Employee Benefits

Quick Guide: 2019 Emerging Employee Benefits Trends You Need to Know

Our first look at 2019 employee benefits trends doesn’t highlight any trendy perks but showcasing the deepening need to appeal to the changing workforce and support a family culture at work.

Voluntary Benefits

We’ve been talking voluntary benefits for many years, and it continues to be a top consideration for both potential and current employees. Your company is being judged on more than just health care insurance. Think outside the box when it comes to benefits.

Talk to an expert broker, like Austin Benefits Group, about both traditional and non-traditional benefits you can offer on an optional basis to your employees. A broker can make recommendations based on your industry, budget, and goals. We also recommend surveying your employees to gauge their interest in new benefits options.

Read More: Voluntary Benefits Guidebook for Employers

Student Loan Assistance

With Millennials and Gen Z on their way to taking over the workforce, businesses should consider if their benefits are attractive to these generations. Most people in this age range may be struggling with an existing or future student loan debt.

There are several ways employers can assist with student loans such as:

  • Undergraduate education assistance

  • Graduate education assistance

  • 529 plan payroll deduction

  • Educational scholarships for employees’ families

  • Employer-provided student loan repayment

  • Employer contribution or match for 529 plan

Consider that supporting employees’ education can be a direct benefit to your company. Assisting employees’ family members is less direct to your company, but can have a significant effect on your employees’ outlook of your benefits package as it relates to family-friendly benefits.


Sick leave: While cutting sick leave, or not offering it altogether, may seem like a straightforward way to cut costs in the short-term it can have a significant effect on productivity and employee health. According to a 2018 Survey by SHRM, employees without sick leave were three times more likely to delay seeking medical care and three times more likely to not receive necessary treatment at all. Keep in mind that the effects of a single employee not receiving adequate medical care and time to recuperate may suffer individually in health and productivity but can also risk the health of employees around them.

paid time off by employee type

Flexible Holidays: Paid holidays are a standard in more workplaces that have PTO policies, but it may be a policy that assumes too much about your employees. With the recent focus on diversity and inclusion at work, consider offering a wholly or partially flexible holiday schedule. Employees can choose which holidays they’d like to recognize, supporting their values and families.

Connected, Collaborative Workspace

Think Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s Siri. Our personal lives are more connected via technology than ever and it will continue to be demanded in the workplace.

First steps for businesses is ensuring that all employees have the technology to do their work in the most efficient and stress-free manner. According to a recent study by Ultimate Software & the Center for Generation Kinetics, 92% for employees say, “having the technology necessary to do their job efficiently affects their satisfaction at work.” The short-term budgetary impact will be far outweighed by the opportunity for your business to operate optimally.

Employees are looking for technology solutions from their job duties, training, benefits, wellness and beyond. The opportunities already exist to create a more connected and efficient workplace.

HRIS systems, payroll, and benefits platforms are getting smarter. While it’s important to provide these tools, the experience for executives, HR, and employees is important to continued use and growth. HR and benefits technology that integrates provides you with a more customized and seamless experience.

In the future, look to smart analysis of your company such as work apps that may recognize praise or issues and be able to create reports. What about a smart meeting room that can pick up on stress, provide translation, create notifications, etc., enabling you to control your business at new levels.

Family-First Benefits

Paid Parental Leave: Leave for parents has remained one of the most-talked-about benefits in 2018, and we do not expect that to change going into 2019. Businesses can take a variety of steps to improve their parental leave options.

  • extend paid leave timeframe

  • offer additional unpaid time off (with job security)

  • offer flexible return to work transition options

  • offer equal parental leave benefits to men and women

  • offer the same parental leave benefits for birth and adoption

Long-term Care: Family-friendly benefits tend to focus on the needs of parents with children, but many working adults are also facing the challenges of becoming caregivers for their parents and grandparents.

According to the U.S. Census, Americans over the age of 85 will hit 8.5 million in the year 2030, when Millennials will reach peak caregiving age. Employers can expect true family-friendly workplaces to consider the many facets of family and caregiving for all age groups in their employment.

The challenges of caregiving for elderly family members can be brought on suddenly and can last for years. Preparing your supervisors and policies now can put your company in a better place to meet this need as it becomes a larger concern in the future.

Are you ready for employee benefits in 2019? Check out even more advice in our Resource Center or request a consultation today.

Cathy Siska COO

Cathy Siska
Chief Operating Officer

2024-04-17T12:57:10-04:00 Employee Benefits|