Employee Benefits: All You Need to Know

Attracting and retaining top talent

Hiring the best talent is an excellent way to propel your company forward, but how do you make sure that you can recruit and keep that talent? While a good salary is a start, research shows that paying your employees more offers diminishing returns. Instead, consider offering a robust employee benefits package.

Many business owners are concerned about the high cost of benefits, which can quickly cut into profits. However, instead of viewing this as a loss, it’s better to consider your employee benefits plan as an investment.

Good employees know their worth, and offering them the right benefits will show them that you value their contributions. Providing a comprehensive and appealing set of benefits can make the difference in snagging an employee that would otherwise go with a competing, higher-paying offer.

By investing in employee benefits, you can reap the long-term rewards and prosperity of a specialized, loyal workforce. A quality benefits package will also ensure that you secure the best talent to help your business grow and thrive, especially during the vital formative years.

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Legislated Benefits

Under Canadian law, you don’t have to provide a comprehensive employee benefits package that offers health and dental insurance, or group life insurance. However, there are some mandatory benefits that you have a legal obligation to provide:

Employees also have the right to take maternity, parental, and compassionate care leave. The various provinces have different leave length requirements, which you need to take into account.

Pregnant employees are entitled to 55% of their average earnings to a maximum of $537 per week. They are also entitled to 17 weeks’ unpaid leave, and in Quebec, fathers can receive five consecutive weeks of paternity leave. Finally, both parents can take a parental leave of absence of 35 to 52 weeks each, as long as they’ve met the length of service requirement.

Compassionate care leave works similarly in that employees are entitled to eight weeks (16 in Quebec and Saskatchewan) unpaid leave if a close family member is at significant risk of death. Different provinces have different requirements and statutes for shorter leaves of absence. Be sure to go over your relevant Employment or Labour Standards Act to determine what the laws are in your province.

Canada has a complex set of tax rules and employment standards regulations that make keeping track of employee benefits tricky, especially since some are taxable and added to employee income while others aren’t.

It’s your responsibility as an employer to identify taxable employee benefits, determine their value, and make the appropriate payroll deductions. It’s a good idea to have a thorough read through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Employer’s Guide, which lays out taxable benefits and allowances for employees.

Top Benefits that Employees Want

According to a survey conducted by the Canadian Payroll Association in 2016, the five most common employee benefits offered in Canada were:

How does this square up with what employees want in their benefits package? According to a recent Glassdoor survey, many employees would prefer increased benefits over a pay rise. The benefits they valued the highest include:

However, it’s important to note that demographic changes can influence the most attractive benefits. Canada’s population is ageing, and so is the workforce. As the workforce ages, age-related benefits will become more appealing while company cars and training expenses will drop on the list.

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Employee Benefits Best Practices

Benefits aren’t cheap, and the costs can quickly ramp up to a third or more of your employees’ base pay. It’s vital to get the most out of these benefits, which includes developing a benefits package right for your workplace and avoiding common pitfalls that add to your expenses.

Avoid Costly Mistakes

Drawing up an employee benefits package is tricky, both legally and from an organizational perspective. Making a mistake can be costly, not only in financial terms but also in dealing with irate insurers or employees. By taking the time to plan your employee benefits package correctly, you can streamline your package and get the best possible value out of it.

Developing your Benefits Package

Developing your employee benefits package requires a lot of care and attention. By listening to your employees, you can come up with a cost-effective and powerfully motivating solution to everyone in the business.

Once you know what your employees want, shop around. There are plenty of insurers with plans for both small and large businesses, and it’s vital to do necessary research to find the right plan for your company.

Implementing a Benefits Package

If you’ve announced that you’re restructuring your employee benefits, you may find that many employees feel uncertain and worried. With many companies focused on cost-cutting, it’s reasonable for employees to assume the worst and that their benefits will be limited.

That’s why it’s vital to communicate with your employees during the development or redesign process. Let your employees know, via multiple channels, what benefits they qualify for and how they can claim them. The simpler the process, the easier the implementation and transition will be.

Get Professional Help with Group Enroll

Working out employee benefits can be extremely intimidating and time-consuming. As more insurers offer more flexibility, it’s easy to get lost in the complexity of choice and make the wrong decision.

As a business owner, you might not have the time or resources to work out an employee benefits package, deal with the legalities and legislation, and shop around for the best deal once you’ve settled on a list of benefits. You may also find that it’s incredibly difficult to assess the value of a particular plan, due to the sheer variety of options.

Instead of doing this on your own, consider working with a benefits broker. At Group Enroll, we offer a streamlined process that allows you to compare your options quickly. You can request a quote online for the group insurance benefits you want to provide. We’ll take a few minutes of your time to get an idea of your goals, after which we’ll get a quote from as many providers as possible.

Once we’ve received proposals from top Canadian providers, we’ll evaluate them to find the one that best meets your needs. You don’t have to sift through confusing sets of different deductibles and plans—we do all the hard work for you.

At Group Enroll, our service doesn’t end once we’ve helped you find the perfect employee benefits plan. We have a dedicated team that will help you with renewals, claims, and customer service queries. Instead of having to manage your benefits by yourself, you’ll always have a helping hand.

Whether you’re looking to offer group disability insurance, extended healthcare coverage, or a group retirement savings plan, we can find you the perfect solution. Fill out our free no-obligation form today and find out how easy it can be to manage your employee benefits.

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