Employee benefits such as healthcare and paid vacation days are vital for employers to keep their workforce happy, but employers are coming up with novel benefits to entice and retain new employees. An emerging trend in employee benefits is pet insurance with 15 percent of employers offering the benefit, an increase from nine percent in 2015. Microsoft, Chipotle, and T-Mobile are among the many companies offering pet insurance to their employees.
Man’s best friend
What makes pet insurance so enticing for employees is that it speaks to the emotional attachments they have with their pets. For millennials, who are poised to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, pets are seen as family members. A recent study reported that 44 percent of millennials think of pets as practice for children.
Pet ownership can also be expensive. Dog owners can expect to pay $9,000 to care for their dog over its lifetime, and for cat owners, costs can reach as high as $13,000. In 2019, Americans were expected to spend $75.38 billion on their pets, according to research by the American Pet Products Association, covering food, supplies, over-the-counter medicine, and vet services. That is an almost $3 billion increase from 2018. When it comes to veterinary services, Americans spent roughly $19 billion in 2019.
Such costs take a toll on pet owners, but their love for their pets means that they’re unlikely to compromise on pet care. This is one reason why pet insurance is proving such an enticing benefit for many employees.
Low cost, high pay-off
Compared with other competitive benefits, the cost for the employer is relatively low. Employers can choose to offer pet insurance and still share the cost with their employee or have their employee cover the cost entirely. Because businesses can negotiate better rates, it is still a benefit to employees even if they’re paying the full costs for the insurance.
Rob Jackson, CEO of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation, outlined these cost benefits for both employer and employee in an interview with HRDive. “The pet insurance coverage employees get through their employer will be the exact same coverage as if they had purchased it on their own,” Jackson said. “The only difference is employers are often able to negotiate better rates for their employees.”
Employers who invest in pet insurance benefits will ensure they’re staying competitive when it comes to attracting younger workers, Jackson said. “Employers should absolutely offer pet insurance, especially if they are looking to recruit younger talent,” he said. “Offering this popular benefit often requires little to no effort on the part of the employer and gives them a leg up when recruiting talent.”