EBRI Issue Brief

Employee Benefits: Today, Tomorrow, and Yesterday

Jul 24, 2014 24  pages


In 2013, the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) commemorated its 35th anniversary. While much has changed with health and retirement benefits during the past three decades—the first generation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)—many of the issues that were present at EBRI’s beginning remain today.

But even if core issues endure, the historic shift away from “traditional” defined benefit pension plans and toward 401(k)-type defined contribution retirement plans, along with the recent enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), and the demographic shifts attendant with the retirement of the Baby Boomers and the workplace ascendency of the Generation X and Millennial cohorts, employee benefits are certain to continue to change and evolve in the future.

Each year EBRI holds two policy forums which bring together a cross-section of national experts in the benefits field, congressional and executive branch staff, and representatives from academia, interest groups, and labor to examine public policy issues affecting health and retirement benefits.

This Issue Brief summarizes the presentations and discussions at EBRI’s 73rd policy forum held in Washington, DC, on Dec. 12, 2013. Titled “Employee Benefits: Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday,” the symposium offered expert perspectives on not only the workplace and work force of the past, but the challenges of today’s multi-generational workplace, and the difficulties and opportunities that lie ahead. Following a review of the benefits landscape by EBRI’s research team, panels discussed:

• 1978 to 2013: The Changing Role of Employers in Employee Benefits.

• Employee Benefits from 2013 to 2048: The Road to Tomorrow.

• 2013 to 2048: Work Force Trends and Preferences, Today and Tomorrow.

More information on this, and previous EBRI policy forums, including presentation materials, agendas, and links to webcast recordings are available online at www.ebri.org/programs/policyforums/