Amanda Wilkinson: Flex needs a place in employers’ benefits packages

Flexible benefits is a concept that has been around for at least 10 years and many large organisations that are keen to be perceived as employers of choice have implemented the perk.

However, such schemes, which enable employees to opt in or out of perks as they wish or take cash, have still to find a place in the benefits packages of most employers. According to the Employee Benefits/Towers Perrin Flexible Benefits Research 2008, only 13% of employers claim to have a flexible benefits scheme up and running.

Employers that have not yet implemented the perk could be missing out. Although the cost of administration and implementation, as well as the complexity of administration, are often cited as reasons for not putting a scheme in place, these are issues that can either be overcome or offset by the benefits that flex offers.

Foe example, employers may find it easier to set aside a fixed amount for flexible benefits allowance each year than having to deal with the ever-increasing price of certain insurances. Also, the savings that can be made by offering tax-efficient perks through salary sacrifice will help offset the cost of flex.

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The biggest benefit of flex has to be the goodwill that is created by allowing employees to choose what perks suit their needs. Surely this has to help retain staff, if not attract them in the first place.

Amanda Wilkinson, Editor