Case Study: Benefits Attract & Retain Seasonal Workers

While some organizations argue that furnishing benefits to seasonal employees isn’t affordable, others feel that they simply can’t afford not to.

“Employers who think it’s too costly to offer benefits packages [to seasonal staff] are simply misinformed,” says Gord Donas, a former human resources consultant with Morneau Sobeco.

In fact, Gord can rhyme off numerous ways employers directly benefit from implementing packages for their seasonal staff. “Group benefits are tax deductible, foster a healthy workforce and subsequently improve employee productivity and efficiency, and they can also be provided in exchange for monetary compensation,” says Gord.

Similarly, employees enjoy numerous advantages: after tax money does not have to be used to purchase insurance, group plans don’t normally require evidence of medical insurability and group packages are generally less expensive than they would be in the individual insurance market.

While the plans available vary, they all have one major commonality. “From what we hear, benefits are quite simply a requirement when it comes to attracting and retaining staff,” says Gord, whose opinion is shared by Dan Wedell, General Manager of Shadow Ridge Golf Course in Kelowna.

“In the past few years we’ve been experiencing an employee shortage in Kelowna. Now I’m really emphasizing the value of benefits to prospective employees,” says Dan, who notes that offering benefits also plays a crucial role in helping to establish a healthy employee environment.

Shadow Ridge offers all employees benefits after their first year with the course, and those benefits carry through the layoff period. “We simply believe that benefits are part of the employee package,” says Dan, who’s been extending benefits to his staff members for over 10 years.

And contrary to popular opinion, organizations don’t have to break the bank in order to offer their employees the peace of mind that comes with coverage.

A typical benefit program, which contains a small amount of Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Disablement Insurance, Extended Heath, Dental, Employee Assistance Programs and (possibly) Health Care Accounts, can range from $40 to $100 per month for single employees, and from $100 to $250 for family plans.

“Another way to look at it is as follows: a benefit program that includes 80 per cent coverage for Extended Health Care and Dental Services would cost an employer approximately $39 for a single employee, and roughly $105 for a family plan, depending on the level of benefits offered,” says Gord.

Employers can also elect to pay a portion of the cost, as long as they assume a minimum of 50 per cent. Some would argue that this is a small price to pay to foster better long-term employee relationships.