On workers’ wish list: More time off and flexibility

Half of workers stressed about money

Workers want more time off and flexibility. These findings and more are included in this infographic, which breaks down the top non-insurance benefits for U.S. workers across all generations, according to new research from Unum. (Photo: Business Wire)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.--()--More than any other perk, workers want generous paid time off and flexibility from their employers. This, according to a recent online poll of the most popular non-insurance benefits among 1,512 U.S. working adults conducted by employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE: UNM).

These are the top 16 non-insurance benefits for U.S. workers.

  1. Generous paid time off (40%)
  2. Flexible/ remote working options (30%)
  3. Paid family leave (22%)
  4. Gym memberships (21%)
  5. Fitness/healthy lifestyle incentives (17%)
  6. Student loan repayment benefits (14%)
  7. Financial planning resources (14%)
  8. Professional development (13%)
  9. Onsite healthy food options (12%)
  10. Sabbatical leave (11%)
  11. ID theft protection (11%)
  12. Employee Assistance Program (11%)
  13. Pet friendly offices (9%)
  14. Public transit assistance (8%)
  15. Personalized health coaching (7%)
  16. Dedicated volunteer hours (5%)

Time off is most important to older workers.

- Nearly half (49%) of Baby Boomers rank this as the top benefit they want.

- Gen Xers and Millennials also want time off, with 41% and 37% of them respectively ranking it as the No. 1 perk.

- Most U.S. workers in their second year get 10 days off, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most European workers get 20 days off.

Younger workers want help with student loans.

- The youngest generation of workers - Gen Z - want student loan repayment help more than anything else.

- Millennials rank student loan repayment as their second most important benefit.

- Only 8% of companies offer student loan repayment benefits, according to SHRM’s 2019 Employee Benefits Survey.

- Unum launched a Student Debt Relief Program that allows employees to trade up to five days of paid time off for a payment against student debt. The program, which is managed by Fidelity Investments, is also available for parents who have educational loans for their children.

Workers worry about money.

- Half (50%) of workers have experienced stress or anxiety about their finances in the past year.

- These numbers are even higher among Gen Z (76%) and Millennials (62%).

- Even 35% of those with a household income of more than $150,000 have felt financial anxiety.

Beef up your benefits.

When considering a full benefits package, including common insurance, retirement and non-traditional benefits, 41% of workers said they’re likely to look for a new job with better benefits. This number is even higher among Millennials (57%) and Gen Zers (65%).

“With today’s unemployment rate hitting a low of 3.6%, benefits matter,” said Rob Hecker, vice president of HR Global Total Rewards at Unum. “If workers aren’t getting what they want from their employer, they’ll look for better benefits elsewhere.”


For the purpose of this study, work perks are defined as non-insurance or non-retirement benefits. In an August 2019 online poll, consumers were asked to select up to three of their most-desired work non-insurance benefits among the top 16 listed above. Generations defined as Gen Z, ages 18-22; Millennials, ages 23-38; Gen X, ages 39-54; and Boomers, ages 55-73.

About Unum

Unum Group provides a broad portfolio of financial protection benefits and services through the workplace, and is the leading provider of disability income protection worldwide. Through its Unum US, Unum UK, Unum Poland, and Colonial Life businesses, the company provides disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental and vision benefits that protect millions of working people and their families. Unum also provides leave and absence management services that streamline the leave experience for employers and employees, and stop-loss coverage to help self-insured employers protect against medical costs. Unum reported revenues of $11.6 billion in 2018 and paid $7.2 billion in benefits.

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Kelly Spencer 423-294-4508
Toll free: 866-850-8686

Release Summary

More than any other perk, workers want generous paid time off and flexibility, according to research by employee benefits provider Unum.


Kelly Spencer 423-294-4508
Toll free: 866-850-8686