Research: alternatives to flexible benefits plans

Voluntary benefits and total reward statements can pave the way for employers to introduce a flexible benefits plan, says Debbie Lovewell

There are several commonly accepted steps employers can take to test the water before launching a flexible benefits scheme. Voluntary benefits, for example, enable employers to introduce staff to the concept of choice. This may be why so many respondents without flex either already offer voluntary perks or are planning to introduce them.

Total reward statements (TRS), meanwhile, can be used to ensure staff are aware of the value of the current package they receive before flex is launched. TRS can help boost the take-up and understanding of any flex scheme that is launched.

Just over one-fifth (21%) of respondents which do not currently offer a flexible benefits scheme issue TRS for staff, and a further 39% plan to do so. Just 5% have rejected the idea, and 3% previously offered statements but have removed them.

More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents that do not offer a flexible benefits scheme provide standalone, tax-efficient benefits via a salary-sacrifice arrangement. A further 7% plan to introduce such perks. Just 16% do not offer this type of benefits scheme.

As well as introducing employees to the idea of choice around their perks, employers can use savings on national insurance contributions to fund a full flexible benefits scheme.

Click on the links below for more sections:

Who are the respondents; key findings
Attitudes to flexible benefits
Structure of flexible benefits schemes
How flexible benefits schemes are administered
Salary sacrifice in flexible benefits
Pensions and flex
Crucial communications
Sponsors Comment: Realise the full value of flex