New generation of benefits to relieve a new generation of workplace stress – InsuranceNewsNet


AUSTIN, Texas — Younger generations of workers are reporting high levels of stress and need benefits to help them deal with their stressors.

That’s the word from two Medcom speakers who discussed next-generation benefits Monday at the National Association of Health Underwriters’ annual convention.

Derek Ashton is senior director of business development and Michelle Barki is senior legal counsel.

What is stressing these young workers? Millennials said the well-being of their families was their biggest stressor, while Gen Zers are uncertain about their jobs and career prospects.

The oldest members of Generation Z are entering the workforce while Millennials are moving into leadership positions and starting families. Ashton said workers of both generations told a Deloitte survey that they experience stress, with more than 41% of Millennials and 47% of Gen Z reporting feeling stressed all the time or most of the time. most of the time.

What is stressing these young workers? Millennials said the well-being of their families was their biggest stressor, while Gen Zers are uncertain about their jobs and career prospects.

Barki outlined three employer-funded benefits that could help young workers’ physical and financial well-being.

Lifestyle accounts were invented in Canada, she says. These accounts are funded with after-tax dollars and are designed to improve worker welfare while giving employers some control over where the money is spent. Accounts can be used to fund things like gym memberships or nutritional advice. “Lifestyle accounts are also supposed to provide the employer with some benefits by potentially reducing health costs for their employees,” Barki said.

Education aid is another benefit that can contribute to the financial well-being of workers, Barki said.

The CARES Act expanded Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code, allowing employers to reimburse tuition for workers who are currently studying as well as employees who have student loan debt.

Under section 127, she explained, an employer can provide a worker with up to $5,250 per year (maximum of $12,000 for four years). The funds are tax exempt for the worker and the employer does not pay their share of the FICA tax.

All current, terminated, retired and disabled employees are eligible for the benefit.

Section 139 Disaster Relief Programs can help workers when a disaster is declared, Barki explained. Employers can give their workers tax-free money under this IRC provision, and there is no limit to the amount of money employers can provide their workers.

Disaster relief funds can be used for personal, family, living, or funeral expenses, or expenses to repair a worker’s residence or its contents.

When the COVID-19 disaster emergency was declared in March 2020, Medcom employees were issued a debit card loaded with $500 to pay for expenses incurred for working from home, Barki said. Workers who volunteered to return to the office received an allowance. Disaster relief funds can also be used to help with child care expenses as well as rising food, fuel and utility costs, she said.

Susan Rupe is an editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She previously served as communications director for an association of insurance agents and was an award-winning journalist and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.

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Richard V. Johnson