Navigating employee benefits in the US: Key insights for companies

May 2, 2024

Entering the US market poses many challenges for businesses, and one critical aspect is navigating the complex landscape of employee benefits.

In our recent webinar, Colby Clark (Vice President - Global Employment Mobility) and Steve Jenkins (Sales Director - Global Employment Mobility) from Airswift shed light on the intricacies of this process, offering valuable insights for companies looking to establish themselves in the US.

As seasoned professionals with extensive experience in international business operations, they provide valuable insights and practical strategies for companies seeking to establish a presence in the most significant global economy.


From understanding the diverse regulatory framework to crafting competitive benefit packages, Clark and Jenkins offer comprehensive guidance to help organisations effectively navigate the challenges and opportunities of the US market.

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Here are the key takeaways:

The US boasts the world's largest economy, making it an attractive destination for companies seeking global expansion

However, it's crucial to recognise that the US is not a monolithic entity but rather a federation of states, each with its own rules, regulations, and governance structures.

Navigating the US benefit market requires a keen understanding of these variations. This knowledge is essential for executing benefit plans effectively and efficiently while mitigating associated risks.

Image shows a hand holding a wooden block with the words "employee benefits", with other blocks in the foreground carved with various employee benefits

Statutory burdens and customary employee benefits in the US

Employers entering the US market must grapple with various statutory burdens, including Social Security, Medicare, state-specific unemployment insurance, and workers' compensation. These requirements vary significantly across states and industries, making compliance complex.

In addition to statutory benefits, customary benefits are essential for attracting and retaining talent. Customary benefits such as critical care insurance and diverse healthcare plans enhance the attractiveness of a company's benefits package, making it more competitive in the talent market.

Challenges and compliance with employee benefits plans in the US

One of the primary challenges in administering employee benefits in the US is ensuring compliance with many regulations. The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) impose extensive reporting and disclosure requirements on employers. Non-compliance can result in significant penalties, underscoring the importance of meticulous adherence to regulatory standards.

Moreover, the complexity of benefit plans necessitates effective management, including addressing employee inquiries and managing multiple vendors while ensuring compliance with legal requirements.

Hands holding up a 3-D holograph of an upward trending graph

Changing work trends and adaptation strategies in the USA

The landscape of employee benefits is continuously evolving, with emerging trends shaping employers' strategies. The rise of remote work, especially in the post-pandemic era, has necessitated adjustments in benefit offerings to accommodate flexible work arrangements.

Employers increasingly focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle among employees through wellness programs and high-deductible health plans. Additionally, adopting technology solutions, such as AI-driven platforms, aims to streamline benefit administration processes and enhance employee experience.

Outsourcing benefits administration through Employer of Record (EOR) services has emerged as a viable solution

For companies navigating the complexities of the US market, EOR service providers assume payroll, compliance, and other administrative tasks, allowing companies to focus on their core business objectives.

By leveraging Employer of record services in the USA, companies can mitigate compliance risks, expedite their entry into the US market, and ensure adherence to regulatory requirements.

Image shows a folder with the words "defined benefits plan" on the cover

Strategic benefits planning in the USA

A strategic benefits plan is essential for companies seeking a competitive edge in the US market. Factors such as company size, demographics, and industry dynamics influence the choice of benefit plans and carriers.

Employers must tailor benefit offerings to align with employee preferences and market trends while remaining mindful of cost considerations. A robust benefits strategy is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent in a competitive employment landscape.

The significance of employee benefits in job seeker preferences in the USA

Employee benefits play a pivotal role in talent acquisition and retention. Research indicates that benefits are a primary consideration for job seekers, often outweighing salary considerations.

Man in business attire pointing at a holograph containing the word "benefits"

Companies offering comprehensive benefits packages, including healthcare, dental, vision, and life insurance, are more likely to attract and retain top talent. Employers must prioritise employee preferences and continuously evaluate and adjust benefit offerings to meet evolving needs.

Customisation and adaptation of employee benefit plans in the USA

Customising benefit plans based on employee needs and preferences ensures their effectiveness. Employers may opt for multiple employer plans to offer diverse benefits tailored to different job roles and titles.

Flexibility and adaptability in benefit offerings enable companies to cater to the diverse needs of their workforce, thereby enhancing employee satisfaction and engagement.

Optimising benefit administration with Airswift's EOR solution

In conclusion, navigating employee benefits in the US requires a comprehensive understanding of regulatory requirements, market dynamics, and employee preferences. By strategically planning and customising benefit offerings, companies can attract and retain top talent while ensuring compliance with legal standards.

Leveraging technology solutions and outsourcing administrative tasks through services like Airswift’s EOR solution can streamline benefit administration processes, enabling companies to focus on their core business objectives. With Airswift's expertise, navigating the complex landscape of US hiring becomes seamless, ensuring companies thrive and deliver exceptional employee experiences. See our hiring guide here.

With a strategic approach to benefits planning and adaptation to emerging trends, companies can thrive in the competitive US market while fostering a positive employee experience.

This post was written by: Diyaa Mani, Content Marketing Coordinator