More employers are offering domestic partner benefits, healthcare deductibles
are on the rise, Health Savings Accounts are more popular, and sign-on bonuses
have become less common, according to BLR's 2005 Survey of Employee Benefits.
BLR surveyed over 3,000 U.S. employers on employee benefit practices; from
health care and paid-time off programs to leaves of absence.
"There are a number of startling changes in this year's results,"
says Susan Schoenfeld, BLR's senior compensation editor. "One of the most
interesting is the increase of the number of companies offering domestic partnership
benefits--only 13 percent of employers offered such benefits in 2003; in 2005
this figure increases to 19 percent for exempt employees."
Schoenfeld pointed out the newest healthcare cost management strategy: "Employers
are starting to combine health deductibles with Health Savings Accounts to reduce
healthcare costs. "Employers with an employee deductible of more than $1,000
increased from 18 percent in 2004 to 27 percent in 2005, as employers hope employees
will take more responsibility for their own healthcare, make fewer doctor visits,
and help monitor costs. HSAs help employees manage these increased deductibles
through a tax-exempt trust or custodial account."
Companies offering sign-on bonuses to IT employees declined from 15 percent
in 2003 to 3 percent in 2005. The drop comes as IT jobs have been outsourced
to other countries and the market has softened. Sign-on bonuses for other job
categories have also become less common.
Employers may obtain a free Executive Summary of BLR's 2005 Employee Benefits
Survey at http://www.blr.com/82008500/WBP1211.