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Your Workplace Benefits Could Look Different This Year

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It’s impossible to talk about 2020 without mentioning some of the big changes that swept through our work lives. Living rooms became offices. Meetings went online. For some of us, this shift was welcome – Don’t miss you, long commute! But navigating this new work set-up wasn’t always easy, and we’re not just talking about the glitch-y video calls. Challenges like juggling the demands of work with wrangling the kids, struggling with burnout, and navigating the complexities of unemployment during a pandemic and economic recession were real and often, tough to deal with. 

As we start the new year, many of us may be reevaluating certain aspects of our work lives. What’s, literally, working? What can we change? And part of that check in might include taking a closer look at the benefits available at our place of work, like healthcare, paid leave and more. In fact, a recent annual enrollment trends report from Ayco, a Goldman Sachs company, notes that “the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is putting new urgency on company benefits. As employees look to their benefits offerings, companies are responding in kind, by leveraging, expanding and creating new benefits to answer the needs of their employee populations.”

Whether you’re on the hunt for a new job or just want to see how your company’s benefits stack up, the report highlights some key trends – and changes on the way – that could be helpful.

More employers are adding lower deductible healthcare plan options and expanding benefits like paid leave and financial wellness  

Digging into company perks. Have you read through your workplace benefits? Not everyone pours over them with the same enthusiasm as a good novel but that may be changing. Compared with 2019, Ayco said it expects that employees will take “a deeper look” at the benefits offered by their employer, as they’re searching for additional support during the pandemic. What’s top of mind for workers these days? Benefits like paid leave and child care seem to, unsurprisingly, be a priority.

Possible benefit changes ahead. Companies are also editing some policies to address the needs of their employees, Ayco noted. Here are some of the changes that have happened (or are on the way) across a variety of employee benefits:

  • Financial wellness. Gone are the days when a paycheck was the only financial benefit a job offered. These days many companies are adding or enhancing financial wellness benefits to help workers with things like budgeting, investment planning and voluntary early retirement. As Ayco notes, “The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the financial wellness of America’s workforce and as a result, there has been a similar increase in focus on financial wellness benefits.” And here’s some good news: If your employer doesn’t currently offer these types of benefits, Ayco expects more companies will in the coming year and beyond.
  • Healthcare. We’re certainly not breaking any news here, but healthcare is expensive. According to Value Penguin, a 40-year-old American is paying nearly $500 a month on average across metal tiers of coverage. In recent years, many companies opted for high deductible healthcare plans. But those plans typically come with high out-of-pocket costs that could “prove overwhelming” given the financial stresses some Americans experience and their potential need for medical care as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ayco notes. 

Looking ahead, many companies are considering options that are potentially more cost-effective, with plans that offer lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, as well as expanded telehealth coverage. 

  • Paid leave. Ever had a job that made you count down the days until vacation? Good news: You could have more paid time off ahead so you don’t have to daydream so much. And this increase is also geared toward alleviating some of the challenges at home. “Many employers expanded leave benefits during the height of the pandemic to assist employees struggling with quarantine situations, as well as child and elder care coverage,” Ayco reports, adding that these companies are considering permanently expanding their leave policies – or even implementing unlimited time off. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.