Attracting and retaining the right talent is a challenge that most companies face. There is no one size fits all solution and every employer is looking to strike the right balance. With the rising costs of employee benefits stated as the top concern for Singaporean leaders, you’re not facing this challenge alone.
One of the key contributors to the high cost is employee health insurance. This is a line item that never goes down as premiums consistently go up year after year. Did you know? Regardless if your insurance plan was under or over-utilised, and therefore your budget per employee will increase as well. Since employees’ health is so critical, this means other perks will be compromised. While this can be less of a concern for larger MNCs, smaller SMEs will be hit harder and may not have the option to purchase affordable insurance to begin with. More companies are starting to opt out of insurance, as they are bundled as a costly plan for both inpatient and outpatient insurance.
Employee health benefits
a) Employee medical costs
Due to the high costs of employee health insurance, many SMEs opt out and pay out of pocket rates. As a basic requirement from the Ministry of Manpower, the employer is obligated to pay for the employee's medical consultation fees if it results in at least 1 day of paid sick leave, arising from a medical certificate. Any other additional costs would be determined by the HR policies of each organisation. However, by reimbursing employees’ health claims directly, this leaves HR with a pile of cumbersome paperwork and administrative tasks to manage.
b) Health and wellness benefits
Additional coverage on benefits for dental, vision, and wellness are often out of scope for SMEs due to the high costs. It is quite rare for a company to cover 100% of dental costs, so employees usually need to cover a certain percentage. However, discounts on gym memberships and dental services are not entirely out of reach for SMEs. Mednefits offers up to 30% off for dental, wellness, and even offers a fixed $13 rate for GP consultations. Bonus: employers can request to join for free.
c) Flexible spending accounts (FSA)
Flexi-benefits may not be exactly what they seem. An FSA, for example, can be $500 that employees can spend on what the HR policy determines. Sure, it gives employees more flexibility in choosing where to allocate their spending, but it can also drive more hassle to HR as they help employees navigate through the policies, guidelines, and differentiate between taxable and non-taxable benefits reporting.
Employee paid time off:
While 7 days of annual leave and 14 days of outpatient sick leave are the minimal requirements set by the Ministry of Manpower’s Employment Act, many employers give a minimum of 14 days paid annual leave. The Seedly blog has a great summary of all the different types of leave employees are entitled to.
Of course, some of the most rewarding benefits don’t necessarily come with a dollar sign. Instead, it’s about creating a culture that encourages strong work-life balance, supplemented with personal growth and trust.
a) Flexible working arrangements
By allowing more flexible arrangements not only demonstrates trust in your team, it also widens your talent pool to individuals who work outside of traditional 9-5 hours. The culture of face time does not lead to better results and causes burnout. Employees who are trusted have a greater sense of responsibility, which leads to higher levels of performance.
Arranging sessions dedicated to mentorship should not be seen as an afterthought. Mentors must also understand that learning and understanding comes from both ways. The mentor can learn a lot about how the daily pulse of an organisation from the mentee. Book some time off your calendar and schedule a coffee chat and consider starting a mentorship program in the workplace.
Mednefits is a free employee medical benefits platform that connects SMEs directly to health and wellness providers at lower costs. The platform works with any HR policy, any budget. Mednefits currently has over 550 providers located in Singapore and Malaysia. Request to join Mednefits for free.