An overview of trends in employee benefits programmes
ABSTRACT Investigates employee benefits on offer in the USA. Acknowledges that several benefits (such as social security payments) are required by law but focuses on voluntary or discretionary benefits, which may or may not be taxable, such as child care. Explores the purpose of these benefits, particularly from the employ’s point of view, as a tool for offering incentives and increasing motivation. Provides a brief overview of the history of benefits in the USA, the benefits on offer, the cost of benefit packages to employers, and tax consequences. Notes that the traditional benefit package was based on a male worker with a non-working spouse and two children, which has not kept pace with demographics. Describes a typical household today as a two-income family with children, with increased life expectancy and more elderly people. Concedes that benefit packages are beginning to change, particularly in relation to elder care and child care. Terms pick and mix benefits packages as cafeteria-style benefit plans and outlines their advantages and disadvantages. Warns that more and more benefits are likely to be taxable.