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Employee Benefits Trends Study 2020

In its 6th year, MetLife Australia's Employee Benefit Trends Study 2020 investigates the changing face of the Australian workplace landscape.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has transformed work and life, creating new challenges for employees and employers. Understanding how to improve employee wellbeing is key to helping employees navigate this new reality.

Following on from two waves of research exploring the impacts of COVID-19 in March and May, this year’s Employee Benefits Trends Study explores how employees are managing work-life stress in the wake of the pandemic and how a holistic approach to wellbeing, supported by the right programs and benefits, can promote a more engaged, productive and successful workforce.

The research shows that Australian’s overall health and wellbeing has fallen in recent months. Those feeling the impact most include younger cohorts, essential workers, and the unemployed. But it has been shown in our study that holistic health and wellbeing is generally better among those who’s employer responded positively to COVID-19 and provided genuine support during this difficult time.

The key findings from the research helps us provide insights and actions employers can take to ensure their employees feel supported, are engaged, and manage stress levels. The study highlights that while employers are prioritising the mental aspect of their employee wellbeing, right now, financial health is the top concern for employees, and plays an especially important role in their overall wellbeing, and mental health in particular.

Key Findings

Supporting employees by embracing a model of holistic wellbeing

70% of employers say mental health is the most important aspect of employee health to focus on in the wake of COVID-19

27% of employees say they are ‘most concerned’ about their financial health

4 in 10 employees say their employer isn’t offering any benefits or programs to support / improve their well being

5 in 10 employees claim they are not being offered financial health support

Close to half of all Australians are suffering from some form of mental ill-health at present due to COVID-19

4 in 10 Australians claim financial concerns as the main driver of mental ill-health

80% of employers say they aren’t currently tracking / measuring employee mental health


Holistic wellbeing

What is holistic wellbeing and how can you support it?

Understanding your employee's needs and facilitating a tailored benefits package to support overall health is critical.

In this guide for employers, we look at mental as well as physical health and how it could impact your employees and business. 

Resource Guide

Read and download the guide and support your employees by embracing a model of holistic wellbeing

Driving employee engagement and reducing stress

78% of employees say they currently feel stressed


With 1 in 2 claiming they are more stressed now than before the COVID-19 pandemic

Around 3 in 10 employees claim they ‘often’ feel run down and drained of their physical and emotional energy

44% of employees claim the support received from their employer has improved since the COVID-19 pandemic began

57% say the support received has made them a more loyal employee

Top five programs employees would like from their employer to help ease their stress and improve their wellbeing:

1. Flexible work arrangements


2. Increased paid time off


3. Work From Home policy


4. Additional super contributions


5. Mental wellness programs


Employee engagement, loyalty and stress

The keys to driving employee engagement, creating loyalty and reducing stress.

In this resource guide for employers, we look at how stress has impacted workplace productivity throughout 2020 plus quick and easy actions you can take to improve employee engagement, productivity and loyalty.

Employee engagement, loyalty and stress

Read and download the guide and drive employee engagement, loyalty and reduce stress

Promoting employee wellbeing with benefits and communication

‘Must have’ employee benefits:

  1. Flexible work arrangements
  2. Professional training, development and certitifications
  3. Extra personal / carer’s leave
  4. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
  5. Extra paid maternity leave / parental leave

38% of employers have increased employee benefits offered as a result of COVID-19 (38% viewed as a permanent change)

21% of employers have reduced or removed employee benefits (71% viewed as a temporary change)

73% of employers claim they offer flexible work arrangements

While 53% of employees claim they have flexible working arrangements available to them

48% of employees claim to ‘completely’ understand the various benefits available to them and how they work

38% have a ‘reasonable’ understanding

14% ‘do not’ understand at all

Employee benefits and communication

How important will benefits and communication be to employees in the coming months?

In this guide, we look at how a comprehensive approach to benefits can support employee wellbeing by meeting their diverse and changing needs as we move into the post COVID-19 world.

Promote wellbeing through benefits and communication

Read and download the guide to help promote wellbeing through benefits and communication with your team.

The new work-life reality

56% of Australians claim they struggle to navigate the demands that come with today’s “always on” work life world

78% of employees located in the physical workplace feel exposed to COVID-19 / at risk of getting sick when doing their job

70% of employees either didn’t work from home or did so on a limited basis (1 day per week) pre COVID-19

Compared to 52% of employees now working from home 4 - 5 days per week

While close to 50% of employees now expect to spend more time working from home after COVID-19 than they did pre COVID-19

What is the new work-life reality

...and how can we cope?

The global pandemic has reshaped the world as we know it, dramatically impacting work and life for your employees.

In this guide, we look at the complexities of a blended work-life world and how you can help your employees manage it and drive better outcomes for your business. 

The new work-life reality

Read and download the guide to help drive a more positive new work-life reality for your team


  • Two online surveys conducted between 26 Aug – 11 Sept 2020
  • Questions based off latest 2020 MetLife U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, however localised for Australian market 
  • The employer survey included 339 respondents with benefits decision makers and influencers at Australian based companies with at least two employees
  • The employee survey included 1,037 respondents, including a mix of full-time and part-time employees, aged 18 and over, at Australian based companies with at least two employees
  • Representative sample across age, gender, industry, geography, and company size
  • Independent research partner, Little Triggers

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