Discounts for fitness centers tops employees’ favorite wellness perks, according to the Principal Financial Well-Being Index. One quarter of respondents picked gym discounts as the most valuable perk, followed by on-site preventive screenings (22 percent), access to nutritionists (21 percent) and on-site fitness facilities (19 percent). However, gym discounts figure as the third most popular wellness perk offered by employers, preceded by online wellness information (19 percent) and educational tools (18 percent), and tied with printed wellness information (17 percent).
MOVE TO WORK
Many employers are willing to shell out cash to help new hires relocate, according to a new report by CareerBuilder. Among companies polled, 32 percent of employers said they’d be willing to pay to relocate new employees, while 44 percent of workers said they’d be willing to relocate for a job opportunity. Companies in the engineering and technology fields were the most likely to say they’d cover moving expenses for new hires, the report said.
The Obama administration has proposed a compromise to quell the backlash about a new women’s health services requirement from a number of religiously affiliated organizations. President Barack Obama announced that religiously affiliated universities and hospitals would not be forced to cover contraceptives for their workers. However, insurance carriers would be required to provide complete coverage for birth control at no charge for any woman at those institutions. This rule, which still excludes women employed by churches, will take effect for employers on Aug. 1. Religiously affiliated groups will have an additional year before the rule affects them.
IN THE CARDS
Prepaid credit cards and gift cards are among the most popular incentives doled out by companies, according to a new survey. Young America Corp.’s survey of 355 executives found that 46 percent use prepaid cards for their rewards programs, compared with 33 percent who use cash and 47 percent that cut company checks.
A new law that expands the California Insurance Equality Act may have an impact outside the state. The previous law barred insurance carriers from issuing policies that treat spouses and “registered domestic partners” differently, according to a press release by Corporate Synergies. However, the new law clarifies that an insurance policy cannot discriminate against domestic partners (including same-sex partners) of California-based companies, even if the employees don’t work in the state. The law also applies to employees who work in the state for companies headquartered elsewhere. Experts suggest employers review their policies but seek professional advice before making any moves regarding their plans.
INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
The IRS recently issued guidance clarifying whether patients who use Indian Health Services (IHS) facilities can also contribute to a health savings account (HSA). The IRS states that individuals who are eligible for IHS services can make tax-free contributions to an HSA as long as they have not used IHS services in the previous three months.
About 22 percent of U.S. employers offered supplemental health coverage for retirees in 2011, down slightly from nearly 23 percent in 2006, according to a report by Compdata. On average, employees had to work for 12 years under their employer to be eligible and had to pay about 65 percent of the premium.
The average starting salary for new college graduates with bachelor’s degrees was $41,701, up 2.3 percent compared with the class of 2010, according to a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Graduates in the engineering and computer science fields fared the best in overall starting salaries, with computer science graduates enjoying the largest overall increase, the report said.
The IRS has changed the vehicle value calculation for employers that own fleet vehicles. The maximum vehicle values for 2012 include:
- Cars (for which cents-per-mile valuation rule is applied): $15,900 — up from $15,300 in 2011.
- Trucks or vans (for which cents-per-mile valuation rule is applied): $16,700 — up from $16,200 in 2011.
- Cars (for which fleet valuation rule is applied): $21,100 — up from $20,300 in 2011.
- Trucks or vans (for which fleet valuation rule is applied): $21,900 – up from $21,200 in 2011.