Citing Tax Reform, More Firms Boost Benefits

Despite that old saying about the cobbler’s children having no shoes, benefit firms are getting into the spirit of boosting benefits in the wake of tax reform.

The latest to announce plans is MetLife, Inc., which announced Feb. 12 that, “in light of tax reform, the company will increase the investment it makes in its employees.”

With regard to retirement benefits, MetLife says it is introducing a $300 minimum monthly credit for the cash balance formula of the company’s DB plan, regardless of the employee’s pay. Additionally, the firm says it is enhancing the 401(k) plan design by moving to auto-enrollment for employee contributions and immediate eligibility for, and vesting in, employer matching contributions – changes the firm says are not scheduled to take effect until 2019.

MetLife said that its enhanced programs for all eligible U.S. employees also include:

  • establishing a company minimum wage of $15 an hour;
  • establishing a minimum company-provided group life insurance benefit of $75,000, regardless of the employee’s pay (previously, the benefit was set at one times annual pay); and
  • extending company-paid group legal services offered through MetLife’s Hyatt Legal Plans. Currently approximately one third of MetLife employees in the United States are enrolled in this voluntary benefit, according to the firm.

Insperity ‘Inspired’

Last week, Insperity, Inc., which provides HR and business performance solutions, announced one-time bonuses to its employees “made possible through the U.S. tax reform act recently signed into law.”

The amount of the bonuses will range from $1,000 to $4,000 per employee, depending upon the employee’s tenure with the company, according to a press release. The bonuses total approximately $9 million and will not be awarded to the management team and other senior leaders.

Other firms that have announced retirement plan enhancements in the wake of tax reform include Visa, Nationwide, SunTrust Bank and Aflac, as well as MasterCard, Hostess Brands and Anthem.

Add Your Comments

2 Comments

  1. DrBillLemoine
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    It’s certainly nice to hear that corporations are following the Democratic Party line of minimum wages–finally–and other benefits not granted or given at a low level before tax reform. What remains to be seen is how much ‘bump’ the top executives get with tax burdens nearly halved for 2018 and no/few changes in loopholes for corporations. It doesn’t change the temporary nature of these benefits in law nor that prices of goods and services offered the public by companies are not cut in public like the benefits that get more public attention especially under Republicans. We’ll see how much and how long any employee benefits and wages last after the initial announcements this year. Or are these the new levels of stagnation for another 30-40 years like the past few decades. I’m skeptical frankly. As a former public servant in education, where are the benefits to teachers and administrators in their field which has received so much criticism from EdSec Betsy DeVos and whom union leaders are criticizing more than ever for pressures during an era with increasing automation elsewhere including artificial intelligence and robotics and demand for accommodating high tech needs AND ordinary technical or industrial skills.

  2. Bob Tholen
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Wow, so much venting in one tweet. Note that the minimum wage stated is for MetLife employees and can be justified by MetLife’s profitability, and does not reflect struggling small business ventures need for start-up salaries at entry level jobs. I do agree that teaching should be better rewarded so that it attracts the best possible candidates. There is an underlying problem with this issue, however. The idea that “leave no child behind” has caused our public education to become terribly dysfunctional. Placing young people with different talents and aptitudes in the same public classes causes apathy, frustration, and ultimately disruption in the learning process….a fact that many talented educator minded people want to avoid. Here we should take a lesson from Europe which has paths in public education like we have in higher education – trades, arts, engineering, etc. We don’t need all doctors, lawyers, and god forbid, an abundance of health care givers. We need auto mechanics, people to take care of mentioned automation, and countless other skills – and by placing them into paths where they interact with people of similar interests would greatly benefit the education system (as well as society). Not to mention attracting skilled educators that want to feel as sense of accomplishment. Reducing our public education to the lowest common denominator will never do that. Hopefully the success of the system would warrant giving raises and praises to our educators like MetLife’s ability, and elevate the teaching profession to the level it rightly deserves.

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