April 23, 2001
Hewitt Research Study
Story Filed: Monday, April 23, 2001 9:04 AM EST

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill., Apr 23, 2001

Recent economic woes have had little impact on the benefits that companies provide to help employees balance the demands of work and home. A newly released survey of 1,020 major U.S. employers by Hewitt Associates, a global management consulting and outsourcing firm, finds that the percentage of companies offering these types of work/life benefits actually increased in 2000 despite the economic downturn that began halfway through the year.

"The expansion of work/life benefits demonstrates that most companies are not viewing this `dip' in the economy as a chance to cut back on the perks they offer their employees, but rather as an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in this continuing tight labor market," said Carol Sladek, work/life consultant for Hewitt Associates. "Employers must provide these benefits in order to attract and retain the best people."

The programs that experienced the greatest growth over the past year in terms of the number of businesses offering them include on-site personal services, group purchasing discounts, personal/professional growth programs and stipends, and financial education/planning. More traditional work/life benefits such as child care, elder care and flextime also grew.

"Personal conveniences and development opportunities are very popular right now because they are mutually beneficial to companies and employees," added Sladek. "They enable employees to make the most of their time at work and at home, and they create an atmosphere of continuous learning and self-improvement. This ultimately results in higher morale and enhanced productivity."

Key findings include:

Child Care Assistance: Child care remains the most prevalent work/life program, with 91 percent of 

companies offering some kind of assistance to their employees. Dependent care spending accounts

(offered by 89 percent of employers) and resource/referral services (43 percent) are still the two most 

prevalent programs used. Sick/emergency child care programs are offered by 16 percent of employers.

Elder Care Programs: Nearly half of all organizations (49 percent) offer some form of elder care 

assistance. Resource/referral programs, offered by 34 percent of employers, are most common. 

Long-term care insurance is now offered by 20 percent.

Flexible Scheduling Arrangements: Seventy-three percent of businesses offer flexible work options. 

The most common arrangements offered are flextime (58 percent) and part-time employment (48 percent). 

Other popular programs include work at home options (29 percent), job sharing (28 percent), compressed 

workweeks (21 percent) and summer hours (12 percent).

Adoption Benefits: Nearly one-third (32 percent) of employers surveyed offer benefits to adoptive parents. 

Reimbursement levels vary from $1,000 to $10,000 per adoption. The average maximum reimbursement 

is $3,209.

Personal/Professional Growth: More than three-fourths (78 percent) of companies provide opportunities 

for personal and professional growth, including education reimbursement programs (77 percent). Other 

programs include on-site and off-site developmental seminars/workshops and career counseling.

Financial Security: Forty-one percent of employers offer programs to help employees make wise financial 

decisions and investments. The most typical are financial planning and scholarship programs.

Group Purchasing/Discounted Purchases: Thirty-nine percent of employers offer these types of programs, 

which can include everything from reduced-price entertainment and travel to insurance discounts. The most 

typical discounts are for group auto insurance (24 percent), and group homeowners insurance  (23 percent).

On-Site Personal Services: As greater numbers of employees struggle with time management issues, 

on-site personal services have become more prevalent. Today, 57 percent of organizations offer some type 

of on-site personal service. ATMs, banking services, travel services, and dry cleaners are some of the more 

frequently offered services.

Casual Dress: Nearly two-thirds of employers offer casual or business casual dress. Forty-three percent 

have full-time casual dress, and 15 percent have casual dress only on Fridays. Others may offer casual 

dress only during the summer or for special occasions.

The Hewitt work/life survey represents data from 1,020 major U.S. companies, including 85 percent of the Fortune 100 and 58 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. Copies of Work and Life Benefits Provided by Major U.S. Employers in 2000 are available for $100 from Hewitt Associates, 100 Half Day Road, Lincolnshire, Illinois 60069, (847) 295-5000 or e-mail specbook@hewitt.com.

Hewitt Associates LLC is a global management consulting and outsourcing firm specializing in human resource solutions. With 2000 revenues of nearly $1.3 billion, Hewitt is the largest employee benefits consulting firm in the U.S. and ranks among the 200 largest private companies. For more information, please visit the Hewitt Associates Web site at www.hewitt.com.

CONTACT: Hewitt Associates LLC

JoAnne Laffey, 847/442-7648, joanne.laffey@hewitt.com  (or)

Rebecca Hayne, 847/442-7655, rebecca.hayne@hewitt.com 

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