collage of headshots of people who could be employees of a company (Photo: Shutterstock)

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While some employee and government benefits such as more robust health care planswere universally prioritized, workers of various income bracketseach have differing views on what benefits are most important tothem and their family, a recent Prudential survey found.

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Prudential's 2020 Financial Wellness Census — which polled 3,000U.S. adults across various generations in May — found that moreaffluent workers see retirement benefits as the most importantemployer benefit while lower income workers putmore value in other offerings such as mental health benefits andgreater paid family leave.

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Among those making more than $80,000 a year, more than 40% ofrespondents said they prioritized retirement benefits — as opposedto less than 30% for those making under $50,000 a year. More thanany other income bracket, respondents who make more than $100,000 ayear said flexible work arrangements such as remote work was a highpriority.

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Lower income respondents bringing in less than $50,000 a yearprioritized mental health benefits and the ability to workfreelance and contractually more than their affluent workers.

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But some benefits transcend income: Paid sick leave,comprehensive health care coverage and more vacation time werepriorities across all respondents. Paid sick leave was among themost popular benefits for workers making between $50,000 and$80,000, with 36% of respondents saying that sick leave was apriority.

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"Census respondents point most frequently to retirement savingsopportunities, paid time off, and comprehensive health care andprescription medicine coverage," the survey authors wrote. "Allthose benefits make it easier to manage through future economicdisruptions."

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The survey's authors also found that benefit prioritization issomewhat mirrored when asked about government benefits.

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With unemployment hovering at 17% amid the novel coronaviruspandemic, many respondents pointed to government health care as themost important government benefit: 43% of respondents say they wantmore affordable health care, with 33% of respondents preferringuniversal coverage.

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And as with employee benefits, priorities varied by incomelevel. Lower-income respondents favored universal health care, anincreased minimum wage and greater government support for smallbusinesses and the unemployed. Higher income workers, on the otherhand, prioritized "less disruption of the status quo." Fewer supplychain disruptions and more flexible work options were mostprioritized among respondents making more than $100,000 a year.

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Dylan Jackson

Dylan Jackson writes about the business of law and race. He can be reached at [email protected] or 305-347-6677. On Twitter @DylanBJackson