The top Lifestyle Spending Account use cases
Discover common LSA use cases broken down by the account type, eligible expenses, and pro-tips to help inform LSA program design.
In this piece
Understanding various Lifestyle Spending Account use cases
LSAs provide distinct benefits depending on their setup. A health and wellness account, for instance, will have a different advantage than an account dedicated to working remotely or commuting. Some types of accounts, such as wellness, are universal. Others, such as child care or elder care, are more specific to certain workers. With LSAs, you can specify programs for varied uses. In each instance, the benefits provide the type of flexibility that workers desire while helping companies thrive.
Selecting the right categories for your workforce is extremely important. Make sure your design includes all the categories you wish to fund (informed by the feedback given by your employees) with specific parameters for each one.
Top 10 Lifestyle Spending Account use cases
The following breaks down the top use cases, including the account type, eligible expenses, and pro-tips to help inform LSA program design.
1. Physical wellness: Support health and well-being needs.
Account type: Fitness and wellness
Eligible expenses: Gym memberships, fitness classes, virtual fitness classes or apps, running shoes, bicycles, marathon costs, home exercise equipment, exercise clothing and accessories, healthy meal delivery, nutritional counseling
Pro-tip: Many companies prefer to take a holistic approach to wellness and opt to include emotional, financial, family, and social well-being benefits with eligible expenses aligned to each pillar.
2. Work from home: Help workers perform their job comfortably from home.
Account type: Remote work
Eligible expenses: Desks/office chairs, headphones, desk equipment, computer/laptop accessories, cables/cords
Pro-tip: Supporting employees' remote work or hybrid work needs has become an increasingly popular benefit.
3. Learning & development: Foster career growth and opportunities.
Account type: Tuition reimbursement, student loan assistance, continuing education
Eligible expenses: In-person learning, online learning, class materials/supplies, industry event, testing fee
Pro-tip: Expand the program to include reimbursement for ongoing education expenses and previously incurred expenses, such as student loans.
4. Team building: Promote belonging.
Account type: Belonging, connection
Eligible expenses: Drinks, lunches, dinners, in-person or virtual activities
Pro-tip: You can set aside specific funds to help support employee connection. Set up a monthly amount that doesn’t roll over to incentivize team-building efforts.
5. Family care: Offer care for employees and their families.
Account type: Caregiving, pet care, new parent, fertility, adoption assistance
Eligible expenses: Caregiving: daycare, babysitters, tutoring, eldercare, car services, dog walking, and pet boarding, fertility expenses, adoption, and surrogacy costs
Pro-tip: When layered with Health Reimbursement Arrangements, family care can reimburse for fertility and reproductive health care needs as well.
6. Commuter assistance: Ease the burden of the workforce’s commute.
Account type: Commuter*
Eligible expenses: Bicycles, scooters, Uber/Lyft, gas
Pro-tip: Many are using commuter benefits as a part of the return to work strategy. The benefit has grown popular for companies that have micro-mobility needs.
*These programs are taxable and designed to reimburse for expenses not eligible under a traditional pre-tax commuter program.
7. International healthcare: Deliver equitable benefits to support health needs worldwide.
Account type: Healthcare
Eligible expenses: Annual physicals, preventative care, fertility treatment
Pro-tip: Many companies want equity for the global workforce which could include access and coverage to certain healthcare not standardly available under your international health plans. Fill the gaps by country with bespoke LSAs that reimburse for expenses not covered in global medical plans.
8. Emergency relief: Be there for employees with emergent needs.
Account type: Crisis management, emergency relief
Eligible expenses: Hotel, lodging, airfare, train, gas, food, backup generators, additional cell phones or utility costs, pet boarding
Pro-tip: Support employees experience a crisis, such as a fire, hurricane, tornado, floods and/or war. The program design generally includes reimbursement up to an annual amount with no rollover.
In case of emergency: The agility of modern HRtech
From COVID response to the war in Ukraine, Roe vs. Wade, or the HRC’s LGBTQ+ state of emergency, newer generation TPA providers can be game-changing for those experiencing an emergency. No matter the urgency, modern HRtech has the infrastructure in place to create programs and respond quickly.
9. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG): Embed ESG goals into the benefits strategy.
Account type: Sustainability, EV
Eligible expenses: EV charging costs, electric vehicles, electric home technology (e.g., smart thermostats, dual flush toilets, solar panels)
Pro-tip: Integrate employer’s environmental strategies into benefits programs to support activities or lifestyles that promote environmental consciousness.
10. DE&I: Give support specific to your DEIBA workforce needs.
Account type: DEI, DEIBA
Eligible expenses: Overall wellness for both physical and emotional needs, care for family (e.g., childcare, eldercare support), car services, pet insurance, boarding
Pro-tip: Many customers leverage DEIBA LSAs to address benefits gaps while not marginalizing others. You can support your efforts through a broad lifestyle spending account or set up specific accounts to meet your population's needs. Employers can look at specific programs that support employees' health needs as well like fertility support and gender-affirming care. They can also be used to help fund employee-initiated resource groups so you don’t inadvertently alienate anyone.
Provide holistic support
While supporting specific use cases is a best practice to help your employees derive the most value out of their LSA dollars, there are times and places that a more general approach is helpful. Given the expansive LSA design, the flexible benefit can support well-being holistically. One approach that balances administrative demand with widespread support at scale is to offer an all-encompassing LSA. Categorically, a general lifestyle benefit can cover far reach and is designed to support the four pillars of well-being: physical, mental, financial, and social. Then, employees can choose what’s meaningful to them.
LSAs can support the needs of a distributed workforce.
If you’re an overseas employee, it may feel unfair to learn about all of the wonderful perks someone at headquarters receives (and you’re not). Plus, managing global benefits gets more complex when factoring in local requirements, such as commuter benefits in Japan, bicycles in Belgium, or bags of rice in the Philippines. LSAs with modern TPA tech providers can ensure benefits are equitable and inclusive on a worldwide scale.
Align LSAs with company values.
Offering LSAs that demonstrate the company’s commitment to the mission can help attract and retain talent by prioritizing the shared vision. For example, lifestyle companies make it a point to reimburse fitness activities or eco-conscious brands provide charging and commuter subsidies.
For more information about Lifestyle Spending Accounts, <span class="text-style-link text-color-blue" fs-mirrorclick-element="trigger" role="button">schedule a consultation</span> with one of our experts. We’d be happy to help you find the perfect solution for your unique needs.