Posted by Joseph Vance
A growing number of employers are offering employees a new type of benefit: identity theft resolution services. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Rite Aid Corp, Reed Elsevier PLC, and Qwest Communications International Inc. are among the companies that have recently started offering identity-theft resolution services to their employees as a workplace benefit.
The article cites two motivations for employers offering this benefit. First, the identity-theft resolution service can reduce the time employees spend during work hours filing reports and talking with creditors to resolve the problems created by identity theft. Second, some employers are motivated from concern that they might face liability for personal data they have put at risk. According to the article, by offering employees recovery assistance, companies hope to head off possible lawsuits.
The second motivation might be wishful thinking on the part of employers. It is hard to imagine that in cases where the employer is responsible for disclosing the employees' data that the employees are going to be placated by the "recovery assistance" offered as an HR benefit.
Time will tell whether this becomes a standard employment benefit like health insurance and a 401(k) program. According to the article a recent survey of human resources managers found that 2 percent of employers currently offer identity theft services as a workplace benefit and another 4.6 percent expect to offer it in the near future.