Nearly half of employers are considering making changes to their total rewards programs as a result of the Affordable Care Act, yet most do not anticipate making changes that could negatively affect employees, such as discontinuing health coverage, asking full-time workers to switch to part-time work or increasing the use of contract workers, according to a survey released by Towers Watson.

"With some of the health care reform provisions going into effect in early 2014, there remains little consensus among employers over what actions they should be taking," said Laura Sejen, global head of rewards at Towers Watson.

Among the 113 U.S. employers surveyed, nearly half (49%) have either redirected or are considering redirecting rewards from one program to another, while 42% have either reduced or are considering reducing subsidies for dependent health care coverage. More than one-third (37%) have either reevaluated or are considering reevaluating their employee value proposition to place more emphasis on variable pay.

Even among companies that are considering changes to their total rewards strategy, the majority is less inclined to consider changes that could negatively affect workers. For example, 98% said they have not and are not considering asking current full-time employees to change to part-time status, while 95% have not and are not considering making greater use of contract workers. Eighty-nine percent, meanwhile, have not and are not considering discontinuing employer-sponsored health coverage for some or all active full-time employees.

The results are from the 2013 Towers Watson Talent Management and Rewards Pulse Survey, conducted in April and May.

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