Western Growers compensation survey reveals benefit trends - The Packer

Western Growers compensation survey reveals benefit trends

08/15/2013 11:05:00 AM
Tom Karst

Smaller produce companies are notching up the percentage of health care plan premiums paid by employees, according to a new survey from Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers.

The survey of compensation and human resources practices in 84 participating produce companies reveals that top-level employees of large companies pay about the ratio for health insurance as top employees of smaller companies, according to a news release about the data.

The fourth annual survey by Western Growers is available to members and non-members at a cost of $1,500 for the compensation survey, $500 for the H.R. Practices survey or $1,800 for both at www.agsalary.com. Both purchase options include membership in Western Growers for one year, according to the news release. The 153- page report is free to companies participating in the survey.

With the Affordable Care Act looming, the release said decisions about employee health insurance benefits are a major concern of produce industry executives, according to the report.

“Our member companies will have an opportunity to see what other companies are doing relative to the cost of premiums for their employees,’ said Karen Timmins, vice president of human resources for Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers, In the past, she said smaller companies - less than $20 million in annual revenue - used to pay more of the health care premium for their employees compared with the larger companies of more than $200 million in annual revenue.

Now, Timmins said, smaller companies aren’t paying quite as much of the percentage of their employees’ health care premiums as they have in the past, she said.

“The smaller companies are requiring the employees to pay a greater percentage of the premiums,” she said. In some previous surveys, some smaller companies paid the entire bill for their employee’s health coverage, she said.

Timmins said the latest survey shows employee-only coverage for a PPO plan in companies less than $20 million in revenue cost $500 in total monthly premium, and cost to the employee was $61.88 per month. For employee-only PPO coverage in companies with revenues over $200 million, cost to the employee on average was $76.22 per month, Timmins said.

The compensation part of the Western Growers survey reports base pay, incentives paid, total annual cash compensation and auto reimbursement policies, according to the release. The H.R. Practices Survey summarizes survey participants’ policies and practices for: pay for performance plans; merit increase budgets; health plan and other benefit offerings, retirement plans; paid time off programs; and austerity measures, according to the report.

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