5 Unique and Creative Employee Benefits

5 Unique and Creative Employee Benefits

For most people, landing a new job is not just about how much money they’re going to make, but about the employee benefits they’ll receive.  According to research from Glassdoor, 57% of people said benefits and perks are among their top considerations before they accept a job. Four out of five workers say they would prefer new benefits over a pay raise. 

Here are the top 5 best employee benefits workers prefer:

  1. Health care insurance (medical, dental): 40%
  2. Vacation/paid time off: 37%
  3. Performance bonus: 35%
  4. Paid sick days: 32%
  5. 401k plan, retirement plan and or pension: 31%

However, there are some unique and creative employee benefits that some companies provide their employees.  Here are 5 examples of creative employee benefits some top companies provide their employees. 

1. A Pet-Friendly Environment

If any of your employees have pets, you might want to consider providing benefits for them.  PetSmart offers employees several pet-related benefits.  They receive a 15 percent discount on pet-related merchandise and grooming.  They also receive free training classes and discounted veterinary services.  They can also bring their pets to work with them. 

Dogtopia provides its employees with a personal wellness fund that can be used for doggy daycare and vet visits.  Employees that don’t have pets can use the wellness fund for gym memberships and healthy lunches. 

You don’t have to be in the pet business to provide pet benefits.  Zappos provides its employees with pet insurance.

You can learn which retirement plan would best fit your company’s budget by clicking here

2. Unlimited Vacation Time

Netflix employees get to choose how many vacation days they take each year.  It could be two weeks or two months. 

Metis Communications not only gives their employees three weeks of vacation, but they also get their birthday off too.  They also get a bonus vacation week during the last week of December.  After four years of employment, workers get an extra week of vacation.  After five years, they get paid Friday’s off during the summer.   

3. Get Paid to Volunteer

Salesforce rewards their workers for volunteering.  They get six paid days off to do volunteer work.  They also give employees $1000 each year to donate to the charity or cause of their choice. 

4. Freezing Your Eggs

Female employees at Spotify who wish to delay pregnancy can have their eggs frozen.  Spotify will pay the cost of egg freezing and fertility assistance.   

5. Paying Down Student Loan Debt

Paying off student loans can eat away at your paycheck.  PwC helps its employees pay down their debt.  They give their employees $100 a month towards their student loan debt.  This benefit is available for up to six years.  This can help save employees save up to $10,000 when you factor in interest. 

You might want to consider offering your employees some of these benefits or none at all.  The important thing to remember is that to attract top talent for your company, having an attractive benefits package and an excellent work culture is a must.

Have more questions about retirement administration? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

Tax Credits for 401ks for Small Business Owners

Tax Credits for 401ks for Small Business Owners

A lot has changed in the last few months for small businesses, but one of the positive changes we’ve seen comes from the SECURE Act. Previously, employers who had implemented a 401(k) plan for their company received a flat $500 tax-credit, which wasn’t enough of an incentive for some. With the SECURE Act, employers will be guaranteed a minimum of $500 with a maximum of $5,000 for up to three years! If you are looking for tax savings, this is a great place to start. The final amount is determined by the number of employees that sign up for the plan. Shameless plug: we help make enrollment simple for you and your employees!

Encouraging Employees To Enroll
Automatic enrollment (often called auto-enrollment) is a great tool to get more employees enrolled. Participants have the option to opt OUT, but aren’t dealing with the hassle of enrolling. It’s a great way to urge employees to start saving for their retirement. We find that one of the top reasons that employees don’t enroll is because they don’t understand or it seems complicated. What’s more, is that the SECURE Act offers an additional $500 tax-credit for those 401(k) or Simple IRA plans who use automatic enrollment for their participants!

Extension Of The Timeline
The SECURE Act has also pushed the timeline for employers to decide if they want to implement a 401(k) or Cash Balance plan. Instead of the December 31st deadline, they now have until their next filing date (including extensions) to decide whether or not they want to implement a plan for the previous year.

This rule goes into effect for plans starting in 2020 for the 2020 tax year.

This won’t be eligible for the 2019 tax year.

These incentives give the employer a way to offset the costs associated with a retirement plan that helps with recruiting high-quality employees, employee retention, and tax management.

We see the passing of the SECURE Act as positive for small businesses. If you’d like to read more about the SECURE Act, we’ve written a blog that covers extension of the implementation deadline, and eligibility for part-time employees. Read more here.

Contact us for a free consultation or head over to the Retirement Plan Evaluator to see which plan is best for your business.

Have more questions about retirement administration? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

 

 

 

 

Should You Establish A 4 Day Work-Week?

Should You Establish A 4 Day Work-Week?

