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Chipotle to roll out mental, financial wellness benefits

Shortly after announcing free tuition perks, the restaurant chain says it’s also expanding wellness offerings.
By: | November 5, 2019 • 2 min read

On the heels of rolling out a free tuition perk for employees, Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced more benefits changes to further help its employees.

The restaurant chain said Tuesday that it will provide access to mental healthcare and financial wellness for more than 80,000 employees in 2020 through employee assistance programs and enhanced benefits offerings.

See also: Employers taking a bigger look at mental health

Beginning next year, all Chipotle associates and their family members will be able to receive personalized mental health assistance through a partnership with healthcare company Health Advocate, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the company’s medical plan. That support will be delivered at any time of day through in-person, phone or virtual visits with a licensed counselor.

By extending the EAP, the company is “ensuring that our employees can build mental fitness and bring their best selves to work every day,” says Marissa Andrada, Chipotle’s chief people officer.

Overall, the employer says, it’s “trying to minimize the effect of mental health in the workplace.”

Related: Top 5 benefit trends of 2019

Mental health is becoming a bigger focus among employers. Since 2014, there’s been a 26% increase in the number of organizations offering mental health coverage, with nearly 90% of companies now offering the benefit in 2019, according to a recent report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

“Our society as a whole is increasingly more aware of the prevalence of mental health issues, and that way of thinking is making its way into the workplace,” the foundation’s Julie Stich said recently. “Now, more organizations are making strides to provide better support systems for employees facing mental health challenges and including mental health as part of their overall workplace wellness plan.”

Chipotle also says it’s partnering with Ayco, a financial counseling platform owned by Goldman Sachs, to provide employees resources including an assessment, checklist and accompanying education to assist with financial planning. Financial wellness has also been a growing focus for employers nationwide as they witness the toll that financial stress is having on their employees’ personal and professional lives. More than twice as many companies offer workplace financial wellness programs to employees today compared to four years ago, according to new research from Bank of America. Just over half of employers (53%) now offer programs, compared to 24% that did so in 2015.

Also on Chipotle’s list for benefits changes for 2020? Access to national gyms with discounted pricing, a new integrated benefits platform and updated PPO health plans.

The benefits updates comes on the heels of Chipotle’s announcement that it will cover 100% of tuition costs upfront for 75 business and technology degrees through Guild Education, a Denver-based company that administers tuition benefits for employers. After 120 days of employment, Chipotle workers become eligible to pursue degrees from five universities: the University of Arizona, Bellevue University, Brandman University, Southern New Hampshire University and Wilmington University. That benefit, announced last month, will kick off Nov. 15.

See also: Chipotle to offer free tuition benefits to employees

“This is just the beginning of how we’re strategically investing in the wellbeing of our employees and their families,” Andrada says.

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at [email protected]

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