On workers’ wish list: More time off and flexibility

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Dec. 18, 2019) — More than any other perk, workers want generous paid time off from their employers. This, according to a recent online poll of the most popular non-insurance benefits among 1,512 U.S. working adults conducted by employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE: UNM). 

These are the top 16 non-insurance benefits for U.S. workers.
1. Generous paid time off (40%)
2. Flexible/ remote working options (30%)
3. Paid family leave (22%)
4. Gym memberships (21%)
5. Fitness/healthy lifestyle incentives (17%)
6. Student loan repayment benefits (14%)
7. Financial planning resources (14%)
8. Professional development (13%)
9. Onsite healthy food options (12%)
10. Sabbatical leave (11%)
11. ID theft protection (11%)
12. Employee Assistance Program (11%)
13. Pet friendly offices (9%)
14. Public transit assistance (8%)
15. Personalized health coaching (7%)
16. Dedicated volunteer hours (5%)

Time off is most important to older workers.
- Nearly half (49%) of Baby Boomers rank this as the top benefit they want.
- Gen Xers and Millennials also want time off, with 41% and 37% of them respectively ranking it as the No. 1 perk.
- Most U.S. workers in their second year get 10 days off, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most European workers get 20 days off.  

Younger workers want help with student loans.
- The youngest generation of workers - Gen Z - want student loan repayment help more than anything else. 
- Millennials rank student loan repayment as their second most important benefit. 
- Only 8% of companies offer student loan repayment benefits, according to SHRM’s 2019 Employee Benefits Survey. 
- Unum launched a Student Debt Relief Program that allows employees to trade up to five days of paid time off for a payment against student debt. The program, which is managed by   Fidelity Investments, is also available for parents who have educational loans for their children. 

Workers worry about money.
- Half (50%) of workers have experienced stress or anxiety about their finances in the past year.  
- These numbers are even higher among Gen Z (76%) and Millennials (62%).
- Even 35% of those with a household income of more than $150,000 have felt financial anxiety.

Beef up your benefits.
When considering a full benefits package, including common insurance, retirement and non-traditional benefits, 41% of workers said they’re likely to look for a new job with better benefits. This number is even higher among Millennials (57%) and Gen Zers (65%).

“With today’s unemployment rate hitting a low of 3.6%, benefits matter,” said Rob Hecker, vice president of HR Global Total Rewards at Unum. “If workers aren’t getting what they want from their employer, they’ll look for better benefits elsewhere.”

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For the purpose of this study, work perks are defined as non-insurance or non-retirement benefits. In an August 2019 online poll, consumers were asked to select up to three of their most-desired work non-insurance benefits among the top 16 listed above. Generations defined as Gen Z, ages 18-22; Millennials, ages 23-38; Gen X, ages 39-54; and Boomers, ages 55-73.  


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About Unum Group

Unum Group (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for 175 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2022, Unum reported revenues of about $12 billion and paid $8 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®. 

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