Employee Health and Safety: Why Now is The Time to Invest in Hourly Employee Benefits

Aug 28, 2020
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At the heart of any business is the employee. The person showing up for work each day, putting in their time and energy to accomplish the task at hand. No matter if they’re a salaried or hourly employee, making sure they’re taken care of should be a top priority since their level of productivity affects a business’ bottom line. One of the best ways to support them is by providing them with an employee benefits program. 

We’re familiar with the benefits offered to salaried employees, but the wellbeing of hourly employees shouldn’t be overlooked. They make up a large portion of the economy. In 2019 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 82.3 million workers make hourly rates, representing 58.1 percent of the entire US Workforce. These hourly employees should have more options than ACA Marketplace or individual coverage (which can be expensive). Most importantly, these benefit plans should include a healthcare plan that is not only affordable, but offers great coverage. 

An expert in the field of business operations indicates that 60-70 percent of the American workforce has daily concerns of financial and health wellbeing, resulting in a 20 percent drop in productivity. The global pandemic has raised these fears even higher. Here are three reasons why now is the right time to invest in a benefits program for your hourly employees:

1. Physical Health

By investing in a healthcare plan, you’re providing your hourly employee with basic care and easing the burden of initial costs when they get sick or injured. Being responsible for a copay versus having to pay the entire expense at the time of care makes a huge difference financially. Plus, almost every plan covers preventative care 100 percent. Preventative care means you’re contributing to their long term health and includes yearly examinations that are intended to detect health issues before symptoms arise. By allowing them access to continuously monitor health conditions, it increases their likelihood of staying healthy and taking less sick days from work. 

Some plans even include access to telehealth which, during the time of the pandemic, has the additional benefit of the employee receiving treatment and information without having to enter a facility and prevent increased risk of exposure. In many companies, employee testing for COVID-19 happens regularly, and not all screenings are free. These costs can add up and health insurance can help. 

Wellness benefits have the added benefit of helping the company as well. Constantly having to cover shifts for sick employees is a logistical nightmare. If a worker comes in to work sick, they increase the chances of passing their illness on to healthy workers, further diminishing productivity. As a business, you strive to have your hourly workers healthy and happy. Their physical health directly correlates to a productive day on the job. In a manufacturing warehouse for instance, a full team is more likely to produce a higher number of products, in turn generating a higher profit than one that is short-staffed. Healthy hourly employees are a win-win.  

2. Mental Health

The mental health of an hourly worker directly affects their job performance. Triggers from certain feelings of anxiety or depression can stem from a number of external factors from their life outside the workplace including spouse, kids, mortgage or debt. Then there are the actual stressors of the job itself such as performance levels, relationships with coworkers and upper management, growth plan and pay. The global pandemic has added another layer of anxiety due to businesses having to cut hours, furlough and even worse, shut their doors permanently.

A business that offers a benefits program for its hourly employees is investing in them. This communicates value. And a person who feels valued, feels a sense of security. They have the peace of mind that their employer cares about their wellbeing and this alleviates some of the internal angst caused by all of these factors out of their control. An hourly worker with a clear mind is able to focus on the task at hand and be more productive.

3. Financial Health

Financial hardships can cause hourly workers to worry which increases the chances of them carrying these concerns into the workplace and results in lower productivity. Providing hourly employees access to a retirement program is another way to address the long term finances of these workers. It’s a benefit that conveys value and support. By moving from government-only funded programs and pensions to personal retirement accounts, the power is now in the worker’s hands versus having to rely on another entity. 

Employees face financial strains daily from routine childcare and prescription medication to unexpected doctors’ visits and time off. Additional benefits that support some of these expenses, like Health FSAs, Dependent FSAs and paid leave, not only help employees save money, but support their need to take care of themselves and their loved ones.  

During the stressful days of COVID-19, offering benefits can ease employees’ financial concerns and reduce some of their anxieties. Less worry can mean better focus on the job. 

A by-product of all of this is employee retention, which is important to the overall success of a company. Employee turnover can not only negatively affect workplace morale (think frustration over covering extra shifts from coworkers constantly quitting), but it eats away at the company’s bottom line. It can be expensive. A study by the Center for American Progress shows it can cost the company much as 16 percent of an hourly employee’s annual pay. An employee who believes their health and safety are a priority feels valued. These investments in hourly employees convey appreciation, one of the main reasons workers will stay at a job. 

Physical, mental, and financial health can each affect job performance and productivity. The best way to ensure maximum productivity is to keep your hourly employees healthy, happy and safe by providing them with a benefits plan that includes health insurance that is customized to their specific needs. It’s important that they understand their benefits and that they’re taken care of if something happens.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help. Creating and managing employee benefits is our specialty. We’ll make finding the right coverage for your hourly employees cost-effective and easy.