Definitions

Beneflex/How it works/difference between fixed vs flexible benefits

Beneflex is a corporate policy that is based on distributing points so that employees can choose their own benefits. It has an impact on satisfaction, productivity, talent attraction and others.

Have you ever received a courtesy or gift that had nothing to do with your needs and could not even take advantage of? Following this line of thought and entering the corporate world, it is this idea that leads us to talk about beneflex.

Beneflex is another way of talking about flexible benefits . As you may know, offering corporate benefits is not a determination of labor legislation, but a valid strategic decision, capable of generating good results.

Attracting and retaining talent, gaining productivity and strengthening the employer brand are some of the possible consequences. To earn them, you need to offer the right benefits to each employee. Continue reading the text and learn more!

what is beneflex

We’ve already told you what the term represents, but more needs to be said so that you understand what it really means to offer flexible benefits.

The idea is to have a variety of benefits for employees to choose from and make exchanges according to their needs . In general, this possibility also considers benefits that are outside the “standard”.

Therefore, what we have with beneflex is the possibility of making the benefits really useful and attractive for each professional. 

In this way, what the company offers has more value and, consequently, more power to generate the expected impact.

The emergence of beneflex

Perhaps you are not so familiar with the concept of beneflex and even less with its practice.

One reason for this is that managing flexible benefits can be challenging, including with regard to legal issues. We will comment more on this later.

So, it is natural that you know little about and have doubts about why and how to implement beneflex.

How does Beneflex work?

Wondering how employees choose and what’s the story of making exchanges as needed? It’s not as complex as it sounds, but it does require good planning and management.

The company must consider the amount, per employee, intended for the payment of corporate benefits. 

This X value must be turned into a score for each worker to distribute based on their interests.

Interestingly, based on the organization’s budget, each employee chooses which benefits should be paid on his or her behalf at any given time.

This gives workers a greater sense of belonging through their participation in the decision-making process. Something that can also help your engagement and motivation.

It is up to the company to inform them about the points, or credits, that will be offered monthly and define deadlines for the “election” of benefits to be made.

Beneflex management can be done through a virtual current account so that each worker can visualize their choices, evaluate their expenses and make adjustments for the future.

Distribution of points and choice of benefits

To put Beneflex into practice, the company needs to study the best way to work the score . It is the policy of each organization that will determine how many points each employee must have.

Let’s go to an example. We have taken as a basis some of the benefits that a company can offer to illustrate the application of beneflex.

We consider a reality in which 1,000 points can be distributed and each point is equivalent to R$1. Marcela, one of the company’s employees, made the distribution as follows:

BENEFITPUNCTUATION
Meal ticket350
food stamp200
dental plan300
Childcare assistance
fuel voucher180
culture voucher100
Total1,130

Do you see how Marcela’s total exceeds 1,000 points and, consequently, exceeds the budget defined by the company?

In such cases, it is possible to establish a payroll deduction as long as the rules are properly presented to employees beforehand.

The definition of the benefits card

One of the challenges that arise as soon as HR understands what beneflex is and starts to consider it is to think about what benefits to offer.

It is necessary to take into account the profile of the company’s staff and their interests . Analysis, research and, of course, the convergence of all this with the company’s budget and possibilities are necessary.

Testing is also a possibility, as the corporate benefits offered may vary from year or cycle to cycle.

In any case, it is important to understand what professionals find interesting, especially if your company has a diverse workforce that mixes millennials with more experienced workers.

The type of benefit that interests each generation tends to vary, especially if we take as a reference the group of millennials who tend to be less attached to “traditional” benefits.

What’s more, millennials find freedom of choice more attractive and see it — beyond simply granting benefits — as a plus point for accepting a job offer.

The difference between fixed vs flexible benefits

Before delving into the study of possibilities for your organization’s beneflex, however, your HR needs to be clear about fixed and flexible benefits.

Beneflex is not a permission for benefits provided for by the CLT to cease to be obligatorily granted by the company.

By law, 13th salary, vacations, retirement and benefits defined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CCT) must be granted to all employees of the organization.

It is important to note that we did not mention the CCT per case. In the example we gave to illustrate the operation of beneflex, we have included food stamps and food stamps in the list.

The Convention prevails over the CLT and, for this reason, it is essential that it be consulted. If any of these benefits are defined as mandatory for the category, they cannot be included in beneflex.

To make it clearer, consider that the CCT may define that the employer must grant each employee a basic basket or a voucher for a daily meal. 

