as employers tried to retain and recruit workers, they offered more in the way of voluntary benefits; and they also saw an increase in medical plan premiums and medical costs overall. (Photo: Shutterstock)

A new study of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) finds that most have only brought back a fraction of furloughed employees as the worst of the pandemic receded. The study, conducted by HR platform provider Ease, also found an increase in voluntary benefit uptake, and that companies are fine-tuning these selections when competing for workers.

The findings were part of Ease’s second-annual report on small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), which drew on data from 75,000 SMBs and 2.5 million employees nationwide. The report’s findings were from businesses that used the Ease software products and had 250 employers or fewer.

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