As employers, there are a lot of things on our minds consistently. How do we increase productivity? How do we retain our workers and keep them happy? How do we become more profitable? There’s been a trending topic that claims to address each of these issues, so we decided to dive in a little deeper. The concept of the 4 day (or shortened) work-week has even earned its own name: The Compressed Workweek. But, who has tried it? And of those who have tried it, what were the results? 

Why change? 

According to a global survey of nearly 3,000 employees across eight countries conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated, 45% of full-time workers said it would take less than 5 hours each day to do their job if they worked uninterrupted, while 72% of employees of employees would work 4 days or less per week if their pay remained consistent. Yet, 71% of employees also say that work interferes with their personal life. 

Who’s tried it? 

According to NPR, Microsoft Japan allowed workers to transition from their 5 day per week jobs to a 4 day work-week over the summer, allowing them to enjoy a three-day weekend while getting their normal paycheck. The result? A productivity boost of 40%, and lower electricity costs- a savings of 23%. They decided to change meeting times too, from the traditional hour to 30 minutes. To replace longer in-person meetings, they suggested utilizing time-saving communication tools such as chat channels. 

Andrew Barnes, founder of Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand tried the four-day work week in 2018 as a trial that allowed all of its employees a paid day off per week. Employees worked 30 hour weeks but were paid the same amount as they were paid when working 40 hour weeks. They were required to produce the same amount of work. After the trial, the company found that team engagement had increased noticeably, while stress decreased. The company has been implementing the policy on a long-term opt-in basis since last November.

The Bottom Line

The Compressed Workweek clearly has made a positive impact on some companies, but only a handful of industries have tried it. Experts are giving some conflicting information on the matter, but what is evident, is that inviting change and researching the topic could check a lot of boxes for both employers and employees. The common denominator is a flexible work environment. While that may mean Fridays off for some companies, does it make sense for everyone to take Fridays off? Probably not, but if there are ways to provide your employees balance and flexibility while cutting costs and increasing productivity, it’s a great alternative to consider. 

At Life, Inc. Retirement Services, our focus is ensuring you have the support you need as an employer to keep your employees engaged, increase retention, and ensure they are taken care of. If you’d like to talk with us more about our approach, schedule a consultation with us today! 

    Have more questions about retirement administration? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

     

     

     

     

    How Will COVID-19 Change The Owner/Employee Relationship?

    How Will COVID-19 Change The Owner/Employee Relationship?

    The Covid-19 crisis is changing current employer to employee relationships dramatically.

    Forced business closings are resulting in unplanned employee layoffs. But many businesses remain open due to innovative methods of connecting with customers and employees. 

    We all hope these pandemic conditions will fade quickly. We know that eventually business conditions and the economy will return to normalcy.   But some ways of doing business and managing the business owner to employee relationship were already changing before the crisis. 

    These new attitudes and methods, currently expanded due to necessity, will likely continue even when the Covid-19 crisis becomes a memory.  These changes could actually increase profits and strengthen employer to employee relationships. 

    Following is a short list of what to expect in the future, when the economy bounces back from the Covid-19 crisis.

    Technology and Evolving Attitudes Will Enhance Employer/Employee Relationships.

    As referenced in this Forbes Magazine article, businesses are rediscovering the value of employee engagement. 

    Respecting employees, encouraging their participation concerning decisions, embracing them as a positive factor in the business’ big picture, rather than simply as cogs in a wheel – creates loyal, productive employees.  

    Loyalty creates employees who better serve customers; associates who act in the best interest of the business itself, rather than simply offering the minimum performance needed to earn a paycheck.   

    Working Remotely is Convenient and Profitable for Businesses and Employees.

    Many employees who formerly commuted to an office have taken their computers home due to stay-at-home orders and business closing requirements. Most are successfully completing their duties remotely. 

    If they can work from home during the crisis, many employers and employees will continue to do so to save time, gas, the hassle of heavy traffic and the need for the employer to provide expensive office space.

    Virtual Consultations And Meetings Save Time and Money

    Travel takes time and resources away from company profits. Virtual meetings will be considered more efficient.  They save employees travel time, save the company hotel and transportation expenses. The bottom line would benefit.  

    Savings on travel expenses could make more funds available for employee benefits.

    You can learn which retirement plan would best fit your company’s budget by clicking here

    Virtual Education Will Be Encouraged and/or Provided

    Many employers find it difficult to locate potential employees with the specific training required for open positions at their company. 

    College students find it difficult to pay off massive debt. Years of study for a specific degree may not be practical for some occupations, especially in the field of technology, where changes occur rapidly.

    So with this in mind, employers will be more open to the idea of offering continued education due to the lowered costs of virtual education options.