Thus, the fixed benefit cannot be conditioned to the dynamics of distribution of points proposed by beneflex .

The other benefits, those that may vary from company to company, are considered flexible and not mandatory.

What the law says about flexibilization of benefits

The legal text does not address beneflex itself, but indicates which benefits can be made flexible or not. 

The possibility exists for all benefits that are not defined as salary in natura by article 458 of the CLT.

We’ve already mentioned some examples, but we’ve made a list to make it easier for you to understand what your company can include in the beneflex package. Look:

  • education (we emphasize that the salary nature of education services was excluded by the aforementioned article 458 of the CLT);
  • health plan and dental plan;
  • life and personal accident insurance;
  • private pension plans;
  • food and meal vouchers (provided that the agreement established in the Collective Agreement is respected);
  • culture voucher;
  • sports benefits, such as gym vouchers and others.

Worth knowing! One of the management challenges of beneflex that can be linked to legal issues has to do with possible additional charges related to the extension of the benefit to dismissed employees and retirees.

In cases of unfair dismissal, for example, the employee may be entitled to enjoy health benefits for a period equal to one third of the duration of the employment relationship and the contribution to the health plan.

According to Law No. 9656/98 of the ANS (National Supplementary Health Agency), the beneficiary can continue using the plan for a minimum period of six months and a maximum of two years.

About the legality of beneflex

Anyone who deals with labor legislation knows that it is necessary to pay attention to possible interpretations of the text of the CLT , the Federal Constitution and other legal determinations.

For this reason, it is also up to us to bring article 468 of the CLT, which says the following:

“In individual employment contracts, it is only lawful to change the respective conditions by mutual consent, and even so provided that they do not result, directly or indirectly, in damages to the employee, under penalty of nullity of the clause infringing this guarantee.”

In other wordsas long as the employee agrees and is not harmed by the new benefits policy, the adoption of beneflex does not face legal impediments .

The important thing is that the company’s legal sector is attentive to details and that, together with HR, it respects the Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

It may also be necessary to consult the labor unions involved before any change in the benefits policy.

Principle of equality of treatment

The principle of isonomy of treatment is present in Section XXX of Article 7 of the Federal Constitution. The text says the following:

“These are rights of urban and rural workers, in addition to others aimed at improving their social condition:

XXX – prohibition of difference in salaries, exercise of functions and admission criteria due to sex, age, color or marital status.”

In addition to being valid for salary, the legal determination also applies to the granting of corporate benefits.

It is understood that the employer is not obligated to guarantee the same benefits to all employees, but must offer the same benefit options to employees who perform the same function .

In other words, the adoption of beneflex must be done in compliance with the rule that does not allow any type of discrimination or granting of privileges without justification.

Worker Food Program

Another point of attention should be considered if the company participates in the Worker’s Food Program (PAT).

In this case, the meal allowance granted must be the same for all employees, without any distinction .

Also, if the company decides to offer medical assistance or is obliged to do so by definition in a Collective Agreement, the most appropriate thing is that any changes in the plans are made equally.

Main benefits of beneflex

The difference between fixed and flexible benefits shows us that some of them exist as a way to complement remuneration. 

The company can add “extras” precisely to offer something more interesting to workers.

In some cases, benefits are even essential for the salary to cover individual expenses. 

In others, however, the benefits tend to work as a competitive differentiator when it comes to attracting talent from the market.

The more personalized the benefits offer, the more likely it is to have a positive impact on the worker and the company. We can unravel this idea from the following points:

Increase in the benefits package and eventual cost reduction

It seems contradictory, so there is an explanation for why the adoption of beneflex can make your company offer more while spending less.

With good planning, the organization distributes points among employees without changing its budget for the payment of corporate benefits. So you can offer more variety without having to pay more for it.

And the cost savings? Strategically, the company can track employee choice to understand which benefits are under-chosen or even unused.

With this information, you can reduce your investment in these benefits, reducing your budget without impacting employee satisfaction. 

Or, if you think better, distributing more points and keeping only the options sought by the workers.

Personalization of benefits and increased productivity

Corporate benefits aren’t just successful when they’re new.

If an employee has the opportunity to assemble their benefits package in a personalized way, every time they take advantage of each one they will remember that the company pays.

Here, we return to the positive effect that participation in the process has: employees appreciate the benefits because they chose to do so and, as a result, feel more satisfied .

The consequence of a higher level of satisfaction? Engagement, motivation and productivity on the rise.

