Critical tools for managing global benefits today

August 17, 2020

Like many of us, I’m sure you wish you had an extra pair of hands and a few more hours in the day.

If you’re trying to manage employee benefits, compensation, and health and safety for more than one country, with all the recent governmental programs, your head is probably spinning. How many websites or sources do you have to scour to make sure you’re in compliance while still adhering to your employee value proposition and optimizing your resources?

Don’t you wish there were an easy way to keep track of the many countries under your purview — a report or “dashboard” that would let you identify any changes that impact your employees? One source that would mean you didn’t have to call local management or spend hours on government websites trying to keep up?

Used in conjunction with Mercer’s Worldwide Benefit & Employment Guidelines, or “WBEG” for short, our new Government Assistance & Supplemental Programs, aka GASP, gives you the added insight to understand what impact COVID-19 is having on workplaces around the world. Yes, you read that right, with an additional subscription, the GASP tool gives you 12 months access and is regularly updated by our researchers, analysts, and consultants, and includes publicly available data as well, to ensure you have the best information at your fingertips. As the pandemic and its impact evolves in various countries, you’ll be able to easily keep up and make changes rapidly.

Take a closer look …

“Why do I need both tools?” you may be thinking. Well, that’s a good question! Put simply, WBEG will provide you with guidance on the regulatory requirements and provisions that you as an employer need to provide your employees. In addition, where available, we also provide you with insight as to trends in benefits and compensation that we’re seeing from companies — offerings that meet requirements, and maybe go beyond. Think of WBEG as the tool you need every year.

GASP, however, is providing you with additional insight given the current labor market and economic climate. What support is being provided by governments in Europe? What is the impact on employee benefits across Asia? Each country is experiencing a different level of impact and has, therefore, made different provisions for workers and employers. And what they’re providing is constantly changing — let Mercer help you keep track.

Here are a few examples of how GASP can help you stay up to date on temporary changes due to COVID-19.

Canada One-week waiting period required before sickness benefits are paid. From March 18, 2020, the one-week waiting period to claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits is waived for individuals without paid sick leave who are sick, in quarantine, or forced to stay at home to care for children.
United Kingdom Employers are required to pay National Insurance Contributions of 13.8% of salary on weekly earnings above £166.

The minimum employer contribution under pensions auto-enrollment is 3% of an employee’s salary.
The government's Coronavirus Job Retention scheme pays a percentage of salaries for employees that have been temporarily laid off. It also covers employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and minimum employer pension contributions required under automatic enrollment between March and July 2020.
United States Earnings for both employers and employees up to the maximum taxable amount ($137,700 in 2020) are taxed at 6.20% for the federal Social Security tax (old-age, disability, and survivor's insurance). Employers and the self-employed can defer payment of the 6.2% employer share of the federal Social Security tax. The deferred taxes can be repaid over two years (50% by the end of 2021; 50% by the end of 2022).
Malaysia The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) provides employees with benefits from the age of 55.

The employee contribution rate to the EPF is 11% of salary.
Employees under the age of 55 can apply to withdraw up to MYR1,500 from their Employee Provident Fund (EPF) between May 1 and December 31, 2020. In addition, the employee contribution rate to the EPF is reduced from 11% to 7% for the same period.

Want to learn more about WBEG and GASP? Give us a call at 855-286-5302 or email