#HR Trends and Insights

You got questions; we have answers: Lifestyle Spending Accounts

March 30, 2022

Employers are entering into new territory as they call employees back to the office. There’s a lot of uncertainty about how employees will handle it after two years at home. Having an excellent benefits package is one good way companies can ensure that employees come back to the office and won’t lose veteran employees.

Along with health insurance and retirement packages, employees are also looking for wellness programs to help them cope with stress and remain healthy. Lifestyle Spending Accounts are one of the best ways to deliver those benefits to your employees.

If you are not familiar with the benefits of Lifestyle Spending Accounts, here are some FAQs to help you get up to speed.

What are Lifestyle Spending Accounts?

Lifestyle Spending Accounts are used to pay for health, fitness, and more to help your employees’ general health and well-being. They can have a positive impact on both employees and employers, helping reduce stress and increase morale and productivity.

Employers who offer this benefit can fund the accounts after taxes are deducted. There are no mandatory expenses and they have complete control of what programs will be set up for employees.

Lifestyle Spending Accounts were found more commonly in Canada than in the United States. However, the accounts have picked up in popularity in recent years, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

What are some examples?

Edenred’s Lifestyle Spending Accounts let employers spend money on programs for employees in health, fitness, food, mobility, pet care, nutritional counseling, continuing education and tuition, financial wellness, and entertainment.

For example, employees can enroll in programs for stress reduction and resilience, weight loss, smoking cessation, exercise programs and activities, nutrition education, and more.

There’s also the ability to purchase gym memberships, athletic camping and equipment, or pay for other health-related expenses.

What are the benefits of Lifestyle Spending Accounts?

Lifestyle Spending Accounts can help employees select activities that help reduce stress, focus on their health, and get more out of life.

A 2019 Aflac survey said 70 percent of the respondents in wellness programs reported higher job satisfaction than those not in the program. Employees in wellness programs also report fewer sick days, lower medical costs, and higher morale in the office. All those benchmarks help make employees in wellness programs more productive.

Employee engagement can improve too as companies help employees prioritize physical and mental health. When wellness programs align with the company’s goals, employees are likely to focus on success at the company.

There are several benefits for employers. The diversity of programs in Lifestyle Spending Accounts can help companies attract and retain talent and differentiate themselves from their competitors. A 2016 APA report said employees would more likely recommend companies that support wellness efforts over those who do not.

Instead of offering a Health Spending Account, Lifestyle Spending Accounts allow employers to only pay for what employees spend. That can help with financial reviews and budgeting.

Can Lifestyle Spending Accounts be customized?

Yes, Lifestyle Spending Accounts can be customized as there is no one-size-fits-all wellness program for companies. Adding this program will differ from one employer to the next, most likely. Employers can select different programs and employees can decide what programs to take advantage of.

What if my company uses a hybrid program to go back to the office?

How your company is set up should not impact your Lifestyle Spending Accounts. The accounts will work the same for employees in the office, working remotely, or doing both at this time.

How does it work?

Lifestyle Spending Accounts are easy programs to manage. Employers have complete control of the costs and the programs they want to offer. They can also control the program through restrictions, including geographic, eligible days, and spending limits.

Employees are given a multi-benefit card that they can use anywhere it is accepted. Funds can be loaded to the card monthly or quarterly. Some benefits are eligible for a secure and simple reimbursement process.

Employees are eligible for discounts Edenred offers through its partners. Unlike a pre-tax benefit like commuter benefits, employers can pick from an extensive list of eligible programs because it is a post-tax reimbursement program.

How many programs should a company offer?

The number of programs your company offers is totally up to you. However, an Optum survey reported that employees were more likely to recommend their employer if they offer multiple Lifestyle Spending Account programs. If there are seven to eight offerings, more than 50 percent of those who responded said they would recommend the company. With only one to three offerings, only 23 percent said they recommend the company.

Would Lifestyle Spending Accounts be a good benefit for your business? If you’d like more information or you’re ready to get started, schedule a call with us today.

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