News & Politics

Contraceptive Coverage In, On-Site Child Care Out: Trends in Workplace Benefits

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While companies eye the bottom line when it comes to employee benefits, more are watching waistlines, too: 34 percent of employers now do staff fitness competitions, and 13 percent hand out free fitness bands, all to keep workers healthier and insurance costs down. “For every dollar a company invests in wellness, they get about $3.46 in return,” says Bruce Elliott, manager of compensation and benefits at the Society for Human Resource Management.

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Other perks, such as mental-health coverage, are on the upswing due to the Affordable Care Act, still others because they reduce costs (an annual retirement-plan match is paid out only if employees stay the full year; unlimited time off means no vacation liability on the books of a start-up). Here are a handful of benefits trending up or down, based on a 2015 SHRM study:

On the Rise On the Wane
Fitness challenges Unhealthy snacks
Mental-health coverage Nap rooms
Health savings accounts Flexible-spending accounts
Spot bonuses Employee stock-purchase plan
Annual 401(k) match Per-payroll matching
Take-your-pet-to-work day Take-your-child-to-work day
Pet insurance Subsidized eldercare
Unlimited paid time off Vacation cash-out
Casual dress Dry-cleaning services
Volunteer programs Mentoring programs
Telecommuting Company-owned cars
Phased retirement Pension plans
On-site vegetable gardens On-site subsidized cafeterias
Standing desks Alternative-medicine Coverage
Contraceptive coverage On-site child care

This article appears in our November 2015 issue of Washingtonian.