Research Suggests an Alternative Vehicle — Total Rewards Statements –- Are More Effective

Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) November 18, 2008 — WorldatWork today submitted comments to the U.S. Senate’s Finance Committee on a legislative proposal recommending employers disclose the amount they pay for health care on an employee’s W-2 tax form. The proposal says that such disclosure would result in more efficient choices by employees and lead – ultimately – to lower overall health-care costs.

WorldatWork’s comments, based on its recent research, included a suggestion by the global nonprofit human resources association that the Committee look at an alternative communication vehicle for more effective disclosure of health-care cost information: a total rewards statement. A total rewards statement is an individualized compensation statement or snapshot of an employee’s tangible and intangible rewards at a point in time, quantified to reflect the total value of his/her rewards. A total rewards statement includes income from all compensation sources as well as the cash value of all benefits and work-life programs. Many employers offer these personalized statements on an annual basis, such as during open enrollment season and/or during the discussion of pay and incentive awards. In addition, many employers today offer access to real-time information through HR portals and the like.

In a recent WorldatWork membership poll on the best communication vehicle for disclosing health-care cost information, a majority of respondents (62 percent) favored the total rewards statement compared to eight percent for the W-2 tax form.

“While transparency of employer-provided health-care costs is always a good idea, the W-2 does not give a complete picture,” said Rose Stanley, benefits practice leader for WorldatWork. “Our studies show that total reward statements are truly the best vehicle for communicating with employees as they include income from all compensation sources as well as the cash value of all benefits. However, reward statements are not provided with every paycheck, are not submitted to government and are not consistent in format. As an alternative, we encourage the U.S. Senate Finance Committee to explore creating a federal standard of total reward statements for tax-exempt benefit communications.”

“We commend the Senate Finance Committee for drawing attention to the importance of educating employees about the true cost of health care,” said WorldatWork public policy director Cara Woodson Welch, Esq. “We think both employers and employees win when health care and other benefit investments are communicated regularly through a comprehensive vehicle such as a total rewards statement.”

About WorldatWork®:
The Total Rewards Association
WorldatWork ( is a global human resources association focused on compensation, benefits, work-life and integrated total rewards to attract, motivate and retain a talented workforce. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork provides a network of more than 30,000 members and professionals in 75 countries with training, certification, research, conferences and community. It has offices in Washington, D.C. and Scottsdale, Arizona.

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