Childcare vouchers, health insurance and life cover are the most popular rewards for employees according to PMI Health Group’s 2014 Employee Benefits Index.

In contrast, the research found that contributory pension schemes are decreasing in value and priority for employees.

PMI Health Group director, Mike Blake, said:

“Although a new government Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme is being introduced in October, there’s clearly been growing appreciation of the role childcare vouchers can play in helping working parents.

“The rise in popularity of health insurance may reflect the intense media scrutiny of NHS waiting lists and increasing restrictions on treatments. Life insurance has always been a valued benefit but auto-enrolment may have led to greater awareness, with more employees entering into schemes as part of their pension provision.”

The popularity of childcare vouchers has increased the most, with 11 percent of respondents ranking them as their most valued benefit, rising from eight percent in 2014 and six percent in 2013.

Private medical insurance (PMI) was rated as the best reward by 12 percent of surveyed employees, an increase of 1 percent from last year. 13 percent felt life insurance was the most important, up from 12 percent last year.

Although contributory pension schemes remained the most popular benefit, only 28 percent of workers ranked them top in 2015, dropping from 31 percent in 2014.

Blake added:

“With pension provision becoming a mandatory entitlement through auto-enrolment, the status of schemes as an employee benefit may be declining.”

Counselling and EAP benefits have doubled in importance for employees in the last 12 months, rising from two to four percent. This is reportedly due to a reduction in stigma about mental health. Further research from the PMI Health Group earlier this year revealed that more than 50 percent of businesses now regularly engage with staff regarding mental health and wellbeing.

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