Due to an extraordinarily aware society in regards to personal wellbeing, and younger generations entering the workforce, there is great variety in terms of the employee benefits packages companies offer. For the purpose of this article, Paytime reviewed multiple surveys and research reports that offer extensive insight into employee benefits that are most sought out by the Australian workforce. The below are not necessarily ranked in terms of importance, but more so ranked in terms of recurrence.
Employee Benefit #1: Flexible work hours
When a candidate receives a job offer, a factor that has significant influence on whether they will sign the contract is whether or not they will have a flexible working schedule, which includes flexible working hours (specifically in relation to full-time employees). This employee benefit speaks for itself; in a modern, and very pro-wellbeing society, employees want to have the freedom to create a working schedule that encourages balance. For example, employees want to have the opportunity to take their children to the doctors in the middle of the day and work an extra hour that night. This freedom eliminates barriers previously put in place by a strict 9am-5pm work schedule. With so many companies advocating for work-life balance, if an employer does not include this employee perk in their benefits program, they will struggle to attract and retain top tier talent.
Employee Benefit #2: Time in lieu
Previously, individuals believed they had to work overtime in order to ‘prove themselves’ as valuable employees, and strongly associated promotions with people who worked long hours. In 2022, this mindset has completely shifted. With ‘act your wage’ trending on social platforms, and the increasing awareness of the need to appropriately balance work, socializing, and mental wellbeing, employees are no longer content in sacrificing their personal time in hopes of potentially receiving a promotion in the future. Therefore, employees are seeking ‘time in lieu’ as compensation for the hours they work overtime for the company’s benefit. Time in lieu means instead of being paid additional income, they will receive additional hours of paid leave (vacation time).
Employee Benefit #3: Working from home
In our opinion, this perk does not require extensive elaboration. Gone are the days of spending hours traveling to and from the office. As COVID19 proved the efficiency of remote working, employees are not interested in working for a company that does not offer a hybrid working model. This aligns with a greater employee trend of wanting to be trusted as employees and acknowledged as human beings with personal lives.
Employee Benefit #4: Health insurance
The increase in interest regarding health insurance relates to the increased awareness of living a healthy lifestyle, and a habitual switch to ‘preventative health care’ from ‘reactive health care’. Depending on the company’s industry, this could include workers compensation, dental care, mental wellbeing services, or hospitalization coverage. Employee health insurance will significantly differ between companies, but is actively sought out.
Employee Benefit #5: Upskilling support
Upskilling support refers to the company of employment assisting in an employee’s learning and professional development. This has become significantly important amongst the Australian workforce due a shift in mentality. Many Australians are adopting a ‘growth mindset’ which encourages continuous education and development. So, what does upskilling support look like in an employee program? It could be a paid class, course, certification, or skill expansion.
Employee Benefit #6: Wellness packages
Again, a wellness package will differ from company to company, however, it should be focused on employee happiness, mental health, and physical wellbeing. At a foundational level, this package is built on offering an array of health benefits. For example, a wellness package could include a gym membership, on-site complementary counselor, mental health days (an additional day off a year), recreational activities, complementary vaccinations, etc. Employees are not firm on what it should entail, only that it should be offered.
Employee Benefit #7: Free food and drink
As the cost of living has skyrocketed, and with it the cost of food, employees are beginning to inquire more frequently about what food and drink is offered at the company office. More significantly, employees are interested in free breakfast, snacks, and a coffee machine. This small employee perk helps employees save money on a weekly basis, and encourages working from the office (which many HR departments will claim adds to the ‘company culture’).
Employee Benefit #8: Additional parental leave
Paid parental leave is standard in the Australian workforce, however, candidates are better retained in companies that offer an advanced parental leave package (including extra weeks of paid paternity leave, the option to take additional unpaid maternity leave, etc).
Employee Benefit #9: Company discounts
Employee Benefit #10: On-demand pay
Employees are turning to their employers to assist them during these financially difficult times. They are seeking employee benefit programs that offer cash advances, personal loans, or on-demand pay. All of these services are a result of needing a cash advance because they cannot wait until their next pay day, and risk putting the employee in a debt spiral.
Although Earned Wage Access (EWA) is not (currently) specifically sought out, it falls under common themes of employees seeking benefits that break the payday cycle. EWA provides employees with access to the wage they have earned, based on the hours they have worked, and is of no cost to the employer. Click here to learn more about EWA, and why you should consider including this service in your benefits program.