Awareness of the cost and value of benefits

Corporate benefits have become a competitive differentiator ― next, we will address this more directly. A professional needs to see value in what the company offers him.

With beneflex, the participation in the distribution of points makes the employee understand how much the company invests and the importance of this investment in their health, well-being, leisure and others.

Linked to the level of satisfaction that the worker achieves, this notion of cost and value helps to understand how positive the company’s benefits policy is .

This favors employer branding and leads us directly to the next benefit of beneflex.

More power to attract and retain talent

Employer branding is “the set of strategies that aim to improve the vision that employees have of a company”. 

That is, everything that makes the worker see the organization as a good place to work .

We are therefore talking about something that helps to keep employee turnover low, preventing talent from wanting to change jobs. And that attracts the attention of good professionals in the market to compose the company’s staff.

What an organization adds of value to its employees impacts its power of attraction and retention. 

The customization proposed by beneflex prevents a worker from having to “play uni-duni-tê” between one company and another, analyzing their benefits.

How to implement beneflex

Perhaps, the main challenge related to beneflex is the complexity of its management. Technology is of great help, but before thinking about the day to day, HR needs to think through the implementation process.

Beneflex’s success depends, above all, on HR and top management understanding how this benefits policy works . In addition, the company’s objectives need to be well defined.

There are some crucial steps to implement beneflex, check them out:

1. Conduct a climate survey

The organizational climate survey is a recommended monitoring tool to assess the quality of the work environment.

As it is a customizable tool according to the objectives sought, the survey can be developed in order to understand the relationship that employees have with corporate benefits and discover their needs.

Thus, it is easier to define which flexible benefits will be made available by the company.

2. Perform simulations and analyzes

With its goals in mind, the company needs to simulate a scenario in which employees distribute points according to their interests.

In this way, you can better understand your investment opportunities and seek partnerships to offer benefits that are consistent with your budget.

The possibilities for flexibility also need to be clear so that rules are defined and, subsequently, duly presented.

3. Make the legal adequacy of the benefits policy

In addition to the organization’s legal sector, other support areas such as unions and suppliers can also participate in the conversation.

Respect for legislation and the Collective Bargaining Agreement is essential to respect workers’ rights, in view of fixed and flexible benefits.

All this leads to the design of a policy and benefits package that avoids problems in labor justice or that avoids “surprises” due to ignorance of one or another rule defined by law.

4. Define the process to put the plan into action

After a lot of planning, the practical part of implementing beneflex begins. The platform chosen for the “current account” must be tested and presented to employees.

Furthermore, it is important that HR monitors constantly, conducting research to understand the choices of each employee and deepen the understanding of the importance of each benefit.

5. Highlight Beneflex in attracting and retaining talent

We have already explained this point well about the power that beneflex has to attract and retain talent. Therefore, the company must be able to communicate its benefits policy to its public .

Remember how we said that flexible benefits are still a novelty in the country? Therefore, the company must help its employees understand how this offer works and encourage them to engage with the distribution of points.

Only then will workers understand how interesting their participation is and, as a consequence of their choices, increase their levels of satisfaction.

Also, with a view to attracting talent, beneflex needs to be properly communicated in the advertisement of vacancies and in interviews. 

The idea is to use politics as a weighty differentiator for a market professional’s decision to accept the job.

6. Measure results and promote adjustments

To achieve significant and lasting results, every people management strategy needs to be measured.

Data on employee choices and preferences and the impact on productivity, turnover , and so forth should be collected and analyzed .

Over time, it is common for changes to occur for better or for worse and historical data can help to understand this situation and drive positive changes at beneflex.

Useful solutions for beneflex management

As we mentioned, the management of beneflex is its biggest challenge. Therefore, it is crucial to use a unified and intuitive system.

Management software can help and, it is worth knowing, there are already specific models for managing flexible benefits .

In addition to presenting the rules for distributing points and facilitating ‘elections’, this type of solution also optimizes data collection for analyzing the impacts of the adopted policy.

There is also the alternative of hiring a company specializing in this management as a partner and having this support for your organization’s HR.

Relationship with financial control

Previously, we mentioned article 458 of the CLT to address the possibility of making or not making a certain benefit more flexible. Now, we return to the legal text to talk about the relationship between beneflex and financial control.

It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that some benefits of a salary nature can impact the collection of FGTS, INSS, the 13th salary and others .

This reinforces the need for legal knowledge and partnership with the legal sector to successfully plan and implement beneflex; without compromising finances or opening a loophole for labor lawsuits.

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