Insurance and pension schemes, an alternative effective employee benefits policy

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Retaining talent, attracting high potential, enhancing reputation as an employer, reducing turnover and absenteeism... these are all challenges for companies and their human resources departments. A well thought-out employee benefits programme is an essential lever for meeting these challenges. Among these benefits, insurance and pension plans are very effective if they are used properly. Explanations.
Variable pay, participation in soft mobility, actions to enhance the well-being of staff - the range of employee benefits is wide. In terms of insurance and pension plans, 4 solutions are available to companies that wish to improve their employees’ conditions.

1. Partial relief from social security charges

An initial simple and significant action by the employer is to bear the cost of all or part of the social charges, over the statutory minimum, by financing loss of earnings due to illness (PGM), accident insurance (LAA) and the supplementary insurance (CLAA) as well as the pension and disability plan (LPP). Without affecting gross salary, and adjusting the company's finances, the employee's net salary, and therefore purchasing power, are increased.

2. Participation in the group health insurance policy

By choosing a group health insurance policy, the company positions itself as a promoter of healthcare. It can thus offer its employees and family members the benefit of easy subscription to insurance cover "packages" at attractive rates. In addition to these benefits, the employer can also pay part of the premium.

3. The extension of accident cover (CLAA)

Among the extensions possible, there are two that can provide additional protection for employees:
  • Cover for private medical expenses: for a reasonable cost, it allows an employee to choose their private clinic and thus obtain an appointment and receive treatment (often!) more quickly... It also means returning to work sooner.
  • Cover of the LAA difference: this is to compensate for any reduction in benefits that may be applied by the LAA in the event of serious fault (e.g. forgetting to wear a seatbelt when in a car) or a reckless activity (e.g. off-piste skiing). The LAA would indemnify all benefits in kind such as treatment costs but may reduce financial benefits such as daily allowances or pensions. By including this discrepancy in cover, CLAA will offset the financial decrease.
Moreover, there is a system of reimbursement of benefits by the employer (SRPE), which makes it possible to self-finance and self-insure part of the benefits which are not reimbursed by the LAMal.

4. Additional remuneration and tax exemption by the LPP

Occupational pension plans offer a vast range of options for providing employees with improved cover for events such as disability or death, and a higher pension on their retirement. It also allows them to build up part of own funds for the purpose of purchasing their main home.
It is thus possible to set up a supplementary pension plan targeting certain categories of employees (executives, part-time employees, etc.) in order to improve their savings and disability/death cover.
The choice of pension fund is also a vital issue. HR departments must verify the performance of a number of criteria such as management, yield or conversion rate.
The employer may also contribute to financing early retirement.
If the employer contributes to financing the premium more than required under the statutory minimum, it can decide to create optional pension plans by offering employees the opportunity to increase their individual contributions. It thereby gives employees the opportunity to make up for pension shortfalls and increase their ability to buy back years. These buy backs will increase their savings and will be tax exempt.
Lastly, employees receiving high salaries (>CHF 129 K) can benefit from bespoke asset management by opening a 1e plan.
All these solutions are highly technical and must be adapted to the company's circumstances and HR policy. It is therefore highly recommended to seek the advice and expertise of a broker.


Client interview

We have set up a dedicated Caredesk for a new benefit available to multinational companies specialised in medical technologies. This benefit is special leave for family care. Its Vice President of Global Benefits & Total Reward Operations will present it to us. 

Can you explain the benefit “Family Care Leave” in place and the challenge you faced in the implementation?

Family Care Leave provides peace of mind for employees experiencing a wide range of family care needs – from bonding with a new child to caring for a terminally ill family member. It provides up to six weeks of time away from work at 100% pay – a leave benefit that exceeds other progressive employers.

Family Care Leave is now available to all employees in more than 70 countries around the world. Implementing Family Care Leave globally was an extremely complex project involving many countries and cultures; requiring analysis of country legislation, statutory benefits and local practices; and standing up service delivery with a new vendor partner. 

What kind of solution has been found for the worldwide implementation of the benefit?

We focused the solution on a few critical components, including a single technology platform, language capability, and overall employee experience*.
*Author's note: the Caredesk Swiss Risk & Care

What is your assessment? What feedback do you get from employees?

Family Care Leave is an innovative, market-leading leave approach that reflects the spirit of the Company Mission and demonstrates we are an organization that puts families first. We’ve heard from employees around the world – there is a sense of dedication, pride, and gratitude knowing that the company is there for employees when they need it most.  
Amina Belkhiria, Client Manager, supervised the deployment of the Caredesk and supervised client relations. She states: “The deployment of this Caredesk mobilised the business and IT teams of Swiss Risk & Care. It was a great challenge that showcased our agility and capacity to innovate. The service is now fully operational and can be easily adapted to other companies. 10 managers who speak 12 languages serve 60,000 employees worldwide on a daily basis.”
This article about the employee benefits was published in Insurance Inside n°24 - December 2021. 

 Setting up an employee benefits programme

Christian Oberson, Chairman of HR Geneva and human resources consultant, reminds us of the main points to know.
1. Define your needs: by reviewing together the analysis carried out with employees and the challenges facing company's HR (building loyalty, attracting the younger generation, compliance with CSR etc.), the HR department will be able to devise a programme that is in line with employees' expectations and an incentive. “Employee benefits should not be the icing on the cake of HR policy but fully part of it," says Christian Oberson. He added: “Neither are they medicines, i.e. intended as a remedy for internal dysfunctions.”

2. Knowing how to communicate on the benefit provided: it is important to explain the reasons for implementing the benefit and what the employer will be requesting in return. For example, in exchange for the introduction of teleworking, employees will be asked to be more flexible, easily reachable, etc.

3. Ensuring fairness among employees: In addition to being useful, a benefits programme should be relevant to all employees. Even though some benefits may be more relevant to certain categories, it is important that everyone feels they have been taken into consideration.

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