By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
More than twice as many companies are offering workplace financial wellness programs in 2019 compared to four years ago (53 percent vs. 24 percent in 2015), according to Bank of America’s 2019 Workplace Benefits Report. However, the report found that awareness and understanding of critical health care savings and caregiving support benefits are lacking.
The survey of 996 employers and 804 employees found:
- Majority of employees feel financially well: In 2019, 55 percent of employees rate their own financial wellness as good or excellent, down from 61 percent last year. Employees who rate their financial wellness positively are more likely to feel that they can effectively manage their day-to-day finances, pay bills while saving for future goals, and that their retirement savings are on track.
- Women lag men in retirement savings: Women have saved far less for retirement, reporting median retirement savings of $30,000, compared to $100,000 for men. This may be contributing to the fact that only 43 percent of women report feeling financially well, compared to 65 percent of men, Bank of America found.
- Impact of caregiving on the workplace: 45 percent of employees perform caregiving duties for a family member, a number significantly underestimated by employers. In fact, 62 percent of caregiver employees do not believe their employer knows they are a caregiver. Caregivers report missing an average of 12 hours of work per month due to caregiving responsibilities.
- Caregiving benefit disconnect: While 88 percent of employers offer some type of caregiving resources, 71 percent of employees are unaware of these offerings, and just 34 percent of caregiver employees have taken advantage of employer resources.
- Personal advice continues to be a top priority: Employees rank advice from a professional as their top priority for a financial wellness program, followed by information on financial topics beyond 401(k) education, and the availability of financial solutions and services to help with their entire financial lives.
“When employees live their best financial lives, it shows in the workplace,” said Lorna Sabbia, head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions at Bank of America. “While we should celebrate the increasing prevalence of financial wellness programs, more can be done to drive discussion and engagement about benefits that support employees’ complex financial journeys, including caregiving duties, rising health care costs, and funding longer lives.”
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