    An In-Sourcing Trend Could Increase Demand for Employees With Specialized Talents

    The lack of medical supplies during this crisis highlights the need to bring more manufacturing home to the United States. 

    fThe demand for those with specialized talents, not necessarily college degrees, may increase, such as talented people who specialize in low-cost creation techniques like 3-D printing.

    With a bit of foresight and planning, the economy that follows the COVID-19 crisis may be one which will feature not only greater profits, but a more positive employer/employee relationship.  

    Have more questions about retirement administration? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

    Do I Need a Financial Advisor for a 401K?

    Do I Need a Financial Advisor for a 401K?

    You might be wondering if you need a financial advisor for your 401(k).

    Many employers, especially small business owners, are hard at work managing their own business and working closely with their customers or clients. A financial advisor can help you tackle the issues related to your 401(k).

    Here are a few things a financial advisor can do:

    1. Provide employees with financial advice
      2. Act as an investment manager
      3. Share fiduciary responsibility
      4. Help with plan design

    Do I need a financial advisor?
    Sometimes it’s hard for small business owners to understand what an advisor may be able to help them with. Apart from getting financial guidance, the following are some reasons why you need a financial advisor.

    1. It’s Good For Your Business

    Many employers, particularly small businesses, with limited time and resources, find the administrative and time-consuming 401(k) management unnerving. Financial advisors will help you avoid problems associated with 401(k) and give you peace of mind. This involves not only preventing you from getting penalized and fined, but also maintaining a plan’s qualified tax state.

    Given that in the past decade, according to Lex Machina, there have been over 83,000 ERISA-related cases that have been filed under The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in federal courts. You don’t want to end up in court for penalties and fines.

    Financial matters can be complex and complicated and often involving. An advisor can help you make sense of all the tasks involved and save you a lot of time, which you can spend making money.

    Also, having a financial advisor for your employees and yourself whom you can seek financial and investment advice from, is critical for the success of your business. An advisor will ensure your plan is being utilized to the fullest and also that your employees are getting the most out of the benefits

    2. Offers You Fiduciary Services

    If you’re to reduce the liability associated with your 401(k) plan, hire a financial advisor to serve as a fiduciary. While not all financial advisors offer fiduciary services, any fiduciary has the legal responsibility to act in the best interest of your 401(k) plan.

    3(21) fiduciaries share liability with you as the plan sponsor while a 3(38) fiduciaries take complete obligation for building and monitoring the fund lineup under ERISA.

    Having a great financial advisor can help your 401(k) plan flourish. A financial advisor who: takes up fiduciary responsibility, offers administrative assistance, and is committed to making your employees experience with 401(k) worthwhile is worth your time and money.

    Contact us today if you’re looking for a financial advisor who can entrust your business’s compliance, liability, and 401(k) administration.

      Have more questions about retirement administration? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

       

       

       

       

      Plan Trustee: What Do They Do and Why Are They so Critical?

      Plan Trustee: What Do They Do and Why Are They so Critical?

      Most people tend to think that because their employers contribute money that goes into their retirement plan that they play the most significant role. However, in order to ensure your plan’s assets are managed adequately throughout your life, other essential functions need to step up to make sure tasks around your investments are done correctly, and your money is protected. For these reasons, some consider the plan’s trustee to be one of the most essential roles. 

      What is a Plan Trustee

      A trustee is someone responsible for the investments that are held by the plan. Their primary function is to act in the best interest of the plan’s participants, which they carry out by these specific duties: 

      • Recording: They are responsible for maintaining full and accurate records of your disbursements, transactions, and investments.
      • Accept Contributions: They are in charge of accepting the contributions to your plan.
      • Responsible for Distributions: They are in charge of authorizing the timing and the method of payment as well as the amount to the specific participants of the plan.
      • Determine Eligibility: They are in charge of determining the employees eligibility into the plan.
      • Accounting Services: They are responsible for the trust fund’s accounting, which will be used in the plan’s annual filings.
      • Agent: The trustee is often served with notices of any claim against the plan.  

      Why is a Trustee’s Role so Critical

      A trustee plays an extremely vital role in the management of your plan. They not only have the ability to exercise authority over the plan’s assets but also have the added responsibility of being the plan’s administrator. Their role is not only critical but comes with a lot of discretion and responsibility. 

      • The trustee’s main primary fiduciary duty is making sure the plan assets are managed in the best interest of its participants and the named beneficiaries. 
      • The trustee must follow the specific rules in administering the plan and following the standard of care that a reasonable fiduciary would pursue when fulfilling their critical responsibilities. Failing to do so can leave them liable for the damages that result. 

      Have more questions about retirement administration? Schedule a plan discussion with us or take 30 seconds to find which plan is best for your company with the retirement plan evaluator.

       Sources:

      What is a Trustee? Your Fiduciary Duties. (2015). By Beth Harrington. Benefit Resource Inc.