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May 16, 2024

Global Employee Benefits: Attract & Retain Top Talent in 2024

Discover popular global employee benefits and how you can easily offer them to keep your international team happy and thriving.

Aine Kavanagh

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Aine Kavanagh

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Looking to attract and retain global talent? 

Offering tailored benefits is your golden ticket. 

Global employee benefits are non-wage incentives that acknowledge and address the diverse needs of an international workforce. Some examples include paid time off, company health insurance, occupational pensions, and remote work stipends. 

Stay tuned for a deep dive into global employee benefits and their management.

Why Offer Global Employee Benefits?

According to Metlife's 2024 Employee Benefit Trends Study, 73% of employees would be more likely to stay with their current employer if they had access to a broader range of benefits.

Offering a comprehensive benefits package to your employees wherever they are comes with several advantages, such as: 

  • Attract Skilled Global Talent: In a competitive job market, standout benefits packages give you a hiring edge to attract high-calibre global talent — making you an employer of choice. 

  • Enhance Employee Satisfaction: Better benefits mean happier teams. This translates to more productivity, higher employee engagement, and, ultimately, improved retention.

  • Cultivate an Inclusive Company Culture: By offering benefits that respect diverse traditions and lifestyles, you actively foster a workplace where everyone feels supported and connected.

Now that we've covered the why, let's discover what to include in your global employee benefits package.

What Are the Types of Global Employee Benefits?

Any global employee benefits package will typically be a mix of: 

  • Statutory benefits

  • Supplementary benefits

  • Fringe benefits

Let’s explore each one quickly:

A. Statutory Benefits (Mandatory Benefits)

Statutory benefits are legally required programs employers must provide. These vary from country to country, depending on labour laws.   

Usually, statutory benefits include essentials like healthcare, pensions, paid time off, and unemployment insurance. 

Some benefits, like a state pension scheme, could be part of the country’s social security program. 

Mandatory benefits are typically funded through employee, employer, and state contributions.

An employer may also be responsible for processing contributions, submitting them to the concerned authority, maintaining accurate records, etc.

The eligibility criteria, duration, and pay rates for each benefit we cover below could vary by country. It’s also likely that a mandatory benefit in one country is a voluntary benefit in another.

Let’s look at some common statutory benefits globally:

  • Paid Time Off (PTO): Employees can take time off while receiving pay. Globally, this includes annual leave, sick leave, and personal days, which are essential to maintain work-life balance and employee well-being.

  • Parental Leave: This mandatory benefit offers paid time off to parents around the birth or adoption of their child. This includes paid maternity and paternity leave periods.

  • Workers' Compensation: It’s a form of insurance that offers wage and medical coverage for job-related injuries, protecting employees and employers from financial burdens.

  • Unemployment Insurance: It’s a temporary financial support to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It provides economic stability as they search for new employment.

  • Social Security and State Pensions: These government-supported programs provide benefits like retirement income, medical coverage, or disability payments to eligible individuals.

B. Supplementary Benefits

Supplementary benefits are additional perks employers offer voluntarily to their employees beyond legally mandated benefits.

The goal?

To enhance workers' overall compensation package and keep them satisfied and motivated.

Some popular supplementary benefits globally include:

  • Occupational Health Insurance: Additional health coverage beyond statutory plans, often with higher coverage limits and specialised services.

  • Life Insurance & Assurance: Typically pays out a tax-free lump sum to nominated beneficiaries if the employee passes away, providing financial security to their dependants.

  • Retirement Plan: Tax-advantaged accounts where employees can save for retirement, with employer contributions incentivising long-term financial planning

  • Dental Insurance: Covers preventive services like cleanings and X-rays, as well as restorative treatments such as fillings, crowns, and orthodontics.

  • Vision Insurance: Pays for routine eye exams and helps offset the costs of glasses, contacts, and corrective procedures.

  • Disability Insurance: Replaces a portion of income if the employee cannot work due to an injury or illness, covering periods beyond statutory sick pay. It can be a statutory benefit in some regions.

  • Mental Health Benefits: Provides access to counselling, therapy, and treatment programs, often with lower or no co-pays than standard health plans.

  • Childcare Stipends: Monetary assistance to help working parents afford childcare costs like daycare or nannies.

  • Remote Work Stipends: Reimbursements for home office equipment, internet, and utilities to enable productive remote working.

  • Learning & Development Assistance: Tuition reimbursement and training courses to build skills benefiting current/future roles.

C. Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits are additional non-cash perks aimed at attracting and retaining talent. 

Unlike supplementary benefits, which enhance core benefits like health or retirement plans, fringe benefits offer non-essential luxuries to improve employee experience and workplace satisfaction.

