Benefits and Flexibility of Wellness Spending Accounts
A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet…right?
Whether a company offers a “Wellness Spending Account,” a “Personal Spending Account,” or a “Lifestyle Spending Account” these are all the same. The employer decides what taxable benefits the employee can make claims on. The best part about a WSA? The CRA does not govern them! Employers can choose to offer anywhere from just one or two items for reimbursement or an exhaustive list of wellness items. This allows the employer to meet their employee's unique needs, with the option to cover everything from pet insurance, gym/fitness fees, holistic services, and more. The expenses that the employer chooses to cover with the WSA can be a unique reflection of that business’s values and the values they want to instill in their employees. Offering employees the flexibility under a wellness spending account is key, especially during COVID-19.
Don’t worry, be happy
We love hearing that employees are happy, don’t you?! The 2018 Sanofi Healthcare Survey researched plan members' perspectives, and 72% of plan members claimed their benefits plan fit their needs either extremely or very well if they had a wellness plan. If there was no wellness plan, only 54% of plan members felt that their needs were being met. Spread joy with wellness!
Show me the money!...Maybe?
You could give the employees the money, and from a tax perspective, it’s considered to be the same thing. Yet, from an employee perspective, there could not be more of a difference. The value of a wellness plan for employees is huge. Plus, if you simply give employees a cheque for $500 (for example), you really have no control over how that money is spent – and it may not go toward something that contributes to the employee’s life in a positive way. There is a huge amount of value for employees to see that their employer really cares about their health and wellness and is actively contributing to improving their employee’s lives. With no timeline to return to normal after COVID-19, we have seen wellness accounts be used to set up home offices with ergonomic chairs, desks, and more. To encourage employees to maintain healthy and active lifestyles, wellness accounts can even be used to set up a home gym, purchase fitness tracking technology, and even weight loss programs.
Imagine all the people…
“…Living life in peace…and wellness!” Ok, so maybe we got a little creative with those timeless lyrics, but could you imagine? We have seen it firsthand, employees telling their friends, “My company pays for my gym membership,” or “my company paid for my child’s hockey fees,” or even, “my company knows I like alternative medicine options, so instead of forcing me to use traditional practitioners to get reimbursed, I have the option of choosing the methods right for me.” This is a small investment for an employer with a huge return. Employees turn into ambassadors for the company who can’t wait to tell their family and friends what a great company culture their job emulates—centered around health and wellness. To employees, it says, “Hey there! We like you, and we want you to keep you around, so here is some help for you to take care of yourself in the best way YOU know how!” It makes employees feel understood, and most importantly – VALUED.
An employee who feels valued will always do more than expected
A WSA is an easy way for employers to contribute to their own positive company culture. It allows them to demonstrate that they understand and appreciate the values and even the struggles of their employees. A company with a strong millennial demographic may choose to offer reimbursement to employees for childcare, which also ends up relieving some financial stress for those parents. Maybe the employer values their staff's potential learning and advancement in their careers, so they choose to offer reimbursement for professional development courses. Having options available to the employee allows them to make decisions on what is best for them and their situation, creating happy employees, a positive office environment, and strong company culture.
We look after the hard part
Sometimes, a deterrent for employers in offering a WSA is the administration and adjudication of the program. That’s where we come in. We take care of the hard part so employers can stay focused on their own company, with happy and healthy employees leading the way.
Questions? Looking for an example list of what your business could potentially offer in your WSA? Ready to get started on adding a WSA to your portfolio? We do it all! Just fill in your information here, and we will be in touch right away!