Employee Benefits Top of Mind in 2010

Money may not be able to buy you happiness but it can buy you some life security&#x2014;at least that's what U.S. employees are hoping. A poll released today by MetLife found that 89 percent of employees will look to either increase or maintain their level of employer benefits in 2010 despite economic hardship.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Eleven percent reported that they planned to reduce coverage, but almost 25 percent of those also said they planned to increase coverage again once the economy improves. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Dr. Ronald Leopold, vice president for MetLife's U.S. business and author of 'The Benefits Edge' and 'A Year in the Life of a Million American Workers,' emphasized in a release that although employees are still dealing with economic hardship, benefits appear to be resistant. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> "Recent economic events have caused many to be more mindful and appreciative of the benefits provided to them at work, which often form the foundation of their personal safety nets," Leopold said. "In fact, despite some decreases in discretionary income, very few employees plan to pare back when it comes to selecting benefits for 2010. This shows that they continue to value their benefits as essential to helping them plan for the future while protecting themselves and their families."<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> A majority (89 percent) of employees expressed their confidence in being able to knowledgably choose their benefits. Only 3 percent claimed that they were not confident. Thirteen percent said they will spend more time, with 57 percent of those to dedicate an hour or more due to financial security (64 percent), major life events (31 percent), past errors in selections (15 percent).<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Despite employees' perceived confidence in selecting their plans, overall employer communication about the terms of their benefits and the advantages is low. Less than half (43 percent) of employers provide a detailed total Compensation Statement to staffers. Additionally, only 29 percent of those previously noted as taking more time to evaluate their benefits this year said that their employers had made effort to stress the importance of the benefits.