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More human resource professionals plan to include proactive wellness programs in employee benefit packages within the next year, but traditional defined benefit retirement plans are becoming scarcer, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.
According to the survey released Monday at SHRM's annual meeting in Las Vegas, 68% of members' companies currently offer wellness programs, up from 66% in 2006 and 62% in 2005.
An increase in employers offering smoking cessation and weight loss programs also was noted. This year, 40% of employers are offering assistance to employees who want to kick the tobacco habit, up from 39% in 2006 and 34% in 2005. This year, 32% of employers are offering to help employees lose weight, up from 29% in 2006 and 25% in 2005.
While more employers are offering preventive health benefits, fewer employers are offering traditional defined benefit pension plans, the SHRM survey discovered.
Just 40% of HR professionals responding to the survey said their employers offered such plans this year, down from 48% in 2006 but up slightly from 39% in 2005. By comparison, 83% of respondents reported their companies offering a defined contribution plan this year, up from 81% in 2006 and 2005. Moreover, 74% of those professionals said their companies made a matching contribution to these retirement plans this year, about the same percentage as in 2006.
Automatic enrollment in defined contribution plans was offered by 32% of employers in the latest survey, an increase from 30% in 2006 and 2005.
Conducted since 1996, SHRM's annual survey culls information on the types of benefits employers offer and identifies year-to-year trends. In addition to health and pension benefits, information also is provided on housing, personal service, financial, travel and leave benefits.
This year's survey, conducted by an e-mail sent to randomly selected SHRM members, yielded 590 responses.
The complete study is available free of charge only to SHRM members at www.shrm.org/surveys.