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What Are Legal Services Benefits and How Can Employers Offer Them?

Quick look: Over 75% of Fortune 500 and 55% of Fortune 100 companies provide legal services benefits to their employees, and SMB employers must follow in these footsteps to compete for today’s top talent. Here’s why these perks are becoming more popular, what they entail, and how to easily and affordably gain access to them by partnering with a PEO.

Voluntary benefits are becoming a top recruiting tool as employees demand more personalized benefits packages, and employers strive to stand out from their competition in a tight labor market.

One of the supplemental plans growing in popularity is legal benefits. While sometimes overlooked, these benefits are the perfect tool to add to a company’s benefits toolkit, as they can flex to meet the needs of various ages of workers.

Here, explore why legal benefits are becoming popular, why small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) should consider offering them, how to promote utilization, and why working with a professional employer organization (PEO) to obtain these benefits makes the most sense.

What are legal services benefits?

Although legal benefits are becoming more common, some small employers and employees may be unaware of what they are. These benefits are often called by a few names (i.e., legal benefits, legal assistance, and legal insurance).

Two main ways to provide legal service benefits to employees are through an employee assistance program (EAP) and a voluntary legal benefits plan.

An EAP provides confidential, complimentary advice, support, and resources for various important life matters, including legal help. EAPs often will offer a free legal consultation on a variety of topics and a discount if an in-network attorney is retained.

For workers who want a higher level of legal coverage, a voluntary legal benefit plan may be the right choice. These affordable, supplementary plans assist with legal topics like:

  • Creating a will
  • Traffic violations
  • Family law issues, like child custody or support
  • Divorce
  • Dealing with debt
  • Bankruptcy
  • Issues with contractors or auto repairs
  • Buying or selling a home
  • And more

Legal assistance through their benefits can help employees feel more secure should they experience a life event in which they need legal help. These benefits can help them get immediate assistance, reduce stress, and ultimately steer them in the right direction to help address their concerns.

The rising popularity of legal benefits

The time is now for SMB employers to include legal perks in their benefits packages. Over 75% of Fortune 100 and 55% of Fortune 500 companies now offer these plans to their workforce, and to compete for top talent, smaller organizations must follow suit.

One of the main reasons why legal assistance programs and benefits are growing in demand and use is because of the value they provide to employees. These plans are an ideal part of a personalized, multigenerational benefits package. For example, a worker in their 20s may need help navigating their first auto purchase agreement, while an employee in their 30s and 40s may want assistance creating a will, and a worker in their 60s may seek estate advice.

With legal costs continuing to rise, these benefits can help employees save money, especially in the initial stages of needing legal advice. They can also make it easier for employees to find and get in touch with lawyers and other experts, a process which otherwise can be time-consuming and stressful.

Legal benefits also can reinforce an employer’s value to its staff. Only about one-third of Americans have a will, living trust, or other end-of-life document prepared. However, many want to create one but face hurdles or need encouragement. For example, 40% of those without a will said they simply haven’t gotten around to it, 13% said the process is too expensive, and 12% said they are unsure how to get one. Offering an affordable, convenient resource to help employees achieve these goals is sure to increase their loyalty to the business.

Encouraging the use of legal benefits

Whether you’re considering offering legal service benefits to your employees or they already have access, it’s important to let your workers know about this available perk.

Clear, concise employee benefits communication and regularly optimizing your plans can help build awareness of your legal benefits and drive utilization rates. Some tactics to consider include:

  • Encourage interested employees to enroll in legal insurance at the same time as their core benefits
  • If enrolling in a voluntary plan, simplify premium payments by including them in payroll deductions
  • Enable workers to enroll on the same website as they do their health insurance benefits
  • Communicate about available benefits early and often
  • Offer employees a variety of plan options to suit their individual needs
  • Regularly evaluate plan utilization, gather feedback from employees, and make changes and updates to the plans as necessary

A valuable part of a voluntary plan

As demand for voluntary benefits has grown, smaller employers have taken steps to offer them to current and potential employees.

Legal benefits are one of the fastest-growing voluntary perks that SMB leaders can look to add to their existing offerings. A PEO can help businesses add these and other voluntary options to their benefits packages in a simple, cost-effective way.

For example, a PEO like ExtensisHR offers access to a complimentary EAP, and a voluntary legal plan that provides telephone and office consultations with an attorney on an unlimited number of personal legal matters. These plans cover the attorney fees for a variety of services, like:

  • Estate planning documents, including wills and trusts
  • Real estate matters (sale and purchase)
  • Traffic offenses
  • Family law, including adoption, divorce, and name change
  • Financial matters, like debt collection defense and identity theft defense

PEOs also provide comprehensive benefits administration and management, which, when coupled with an affordable suite of personalized benefits, can help SMB employers compete with larger organizations and successfully grow.

Legal services benefits may be just the perk you need to attract and retain top talent. Contact the professionals at ExtensisHR to get started today.

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