Benefits: Subsidized Food Out; Lactation Programs In

In general, benefits packages have become more generous as companies attempt to recruit and retain employees in the current tight job market. But a survey released earlier this month by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests that companies have found that some perks -- relocation assistance, paid personal days, wellness programs, and subsidized food or cafeteria services -- are viewed as less effective than others The SHRM survey found that the percentage of companies that offer relocation assistance declined from 68% in 1999 to 60% in this year's survey. The percentage of companies offering paid leaves declined from 55% to 41%; wellness programs, from 56% to 49%; subsidized cafeteria services, from 37% to 30%. "The cutbacks we're seeing this year may be indicative that employers found [those benefits] too costly or not as effective as they had hoped," says SHRM president and CEO Michael Losey. Conversely, the percentage of companies offering complete cafeteria-style benefits plans are up from 23% to 29%; corporate lactation programs, up from 6% to 15%; and on-site vaccination programs, up from 57% to 65%.

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