  • Company Cars: Employers provide vehicles for employees' business and personal use, often with fuel and maintenance covered too. This fringe benefit is handy for those who drive frequently for work.

  • Travel Expense Reimbursement: Covering costs like flights and accommodation for business travel.

  • Meal Vouchers: Prepaid cards or discounts at restaurants/cafeterias to subsidise employees' meal costs.

  • Mobile Phone Plans: Companies reimburse or directly pay for employees' mobile/cell phone bills. It’s a valuable benefit for roles requiring constant communication and mobile access.

  • Company Discounts: Employees receive discounted rates on their employer's products or services — a thoughtful perk that boosts brand loyalty and usage.

  • Gym Memberships: Companies subsidise or fully cover gym/fitness club fees to promote employee wellness and healthy lifestyles.

  • Shopping Discounts: Employees can access discounts from third-party retailers through corporate partnerships.

Examples of Benefits Across Different Countries

Here’s what the employee benefits landscape looks like for different countries:

1. United States

  • Statutory Benefits: Includes Social Security, Medicare, and federally mandated unpaid family and medical leave. Employers must also contribute to unemployment insurance and workers' compensation programs.

  • Supplementary Benefits: Commonly include health insurance, retirement savings plans (such as 401(k) plans), dental and vision insurance, and life insurance. Employers often offer these voluntarily to attract and retain employees.

2. United Kingdom

  • Statutory Benefits: Includes primary healthcare under the National Health Service (NHS), statutory sick pay, maternity and paternity leave, and pension contributions through the UK’s auto-enrolment pension scheme.

  • Supplementary Benefits: Employers commonly offer occupational medical insurance for additional coverage and enhanced parental leave benefits. Employers may also offer perks like gym memberships or company cars.

Discover 23+ Employee Benefits to Offer your UK Team in 2024.

3. Ireland

  • Supplementary Benefits: Common voluntary benefits in Ireland include private health insurance and life insurance. Employers may also enhance the employee benefits package with perks such as educational assistance, fitness memberships, or travel subsidies.

Explore Ireland’s Employee Benefits landscape in detail.

4. Other Countries

Here are our comprehensive guides on employee benefits structure in different countries:

While global benefits offer several advantages, managing them can be challenging.

What Are the Challenges in Managing Global Benefits?

Managing global employee benefits presents unique challenges to HR teams:

  • Navigating Legal Complexities: Each country has its own labour laws and regulations regarding employee benefits. Staying compliant requires ongoing research and potentially partnering with legal experts in each location.

  • Catering to Diverse Cultural Needs: Employee needs and expectations for benefits vary significantly across cultures. A thriving global benefits program must be flexible and adaptable to cater to these differences.

  • Cost Management & Competitiveness: Balancing the cost of offering competitive benefits across multiple countries can be tricky. Companies need to find a way to attract talent while remaining financially prudent.

  • Data Privacy Compliance: Data privacy laws differ by country. Multinational employers must comply with these regulations when collecting, storing, and transferring employee benefit data globally. This might require additional security measures and protocols.

The good news?

You can overcome these challenges with the right global benefits management solution.

Meet Kota: Your Gateway to Global Employee Benefits Management

Kota (formerly Yonder) is a cutting-edge software solution that simplifies global benefits management.

Say goodbye to dealing with brokers and crunching numbers to fit your budget when managing employees in multiple countries.

Kota brings it together, partnering directly with trusted benefits providers across 30+ countries to deliver hand-picked, cost-effective benefits for your employees.

Moreover, our benefits plans comply with your employee’s local employment laws. 

Our intuitive app also automates payroll tasks related to auto-enrolment in Ireland and the UK to streamline processes further. 

What Employee Benefits Does Kota Support?

Our core offerings are the essentials every global benefits package needs:

  • Life Assurance (only available in Ireland): Peace of mind provided through Irish Life.

Here are some more reasons you’ll love Kota:

  • Digital Hub: Kota's digital benefits hub acts as your central command centre, making it easy to manage your global benefits program from one place.

  • Regional Benchmarking: Kota's benchmarking capabilities keep you competitive by aligning your benefits with regional standards.

Kota perfectly aligns with your global benefits strategy, but remember, your benefits program’s success hinges on strategic planning.


How to Develop a Fool-Proof Global Benefits Strategy?

Here's a roadmap to build a winning global employee benefits strategy:

4 Key Considerations When Developing a Global Benefits Strategy

  • Understand Employee Needs: Conduct surveys or focus groups to understand your global workforce's needs and priorities. What benefits are most important to them?

  • Balance Cost and Value: Competitive benefits are essential, but staying financially responsible is equally important. Analyse the cost-benefit of different offerings to find the sweet spot.

