The pandemic forced companies to re-look at the employee benefits they were offering. The policy that was once limited to x paid vacation days and employee health insurance have now expanded to include time off for mental health, support for childcare, life-time remuneration to the family of the employees who passed away due to COVID-19.
The employee healthcare benefits that were once active seem to be losing their essence in the COVID era. But the question that almost every HR is wondering is whether the changed employee healthcare benefits is temporary or should they look at making them permanent in their employee healthcare benefits post COVID world?
There’s one thing that we can say after talking to over 800+ of our partners – the employee healthcare plan businesses make today will stay there for the long term. The needs and expectations of employees from their Employee Value Proposition post COVID (EVP post COVID) have shifted on a permanent level.
In this article, we are going to investigate the many ways employee well being in the workplace are changing.
Impact of COVID-19 on Employee Benefits
A. Extended support for family
COVID-19 driven work from home module has made the need of extending the employee healthcare benefits to their family even more crucial to ensure their productivity at work. Between 2020 February and September alone the population of parents across the globe has increased to 1.2 million parents – several whom have been forced to leave their jobs to take care of their children (women more than men). Employers cannot afford this massive hit to workforce, meaning they will have to find family-inclusive answers to how to improve employee wellbeing.
This is the number one reason why businesses have started extending additional health benefits to the employees’ family members. Moreover, employers have also gotten more conscious towards the challenges employees face when taking care of the elderly. According to a HBR report, on a global scale, 83% of the adult employees have sought care options for their senior family members during the pandemic.
The situation which has developed now has made extended family support a key part of the employee wellbeing during covid-19.
B. Addition of mental wellness plans in the employee healthcare memberships
The impact of the pandemic on the employees’ mental health has been nothing less than astounding. The benefits alone cannot give ease to employees’ minds and mental well-being, meaning the organization-wide strategic employee healthcare priorities now need to change. There should be mental wellbeing plans in place to ensure that the employees are able to cope with external stresses.
Companies, across the nation are approaching their EVP during COVID in different ways. On one hand some businesses are offering paid leaves for employees feeling burnout, while others are bringing a cultural shift and introducing frequent team calls and virtual meet sessions.
A survey by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions highlighted that 53% of 256 interviewed employers provided special mental health support for their employees when the pandemic started.
One such brand was Starbucks that provided therapy benefits to its workers. The brand started a program which offers workers an access to 20 therapy sessions a year with a mental health provider at no cost to the employee. Such partnerships are poised to become a norm now when businesses will extend health benefits for employees post covid.
C. Reimbursements ranging from work-from-home setups to vaccinations.
The COVID era has been one of the most challenging ones for the working class. While on one hand the economy took a hit and fell on an all-time low, the unemployment rates peaked in ever seen before rates. In addition to employees losing their jobs there were several cases where the employee’s salary was deducted in half citing reasons like working from home or businesses not making profit.
With millions of employees weighing the burden of the financial downturn, the need for increased financial savings has become imperative in employee wellbeing initiatives.
Several employee-first companies have started offering greater reimbursements ranging from cost of setting up work from home and phone, internet charges to the cost of vaccination. These have, in turn, played a role in improving financial wellness among the employees.
D. Revolutionary change in how they get care.
In the wake of COVID-19, one in three employees have mentioned that they are willing to delay getting health checkup, even if it is covered under their group healthcare plan, till they feel it is safe to step out. To answer their concerns, companies are looking for ways to partner with doctors to get virtual care towards their employees – something that will find a place in the post pandemic employee healthcare as well.
A key point that businesses are noting is that the employees are demanding a host of healthcare and wellness benefits but at an affordable rate which doesn’t eat into their basic salaries.
As a way of promising that, businesses have started partnering with healthcare service providers who offer a range of different solutions at competitive rates, helping HRs prepare a post pandemic workplace. Healthcare service providers like Onsurity. At Onsurity, you can get a gamut of employee healthcare benefits ranging from multiple coverage options, discounted doctor consultations, medicine and medical tests, etc. For as low as Rs. 145 per month.
How Are Indian Companies Approaching Employee Healthcare During COVID-19?
Wipro The IT giant has said it will reimburse affected employees and family members if the COVID treatment cost exceed the amount of insurance cover. They are also offering fully funded COVID isolation centers in multiple cities.
The brand is offering Rs. 30 lacs insurance cover in addition to Rs. 7 lakh employees deposit linked insurance cover to the employees for COVID-19. In case one of their employees pass away due to COVID-19, HCL would provide families the full value of the cover in addition to employee’s one year salary.
The IT behemoth is covering COVID specific medical treatments to the employees under the group employee insurance. They have also set up an employee care center in their branches in Bengaluru and Pune. Moreover, Infosys is offering paid 21 days leaves to employees who have contacted COVID-19.
So here where the ways employee healthcare benefits are changing in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Although the perks like reimbursements for work from home setup or vaccination drives might be short-lived, the focus on employee healthcare beyond insurance will remain intact and continue to change the landscape of when we ask how to create healthy workplace post pandemic.
If you too are looking to elevate your employees’ healthcare and wellness experience, reach out to our customer success team and get a quote on the comprehensive membership and get the ball rolling on employee benefits in post-pandemic workplace.