Survey: Employee benefits changing with economy

A new survey shows that some employers have had to change the benefits they offer their employees in order to deal with the difficult economy.

The poll, conducted by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, shows that 26 percent of employers surveyed have had their employees dip into their personal finances for their benefits. Another 12 percent have offered voluntary, employee-paid benefits options.

“Today’s economy is forcing employers to make tough decisions regarding their benefits plans,” Tom Gilligan, senior vice president for Colonial Life, said.

Though some employees may have needed to up their contributions to their benefit plans, at least they still have them. Of employers surveyed, 12 percent have cancelled employee benefits, and almost 42 percent are considering changing benefits packages in the next 12 months.

Another survey commissioned by Charles Schwab and conducted by CFO Research Services showed that about one-quarter of employers have stopped, or have considered stopping, giving money to their employees’ 401(k) retirement plans.