Non-Traditional Voluntary Benefits Gain Traction in the Workplace

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More Robust Offerings Include Programs to Help Build Digital Inclusion

Employees are increasingly realizing that the workplace offers a convenient and cost-effective opportunity to purchase 'every day' benefits that influence their lives and as well as those of their families on an ongoing basis

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As today's employers continue to look for ways to retain and recruit a talented workforce, many are turning to the voluntary workplace as a platform for novel benefits outside the standard offerings of life and disability insurance.

"Employees are increasingly realizing that the workplace offers a convenient and cost-effective opportunity to purchase 'every day' benefits that influence their lives and as well as those of their families on an ongoing basis," said George F. Conmy, executive vice president of Purchasing Power. "In addition to traditional insurance protection products, employees are showing a strong interest in having access to more finance-, investment- and advisory-related offerings."

According to a new MetLife study, roughly one-third (34%) of all employees would like their employers to offer more voluntary benefits to purchase and pay for on their own.i And, even though companies continue to seek ways to cut benefit costs, employers seem committed to offer a range of voluntary benefits. A new spotlight report from Eastbridge Consulting shows an increase since 2002 in the number of employees with access to voluntary benefits. Seventy percent of employees (in businesses with at least 10 employees) are now offered these types of benefits at the worksite.

Creative benefits that not only boost employee morale, but also increase productivity are gaining traction in the workplace. "It can be as simple as turning computer access at home into a voluntary benefit. As companies rely more heavily on a mobile and flexible workforce, this type of benefit helps build digital inclusion, bridging the Digital Divide that still exists in society. By giving workers access to a life-enhancing tool - the computer - companies keep employees connected and stay competitive in today's information-based economy."

Forty percent of American households are on the wrong side of the Digital Dividei: 20 percent do not own a computer and another 20 percent have severely outdated technology. And, most consumers earning less than $40,000 a year do not have the cash or credit to purchase a computer.

Purchasing Power, an Atlanta-based full-service provider of voluntary employee purchase programs, provides workers with convenient and affordable ways to purchase quality, name-brand personal computer bundles as well as related products and services from leading manufacturers such as Dell, Gateway and Lenovo. Employees can take advantage of either payroll deductions or cash discounts. Purchasing Power helps employees manage the cost of acquiring advanced technology bundles that include three-year manufacturer warranties and everything workers need to be fully functional at home.

Nearly 4 percent of approximately 1,000 companies surveyed in 2004 by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources services company, provided a computer-purchase program to employees, up from only a handful three years earlier.i These programs not only help companies improve computer literacy across the entire workforce, but also support the ongoing move to make more HR activities available to workers online.    

"Without such programs, some individuals and families might not ever have the opportunity to prepare themselves for the future," Conmey said. "Today's compensation plans should benefit employees and make a positive difference in their daily lives. On the other hand, providing benefits shouldn't be a burden to employers either."

About Purchasing Power    
Purchasing Power is the only company that offers combined payroll deduction, automatic qualification and no interest financing for its employee computer purchasing program.

Purchasing Power, an Atlanta-based full-service provider of voluntary employee purchase programs, has more than 20 years of industry experience and an established reputation for offering unique voluntary employee benefit programs. The firm is licensed in all 50 states as a reseller of personal computers and various peripherals and accessories, maintaining relationships with the major manufacturers, as well as several resellers, distributors and other suppliers. For more information, visit http://www.purchasingpower.com.

i. 2005/2006 MetLife Study of Employee Benefit Trends
ii. 2007 The Worksite MarketVision - The Employer Viewpoint Revisited
iii. BLR.com, Business & Legal Reports, Best Practices in Compensation & Benefits, May 2005, Issue 705
iv. Wall Street Journal, "Another Way to Buy Your Computer," December 28, 200

Media Contact:
Juliann Kaiser
The Content Factor
(770) 457-2489 x. 225
jkaiser @ contentfactor.com

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