Millennials have driven work life benefit trends in recent years, putting social events, ping pong tables and flexible working hours as a top priority for attracting new employees. However, one very practical work benefit is beginning to top the chart of requests, and the effects of this particular benefit impact roughly 44 million Americans.
What is this particular work benefit that is in such high demand?
Student loan debt relief.
According to CNBC
, the average student borrower graduates with $37,212 in student loan debt
, which only increases in amount each year. As a result, employers are offering student loan debt relief as a way to entice new employees, especially those that are younger. After all, student loan debt is now to blame for the fact that millennials are waiting longer to get married, buy homes and invest in their own retirement.
One company is taking it so far as allowing employees to trade in their paid time off for student debt relief. Unum Group, an insurance company, is offering money toward student loans in exchange for five days of paid vacation. Bloomberg
reports that each day is worth an employee’s hourly rate for an eight-hour day, and Unum estimates that the average amount earned will be roughly $1,200 per year. What’s more, the benefit applies to employees who have taken out student loans to pay for their children’s education.
Other companies have jumped on board to offer this new benefit, and they’re some of the biggest companies in the country. Furthermore, many of these policies extend from full-time to part-time employees, according to Forbes
. Employees at Fidelity and Aetna can earn up to $2,000 a year toward student loans. Penguin and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) both offer up to $1,200 per year. Taking a somewhat different approach, LiveNation gives employees $100 a month toward student loan payments for up to $6,000 total.
If student loan relief is a benefit that you’re interested in, ask about whether or not it’s offered at your current place of employment as well as during salary negotiations if you plan to find a new job. Smaller companies may be able to offer the benefit on a case-by-case basis whereas large corporations can change their benefit policies if there is enough interest or push from current and prospective employees.
There is no doubt that student loan relief will be at the forefront of desired work benefits amidst salary negotiations
, especially given how many employees face student loan repayment. Before long, it may be as common as health care coverage or paid time off.