#HR Trends and Insights

What Are Voluntary Benefits? The Complete Guide for Companies

December 26, 2023

Companies have begun to recognize the power of voluntary benefits and their impact on employee satisfaction and retention, but what are voluntary benefits exactly, and how can they enhance the overall well-being of your workforce?

What Are Voluntary Benefits?

Voluntary benefits, also known as supplemental benefits, are additional perks and insurance options thatemployees can choose to enroll inbeyond the core offerings like health insurance and retirement plans.

What sets voluntary benefits apart is the element ofchoice. Employees have the freedom to select the benefits that align with their individual needs and lifestyles.

What Is the Difference Between Voluntary and Non-Voluntary Benefits?

It’s important to know the difference between legally required and voluntary benefits. Each state has different requirements for companies operating within them.

Typically, companies are required to provide their W-4 employees with the following:

  • Workers Compensation.
  • Unemployment Insurance.
  • Health Insurance.
  • Disability Insurance.

Often, companies will expand voluntary benefits beyond the bare minimum and include dental, vision, and life insurance coverage options.

This would be considered the most basic offering for a voluntary benefits program.

Offering a voluntary benefits plan is an easy choice for many employers because it’s a great way to attract and retain employees with experience and talent in a competitive hiring field.

Going beyond the standard benefits package is a great way to have loyal employees.

What Are the Advantages of Voluntary Benefits for Employers?

1. Enhanced Employee Satisfaction

A comprehensive voluntary benefits program can demonstrate a company’s commitment to employee well-being, leading to higher job satisfaction and engagement.

2. Competitive Edge in Recruitment

Offering a robust suite of voluntary benefits makes your company more attractive to prospective employees, setting you apartin a competitive job market.

The more an employer offers to new hires, the more prospective employees become available.

3. Increased Retention

Employees who feel supported through comprehensive benefits packages, including voluntary offerings, are likely to stay with the company long-term.

Many companies have found that the value of employee retention has far outpaced the cost of voluntary benefits.

What Are the Most Common Voluntary Benefits?

The most common voluntary benefits start with add-on services to the typical basic benefits package.

Health insurance, including dental and vision insurance (to minimize out-of-pocket expenses) and life and accident insurance (to make employees feel secure), are typically the first steps from the essential employee benefits package.

Other types of voluntary benefits include:

  • Critical Illness Insurance.
  • Financial Counseling.
  • Mental Health Services.
  • Gym Membership.
  • Cellphone Stipend.
  • Stock Options.
  • Paid Time Off.
  • Paid Sick Leave.
  • Family Medical Insurance coverage.
  • Pet Insurance.
  • Discounted Rates.
  • Financial Wellness Programs.

Offering some of these voluntary benefits beyond the existing coverage of mandatory benefits has been shown toincrease employee productivityand retain employees.

Voluntary benefits can generally be categorized into 4 main areas:

1. Health and Wellness

Supplemental health insurance, dental and vision insurance coverage, andwellness programsare common voluntary benefits that contribute to employees’ overall well-being.

This became a standard with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and while many requirements from the law are no longer intact, many companies still offer these insurance plans due to their popularity.

2. Financial Security

Voluntary benefits extend tofinancial wellness with options such as:

  • Life insurance.
  • Disability coverage.
  • Critical illness insurance.
  • Accident insurance.
  • Legal services.

These benefits provide a safety net for unforeseen circumstances.

Providing employees with a financial safety net in the event of critical illness is a great way tooffer peace of mind to your employees.

3. Work-Life Balance

Flexible work arrangements, telecommuting options, and employee assistance programs (EAPs) are voluntary benefits that support a healthy work-life balance.

Gym memberships, group rates, and other voluntary benefits can help communicate to your employees that you respect their needs in and out of the office.

4. Professional Development

Tuition reimbursement, training programs, and skill development initiatives contribute toemployees’ career growth and are valued voluntary benefits.

Covering the administrative fees can help employees save money as they continue to develop themselves as productive members of your organization.

Choosing the Right Voluntary Benefits Program

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to offering voluntary benefits and options. Employees at different stages of their lives will have different needs and interests.

Gym memberships and pet insurance may be enticing for younger, single employees, while long-term disability insurance or life insurance may be more important to older employees with families.

It’s important to offer a wide array of voluntary benefits for eligible employees so they can select the benefits that suit them most.

How Edenred Can Help

We think you’ll love Edenred’s benefit programs!

Update your existing benefits package to include one or all of the following:

  • Pre-tax commuter benefits.
  • Lifestyle Spending Accounts
  • Claims Reimbursement.
  • AnytimePay.
  • Ticket Restaurant.
  • Micromobility

Edenred also offers discounted rates for a wide variety of services in an ever-growing catalog, which can be extremely attractive to prospective talent.

Ready to expand with better benefit offerings? Schedule a meeting with us today to learn more and get you started.

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