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How can employers manage or reduce employee stress through benefits?
January 10, 2023
Rachel Alfred
Timer  Read Time: 5 minutes
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With the ever-increasing pace of life, it is common to experience stress from different sources, such as relationships, finances, the workplace and more. It becomes increasingly difficult to complete even the simplest day-to-day tasks when under stress, which unfortunately leads to even more stress.

Failure to deal with stress for long periods of time or remaining in a prolonged and constant feeling of stress – can lead to life-threatening problems. From hypertension, heart disease, decreased immunity, depression, and decreased vitality, stress is not to be taken lightly.

However, not all stress is inherently bad and it’s important to differentiate between the two. You’ve probably heard someone say, “I work best under pressure.” Some types of stress motivate us to perform better and encourage growth. Understanding the difference between good and bad stress is crucially important for a healthy life.

We’ve all heard about things we can do personally to avoid and treat stress (meditation, exercise, diet changes, mindful living and even apps for our phones), but what else is there? Employers can help employees with their stress levels too.

Lifestyle Spending Accounts

Dedicated to innovating the world of employee benefits, ThrivePass created The Thrive Account to encourage employees to focus on wellness, improve their overall physical and mental health, as well as their emotional and financial wellbeing. The Thrive Account is a digital Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA).

Within the platform, employers set up personalized spending wallets based on their own company culture. The Thrive Account enables employee choice, as employees can use their funds by browsing categories for eligible reimbursements or applying their funds directly in our integrated Marketplace. With over 100 spending categories, employers will have no problem personalizing the account to best support their employees, and that’s definitely a way to reduce stress!

Employers can attract and retain top talent, save time and money by outsourcing administration, and better support all employees, both local and remote with the Thrive Account. It’s a program people actually get excited about!

Commuter Benefits

Commuting times have steadily increased across the U.S. With traffic congestion and transportation prices on the rise, so are stress levels. Offering Commuter Benefits can help with commuting expenses and make it easier for employees to take public transit. What’s the end result? Employees can prepare for their day, arriving calmer and more focused – and a chance to wind down on the way home. Not to mention, employees save on commuting costs while employers save on payroll taxes.

But what about those employees who don’t take mass transit every day? Employers are adjusting policies and benefits to meet the needs of a more distributed workforce as remote hybrid workspaces continue to gain popularity. The benefit also works for them in the capacity of mass transit, ridesharing, and parking expenses.

When it comes to expenses, what qualifies? Commuter funds can cover costs for:
• Bus, ferry, train, subway tickets and passes
• Vanpool fees when there are six or more adult passengers
• Parking expenses, including parking at or near your place of work or at the location from which you take mass transit to get to work

Commuter expenses that are not eligible:
• Tolls
• Taxis
• Gas/fuel
• Mileage

Money contributed to a commuter account is free from federal and state taxes and remains tax-free when it is spent on eligible expenses. Participating in a commuter account is like receiving a 30% discount (via tax savings) on mass transit and parking expenses. This means you could be saving up to $1,000 per year on commuter expenses!

Tuition Reimbursement and Student Loan Repayment Programs

The intention of Tuition Reimbursement is to encourage employees to continue their education. This type of program can serve both the employee and the employer. The employee receives financial support to further their education and the employer retains an employee with additional skills. It’s really a win-win scenario.

Managing educational assistance programs should be easy for employers and employees. Best-in-class tuition reimbursement benefit providers bring approval, substantiation, and reimbursement under one roof and even verify the approvals for you, creating an automated process. At ThrivePass, we review reimbursement requests for educational expenses with care and speed. Employees need only complete a form to request reimbursement. It’s that easy!

Now let’s address one of the most common financial burdens – student debt. Employees with student debt selected student loan repayment as the single most compelling employee benefit and would prefer help reducing student debt over additional retirement contributions. 90% of those working professionals indicated student loan repayment would impact their decision to accept a job and stay at a current job (Oliver Wyman Report). With student loan debt at an astounding $1.6 trillion, enabling a Student Loan Repayment Program can help a company attract and retain top talent while removing a key source of stress for employees allowing them to better focus on their work and deliverables. The extension of the CARES act now includes student loan repayment as a tax-exempt and eligible expense under Section 127. Employers can provide up to $5,250 per employee per year.

ThrivePass makes unlocking this employer benefit easy and automated. The new ThrivePass Direct Loan Repayment integration comes standard with the ThrivePass Tuition Reimbursement Program. Employees can securely connect their accounts to have funds automatically applied to their loans according to an employer’s customized plan. ThrivePass covers repayment to 99% of public and private student loan servicers. To make it even easier, employers can turn it on like a light by determining who is eligible for the program for a seamless onboarding experience.

With solutions for perks and benefits programs, pre-tax accounts, and performance rewards, ThrivePass helps employees thrive so that your organization does too. Employers can utilize benefit options for their employees and ThrivePass is here to help! Why not give your employees what they’re really looking for?

Great benefits will help attract, retain, and enhance the employee experience, and with ThrivePass’ integration to PlanSource, this makes it easy to happen.

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