H.B. Fuller, the St. Paul-based maker of adhesives and specialty chemicals, said Monday it used tax savings to reimburse more of the costs their employees faced for health insurance.
The announcement, coming on the annual tax deadline and with President Donald Trump in Burnsville, underscored the length that firms are going to illustrate that the 2017 federal tax reform affected workers and not just corporate income statements.
H.B. Fuller, which saw its tax rate fall to 27% last year from 30% because of the federal reform, said it sought to do something more for employees than provide a one-time cash bonus, as some companies did.
"We have been concerned about rising health care costs for a long time," Paula Cooney, vice president of human resources at H.B. Fuller, said in an e-mail. "As a result of tax reform, we have been able to invest in a meaningful and long-term way in our employees' health and wellness."
Better benefits are a tool to recruit and retain employees and more companies are turning their attention to improving benefits in the competitive labor market.
A survey published last June by the Society for Human Resource Management found that about one-third of U.S. companies increased benefits in the previous 12 months. About half those firms improved health care-related benefits.
The change at H.B. Fuller took effect in January. Since then, the company has been reimbursing employees for the individual portion of health insurance premiums in entirety for those who make less than $50,000.
It has been reimbursing half the premiums for employees who make between $50,000 and $60,000 per year. Employees with family coverage still must cover the difference between the individual and family rate.
H.B. Fuller announced the changes before last fall's open-enrollment period. The benefit enhancement applies to 997 of Fuller's 2,487 U.S. employees.
H.B. Fuller's benefit enhancement is fairly rare. The Society for Human Resource Management reports only about one in 10 U.S. companies vary health care premium contributions by employee salary.
In addition to the help with health insurance coverage, H.B. Fuller also recently made more employees eligible for its employee stock-ownership plan.
The company also said it would use a portion of its tax savings to repay debt. For its fiscal year ended Dec. 1, 2018, H.B. Fuller earned $171.2 million on revenue of $3 billion.