Case study: SJ Berwin expands flexible benefits offering online

Law firm SJ Berwin launched a flexible benefits scheme in June 2011 to streamline its benefits offering, to communicate the perks staff already received contractually and to attract new talent to its 550-strong workforce.

Peter Roberts, HR operations manager at SJ Berwin, says: “We have quite a range of employees. We have high earners and a lot of young people as well, so it was about trying to address our varied demographic.”

Before the launch, the firm offered employees a group personal pension (GPP), with matched employee contributions up to a maximum of 5%, childcare vouchers, a bikes-for-work scheme, group income protection (GIP) and life assurance at four-times salary. These were all provided as paper-based benefits.

The online flex scheme, provided by Bluefin, has brought these benefits together with a variety of new offerings, including private medical insurance (PMI) with flex options for family members, a health cash plan, dental insurance, health screening, travel insurance, holiday buy and sell (up to three days), a computer scheme and a car-sharing scheme with Zipcar. Life assurance was increased to 10-times salary.

SJ Berwin considered offering critical illness insurance, but Roberts says he did not want to overcrowd the flex package. “I am conscious that, when employees choose their benefits, they have got a page of things to pick from,” he says. “Already the screen looks quite full.”

The firm plans to tweak the categorisation of its flexible benefits when enrolment opens in 2013. “We might change the brand approach slightly, so we could pull together benefit types,” says Roberts.

SJ Berwin was shortlisted in the category for ‘Most effective use of a flexible benefits plan’ at the 2012 Employee Benefits Awards.

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