EBRI Issue Brief
Workplace Wellness Programs and the LGBTQ Community
The 2022 Workplace Wellness Survey (WWS) included an oversample of LGBTQ workers to better understand the unique workplace wellness needs of such workers and to explore and identify potential differences in attitudes, experiences, and behaviors related to workplace wellness.
- Jobs and Employee Benefits – Satisfaction and Trade-Offs: LGBTQ workers were less likely than non-LGBTQ workers to be satisfied with their job and various employee benefits. LGBTQ workers were less likely than non-LGBTQ workers to be satisfied with their employee benefits overall and paid leave. However, there is no overall difference nor is there a difference at any income level when it comes to health benefits or retirement benefits. LGBTQ workers and non-LGBTQ workers were about as likely to be satisfied with the mix of employee benefits and wages.
- Eligibility and Participation in Employee Benefit Programs: Nearly across the board, LGBTQ workers were less likely than non-LGBTQ workers to be eligible for various employee benefit programs. Yet they were just as likely as non-LGBTQ workers to participate in such programs when they were offered to them.
- Worker Opinions of Employer and Value of Benefits: LGBTQ workers give employers lower ratings than non-LGBTQ workers when it comes to employer efforts to help improve financial well-being, emotional well-being/mental health, and physical well-being/health. When it comes to worker expectations about employers’ responsibilities, LGBTQ workers and non-LGBTQ workers were in agreement. LGBTQ workers were less trustful than non-LGBTQ workers in institutions that provide various employee benefits.
- Work-Life Balance: LGBTQ workers were less likely than non-LGBTQ workers to rate their work-life balance as excellent or very good. Aside from income and compensation, both LGBTQ workers and non-LGBTQ workers valued flexibility in work schedules above all other benefits, and both cohorts valued such flexibility almost equally.
- Financial Wellness Programs: LGBTQ workers were less likely than non-LGBTQ workers to report that they were offered a financial wellness program.
- Debt and Financial Preparedness: Both LGBTQ workers and non-LGBTQ workers described their debt the same: About one-third described it as a major problem, one-half described it as a minor problem, and 1 in 5 described it as not a problem. Differences by LGBTQ status were not found when examining debt by income level. LGBTQ workers were less likely than non-LGBTQ workers to report that saving enough for retirement and affording their children’s college tuition were the financial issues causing the most stress. They were more likely than non-LGBTQ workers to report that paying monthly bills and student loan repayments were the financial issues causing the most stress.
Interestingly, many of the differences observed by LGBTQ status appear driven by demographic differences. Nearly one-half of LGBTQ workers are under age 35 compared with 24 percent among non-LGBTQ workers. This would account for why LGBTQ workers have lower incomes and less education than non-LGBTQ workers. It would also affect the lower marriage rates and the fact that LGBTQ workers are less likely to have dependent children.
Regardless whether differences by LGBTQ status are driven by demographics or LBGTQ status, employers can use the information presented in this paper to build program offerings and devise communication strategies that more effectively support a diverse work force.
EBRI and Greenwald would like to thank the 2022 Workplace Wellness Survey (WWS) sponsors who helped shape this year's survey: AARP, Cigna, Edelman Financial Engines, Fidelity, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Mercer, Morgan Stanley, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), OneAmerica, UNUM, and Voya Financial.