Are Your Employee Benefits Enough?

By Krista DeKuyper | April 25, 2024 | Employee Benefits, Group Benefits

In an era where employee needs and expectations are changing rapidly, employers across Ontario and Canada are prompted to re-evaluate their employee benefits packages. Employee benefits play a major role in the workplace. The benefits you offer can dictate whether a candidate chooses your company, and even affect employee morale and turnover rates. In this article, we will explore outdated employee benefits, learn more about modern standards, and help you determine if you should upgrade your employee benefits.

Understanding Legal Requirements for Employee Benefits in Canada

In Canada, the legal landscape governing employee benefits is complex, shaped by both federal and provincial regulations that ensure basic entitlements are met. These are best known as mandatory employee benefits. For employers in Ontario and across the country, understanding these requirements is not just about compliance; it’s about creating a competitive and ethical workplace.

At a federal level, laws such as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) mandate contributions by both employers and employees to ensure retirement security. This will ensure that your employees can financially support themselves once they retire.

Additionally, there is the Employment Insurance Act. The Employment Insurance Act comes into play when an employee is let go through no fault of their own. Examples of circumstances where this would take place include work shortages or mass and/or seasonal layoffs. If the employee is able to work, but cannot find a job, they will apply to receive unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are funded through deductions on every employee paycheque, and are partially paid by the employer, employee, and the government.

In Ontario, the Employment Standards Act (ESA) outlines the minimum standards for things like vacation pay and public holidays, which are critical components of any benefits package.

Although these are the only benefits that are mandatory, that doesn’t mean your insurance should stop there. For many jobseekers, mandatory employee benefits are considered a bare minimum. This is why many employers will provide non-mandatory benefits to their employees. These additional benefits can help employers attract and retain top talent while beating out their competitors.

When to consider upgrading Your Benefits Package

robust employee benefits packages attracts new talent

If you only provide mandatory benefits to your employees, upgrading your benefits plan is crucial. As we mentioned previously, jobseekers tend to expect a benefits plan that provides various non-mandatory benefits, in addition to mandatory benefits. If you do provide employee benefits that extend beyond mandatory benefits, there’s still a few ways you can figure out when to adjust your benefits plan.

Employee feedback can serve as a primary indicator. If surveys, exit interviews, or regular feedback sessions show dissatisfaction with the current benefits package, it’s a clear sign that adjustments may be necessary. When employees don’t feel their needs are being met, they can become less engaged in work. In the long run, an enhanced employee benefit package can help increase productivity in the workplace, and decrease turnover rates.

Next, consider monitoring industry trends. Inform yourself on the employee benefits other companies in the same region and industry offer. In doing so, you can ensure that your employee benefits package remains competitive. If competitors begin offering enhanced parental leaves, wellness programs, or more flexible working conditions, consider doing the same. Improving your employee benefits will be imperative in preventing talent from moving to companies with better employee benefits packages.

Organizational changes such as mergers, acquisitions, or significant shifts in workforce demographics can necessitate a review of the employee benefits. A younger workforce might value career development opportunities and work-life balance more highly than traditional health benefits, prompting a realignment of the benefits strategy to suit these preferences.

Filling the Gaps: How To Change Your Employee Benefits Plan

If you’ve found any major gaps in your benefits package, it’s time to upgrade your employee benefits plan.

Once you have pinpointed the gaps, research the solutions that align with your business objectives and employee needs. This might involve adding mental health support programs, enhancing maternal/paternal leave policies, or integrating flexible working options. Balance employee desires with the financial feasibility and sustainability of the employee benefits plan.

HealthQuotes has a Quick Quotes tool that gives users the ability to quickly compare multiple insurance plan options. You will be asked to customize your insurance preferences to help compile plans and quotes that accommodate your specific needs. Quick Quotes provides free online quotes, but you can also connect personally with a HealthQuotes insurance broker to learn more.

Before you implement the changes, create a detailed action and communication plan. This plan should explain timelines, responsible parties, and the additional employee benefits. If there were any benefits that were part of the previous benefits plan, but not the current benefits plan, you need to make employees aware of it. This communication strategy will ensure everyone understands what changes are coming and how it will affect their employment terms.

Legal compliance is also critical; always verify that your updated benefits plan adheres to all Ontario and federal regulatory requirements.

Conclusion: Understanding When To Upgrade Your Employee Benefits

Employee Benefits have become one of the most crucial considerations for jobseekers. Set your business up for success with an employee benefits package that stands out from the crowd. With the addition of various non-mandatory benefits, you can ensure employee satisfaction while keeping jobseekers eager to work with you. Ultimately, the right employee benefits package can enhance work productivity and employee loyalty. For these reasons, maintaining fulfilling employee benefits should not be overlooked.