the impact of the stock market decline each time they check their account balance. On the other hand, someone who participates in a defined benefit pension plan is largely sheltered from the effect of the financial crisis on retirement assets. It’s the employers who bear the market risk.”

Key U.S. Pension/Retirement Findings

The survey breaks down which retirement plans are most likely to be offered in each employment sector. As expected, those in the corporate sector are most likely to offer a defined contribution (DC) plan such as a 401(k) plan, while those in the multiemployer and public employer sectors are most likely to offer a defined benefit (DB) plan.

To increase employee participation in DC plans and to assist participants with the management of their funds, many employers have introduced automatic features. The most popular features are target retirement date/lifecycle funds, offered by 54% of respondents, and automatic enrollment, offered by 39% of respondents.

These findings and others concerning employee benefits are reported in the survey titled Employee Benefits Survey: U.S. and Canada: 2009. The report contains responses from 972 respondents representing employers and benefit plans in the U.S. and Canada. Survey results are presented for four employment sectors: corporations, public employers, multiemployer benefit plans and professional service firms serving the employee benefits industry.

The survey looked at retirement plan offerings, health care benefits and other miscellaneous benefits.

Key U.S. Health Care Findings

  • Nearly two in five corporations, 40%, offer a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). The most popular offering is a HDHP with a health savings account (HSA).
  • Corporations are most likely to offer a health flexible spending account (FSA). Nine in ten (87%) corporate respondents offer a FSA, followed by 65% of public employers, 58% of professional service firms and just 9% of multiemployer plans.
  • Other popular benefits offered by respondents in general include mental health benefits (71%), vision care (64%), chiropractic coverage (61%) and orthodontia benefits (59%).

Other Key U.S. Benefits Findings

  • More than half of corporations (58%) and professional service firms (54%) offer at least ten paid holidays per year. A majority of public sector employers (53%) offer 12 or more days.
  • Slightly more than half, 57%, of corporations and 55% of public employers offer some form of adoption benefits to their employees. Public sector employees are the most likely to offer paid leave as an adoption benefit.
  • Public employers are the most likely to offer flexible work hours at 55%. They are followed by professional service firms (54%) and corporations (47%).
  • Over half of corporations, 63%, provide special perks to executives; most popular are a company car or allowance, supplemental executive retirement plans/nonqualified deferred compensation plans, equity compensation and executive physical examinations.

Employee Benefits Survey: U.S. and Canada: 2009 (Item #6542) is published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. It contains 157 pages and costs $132 (I.F. Members $99). To order visit www.ifebp.org/books.asp?6542 or contact the Foundation Bookstore at bookstore@ifebp.org or (888) 334-3327, option 4.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to being a leading objective and independent global source of employee benefits, compensation, and financial literacy education and information.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/11/prweb1669974.htm

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