  • Comply with Local Laws: Every country has its own rules. Research local labour laws and regulations regarding employee benefits to ensure your program is compliant. Legal hiccups can be costly!

  • Cultural Considerations: A one-size-fits-all approach won't fly. Tailor your benefits plan to local cultural norms and expectations. Paid time off for family events might be more important in some regions than others.

With these considerations in mind, let’s build a comprehensive benefits strategy.

Steps to Building a Global Benefits Strategy

Step 1: Know Your Team

Conduct a global workforce analysis to understand your team's demographics, locations, and needs.

Step 2: Understand Legal Landscape

Research local benefit requirements in each country you operate in. Consider partnering with local legal or HR experts.

Step 3: Prioritize & Budget

Determine what you can afford and prioritise benefits that offer the most value for your company and employees.

Step 4: Design a Flexible and Adaptable Benefits Program

Develop a program that you can easily adjust as your company scales and as laws and economic conditions change in your operating regions.

Step 5: Find the Right Partners

Choose reliable and experienced providers who specialise in benefits programs on a global scale.

Step 6: Leverage Technology

Implement user-friendly platforms, like Kota, to streamline benefits administration.

Step 7: Take Employer of Record Support

Employers of Record (EORs) can manage legal and HR functions in foreign territories, reducing the burden on your internal teams and ensuring compliance with local laws.

Step 8: Communication Well With Your Global Team

Ensure that all communications about benefits are clear, accessible, and translated as necessary to meet the needs of a diverse workforce. Good communication helps maximise usage and appreciation of the benefits offered.

The global employee benefits landscape is evolving to align with the needs of a dynamic and geographically dispersed workforce.

The core theme: Automation, flexibility, and personalisation.

Here are four key trends to watch:

  • Automation and Tech: With the complexity of managing benefits globally, more companies are leaning on sophisticated software to keep things smooth. This means faster, more accurate handling of your benefits no matter where you are.

The Benefits Administration Software market, valued at $10.5 billion in 2023, is projected to surge to $18.2 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.03% from 2024 to 2030 (Source: Verified Market Reports).

  • Rise of Mental Health Support: There's a growing focus on mental health, with companies expanding benefits to include more comprehensive mental health services and support programs.

  • Flexible Working Options: Flexibility in work arrangements continues to be a priority, with many employers offering various remote working benefits to attract and retain talent in a competitive market.

  • Customisation and Personalisation of Benefits: Flexible benefits plans are becoming the norm, letting employees pick what best suits their lifestyles.

4 FAQs About Global Employee Benefits

Have more questions about global benefits?

Let’s discuss. 

1. Which Country Has The Best Employee Benefits?

There isn't a single country with the "best" benefits, as preferences vary. 

That said, countries like Denmark and France rank among the top for their robust employee benefits. Denmark offers extensive parental leave and unemployment benefits, while France provides comprehensive healthcare. 

The key is to understand what your global workforce values!

2. How do Currency Fluctuations Impact Global Employee Benefits and Compensation?

Currency fluctuations can affect the value of an employee's compensation. Their salary may buy less local goods and services if the local currency weakens. Similarly, the value of benefits denominated in that currency also decreases. For instance, this could mean employees get less out of their healthcare plans.

The solution?
Consider cost-of-living adjustments or other measures to review salaries and benefits such that they help maintain purchasing power.

3. Can Global Benefits Be Standardised Across All Countries, or Must They Be Customised Regionally?

While you can standardise some core benefits, most must be tweaked region by region. 

After all, different places have different laws and cultural expectations. 

For example:

While the United States offers healthcare as a standard benefit, in the UK, the government primarily covers healthcare through the National Health Service. 

So, offering private health insurance as a supplementary benefit in the UK is more about enhancing choice and giving access to faster care than providing primary services.

4. What Is the Role of an EOR in Global Employee Benefits?

An Employer of Record (EOR) supports global operations by managing legal and administrative tasks needed to employ staff abroad. 

EORs handle global payroll, compliance with regional labour laws, benefits administration, etc.

This role is vital for companies without local entities. It ensures employees are well-compensated and legally protected while smoothly integrating global HR functions.

Extend Competitive Benefits to Your Global Teams with Kota

Tailored global benefits unlock a happier, more productive international workforce, boosting employee retention. 

But managing benefits across borders can be a pain.

Fortunately, Kota helps you offer regionally compliant benefits and cuts administrative costs – letting you focus on what matters – your global team's success.

So why wait? 

Join Kota to offer global employee benefits in minutes.

Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

👋🏻 Hi I'm Aine, Head of Customer Success at Kota. Whether you're a Kota customer, a Kota user, or you're just browsing, I hope to help educate and empower those who want to know more about owning their own benefits, and building financial autonomy 📚

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