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Revisiting your Benefits Plan Philosophy

Updated: May 1, 2019

In speaking with clients in Alberta and beyond, it seems that some companies are thriving in these challenging economic times, while others are having to make tough decisions with respect to staff and benefits.

Change is constant and ensuring that your benefits philosophy reflects your organization’s current situation can ensure that your compensation and workforce strategies are aligned.

There are many dimensions that shape an organization’s benefits philosophy, but these are a few elements that may come to the forefront:

Cost Sharing

Long- and Short-term Disability premiums are predominantly employee-paid so that any benefits received from these programs would be tax-free.

However, it may make sense to have employees share in the cost of other benefits as well. For example, Life Insurance, Dependent Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment are taxable benefit premiums. If employees pay for the cost of those premiums, your payroll systems can be simplified and the onus on the employer reduced.

Most insurers stipulate that plan sponsors pay at least 50% of total premiums.


With up to five generations in the workplace today, one-size-fits-all benefits plans can be hard to design as individuals at different ages and stages of life can have very different needs.

Flexibility can be added to your benefits in a variety of ways – from a simple Health Spending Account to a modular flex programs. With as few as three employees, benefits can be personalized depending on individual needs.


Like it or not, organizations in the same or similar industries are competing for the same talent or group of employees. How an organization allocates its total budget for total compensation should reflect the needs of its target employees in order to drive engagement.

Deciding whether your organization should be in a leadership or competitive position relative to similar organizations is an important factor in shaping your benefits plan design.

Class-based or Flat Benefits Structure

Do all individuals in your organization qualify for the same benefits? Certain companies reward tenure, role within the organization, or provide different benefit amounts based on single, couple or family status.

Designing a class-based benefits program can help support your organization’s talent acquisition and retention strategy.

Is it time to revisit your benefits philosophy?

We would love to help you ensure that your plan design is aligned with your current situation and workforce goals. Contact us today!


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