Despite the gradual economic recovery, many businesses are still cutting back on everything from training budgets to employee benefits. Indeed, a recent CNN article states that “over the past five years, 40% of working adults have seen their employer-sponsored benefits reduced or eliminated entirely, according to a survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, or NEFE.” And the same survey that reveals these cuts also says that the benefit most hard hit is health insurance.
As a result of such cuts, many employees are working harder than ever to simply make ends meet and keep their heads above water. For example, the same CNN article states:
This year, workers’ out-of-pocket costs rose 5.8% to an average of $3,470 for a typical family of four, according to data compiled byindependent actuarial and health care consulting firm Milliman Inc.” It is clear from this data that for some, the great benefits and flexible schedules of the family-friendly workplace are in the past. And the cuts don’t stop there. “By 2017, cost and competitive pressures are expected to prompt more than 50% of large Fortune 1000 organizations toward dropping health care coverage altogether, according to a recent study by the Corporate Executive Board, a Washington, D.C.-based research firm.
These studies can be very disheartening. But don’t lose hope – there are things you can do to take positive action!
Make a More Family-Friendly Workplace
1. Get a group of fellow employees together to approach human resources about negotiating a new and improved benefits plan to offer better coverage to eligible employees.
2. Emphasize the importance of comprehensive benefits, flexible hours, adequate sick leave, and the like to employee productivity, personal effectiveness, and employee retention.
3. Provide information about the benefits packages available to employees at comparable businesses within your industry which may offer more family-friendly workplace options.
4. Research cost-effective alternatives to more traditional benefits options, such as higher deductible health insurance plans or prescriptions savings plans.
5. Promote the possibility of an employee fitness club, healthy eating seminars, and the like to improve employee health, decrease employee absenteeism, and increase personal effectiveness, as well as to reduce healthcare costs on an individual and institutional level.
6. If you are a manager, act as an example for your employees with healthy work-life balance and healthy habits, regardless of what benefits package your company is able to offer.