Small business workers rate their benefits poorly

Employees at the smallest companies (those with less than 10 employees) are much less likely to have benefits than other workers and even when those employees do have benefits, they are more likely to rate their benefits packages poorly, according to recent research from Colonial Life and Unum. The 2014 U.S. Worker Survey found that only 44 percent of employees at the smallest companies have benefits at work, compared with 82 percent of all employees. Very small businesses are falling short on their benefits even compared to slightly larger firms with 10 to 99 employees: 75 percent of those workers are offered benefits. Nearly all (96 percent) of employees at larger companies with 1,000 or more workers have benefits.

Only 25 percent of employees at very small companies who are offered benefits rate their benefits as excellent or very good, compared with 58 percent of employees at large companies. In addition, less than two-thirds (62 percent) of employees at very small companies who are offered benefits report a good understanding of their benefits, well below the 80 percent reported by workers at large firms.

“It might be easy to assume smaller employers can’t afford to offer rich benefits programs and provide comprehensive education and enrollment support, but that’s not the case at all,” said Gil Youmans, director of small market solutions for Colonial Life. “Small employers can gain access to most of the same benefits and support services as larger employers at no cost to their business. One way to do this is by partnering with a voluntary benefits provider that offers benefits education and enrollment support at no additional direct cost as part of its services.”

The survey contains responses from 1,500 U.S. workers. For more information, visit

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