By Daniel Hunter

Cash plans have taken an 'unexpected' mantle as one of Britain’s most sought-after employee benefits, independent research has revealed.

The study, conducted by global research consultancy TNS on behalf of PMI Health Group, discovered a surprising 35 per cent of full-time staff rank cash plans among their top-three preferred benefits.

Of those, 11 per cent ranked cash plans as their most valued benefit, behind only contributory pensions (25 per cent), life insurance (15 per cent) and private medical insurance (12 per cent).

“The emergence of cash plans as a preferred benefit is somewhat unexpected considering their low cost when compared to alternatives such as contributory pension schemes, life insurance or medical insurance,” said Mike Blake, Director PMI Health Group.

“But the research proves they maintain a high perceived value among employees, making them an extremely viable option for businesses attempting to construct a competitive benefits package in the current climate.

“The economic downturn has caused many companies to re-evaluate their offering in the face of growing cost pressures. However, a more versatile approach, combining elements such as PMI and pension schemes with cash plans, can help to extract greater value from an investment in benefits.”

Cash plans assumed even greater importance among staff earning less than the UK average salary1, selected in the top three preferred benefits by 39 per cent of respondents, even overtaking private health insurance (38 per cent).

Although pensions were the single most valued benefit, overall health benefits — comprising PMI, cash plans, income protection, health screenings, critical illness and employee assistance programmes — accounted for 47 per cent of employees’ preferred benefits.

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