Covid 19 created significant changes to employer-provided benefits in 2020, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Most employers (78%) reported that they expanded telework options and developed benefit packages specific to the more socially distanced workplaces that they were required to create in 2020.
“Organizations made huge strides in support of their employees whose work and home lives were disrupted during the pandemic,” SHRM said.
These efforts included diversifying telemedicine options, making mental health resources more accessible and providing expanded leave benefits for employees who were caring for children or adult family members at home.
The survey found the prevalence of paid family leave to be the highest in the last five years; the percentage of employers offering paid maternity leave (beyond what is required by short-term disability or state law) increased to 53%.
That growth coincided with similar progress for employers offering paid paternity leave (44%), paid parental leave (39%) and paid family leave (31%).
Due to widespread lockdowns, the type of company-sponsored wellness benefits that required in-person participation, like gym memberships, decreased in 2020 compared to 2019.
General wellness programs decreased by 7%, health insurance premium discounts that were offered for participation in wellness programs decreased by 11%, and rewards or bonuses for completing certain health and wellness programs decreased by 9%. Benefits that could be accessed virtually were more likely to increase in 2020, compared to 2019 data.
The study found stress management resources increased by 11%, personal or life coaching benefits expanded by 7%, and subsidized, unsubsidized or reimbursed meditation or mindfulness program offerings increased by 7%.