New SME staff benefits packages system

Mercer, the employee benefits consultancy company has recently teamed up with Sage UK, a business services and software provider. Together they will be launching a service which makes it easier for small businesses to offer their staff benefits packages.

The new offering is called Sage Employee Benefits and it will allow small companies to give benefits such as income protection, pensions, life insurance, medical and dental insurance to their employees. The idea is the company will be offering more competitive rates to small companies as they will benefit from economies of scale. The scheme is targeted towards companies that have 100 employees or less.

Together, the two companies will be taking advantage of Mercer’s good relationship with the benefits markets which it has gained from its work with several international companies. The rates that the companies should be able to offer their benefit at should be similar to those seen at larger organisations.

In September this year a study was conducted of 1000 small businesses and over 65% of them said that their benefits package was essential in keeping top employees with the business and from preventing them seeking a better offer elsewhere. However, only a third of businesses were currently able to offer benefits packages. Many small companies see them as too great a financial and managerial burden and something that they simply cannot manage to provide.

The head of services at Sage U.K.’s small business division is Matthew Forrest and he has recently commented, “This survey clearly showed that employers do understand how valuable offering a benefits package can be in retaining employees.

“The problem is small companies feel that offering a benefits package is not financially affordable and that the management would have to spend too much of their time organising it. We have worked together with Mercer to offer a solution to small businesses and since we began developing it we have been working with small businesses to ensure the service is what they want.”

The company is hoping that the package will simplify the process of offering benefits to employees and there will be an online portal established where employers can login to find the information they need. There will also be a team waiting to help the owners of small businesses so that they can focus on what they do best and leave the benefits system to the experts.

There will be a team of advisers at Mercer providing insight and guidance to business owners and informing them of the latest employee legislation on developments in the market.

Simon Griffiths is the head of Mercer and he has commented, “Benefits packages shouldn’t just be something that big businesses can offer and a recent change in the law has meant that some benefits are going to be a legal requirement for companies to provide. We are in an economic time where salaries rising at less than the rate of inflation and we are very pleased to be working with Sage to offer benefits to employees in these tough economic times.”