Benefits are provided as a supplement to an employee’s salary agreement with the company. Salary is the amount employees are paid in exchange for the job they perform. Salary may be paid as hourly, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Overtime pay may also be received depending upon employment status. Agreed upon wages may also include commissions and/or performance bonuses. It is not uncommon for employees to share (with the company) in the payment of some benefits. This amount can be automatically deducted from wages.
1. Bonuses. Some companies offer employees monetary incentives in the form of bonuses. Bonuses can be awarded as incentives for excellent attendance, extra work effort, or performance achievement.
2. Profit sharing plans. Depending on the profitability of a company, profit sharing can be an excellent benefit awarded to employees. Profit sharing rewards employees with a portion of the profits that a company makes. Profit sharing varies from company to company, so be sure to inquire about the details of the profit sharing plan.
3. Commissions. Commissions are incentives usually provided to sales employees. Commissions are most often linked to sales performance—in some sales positions the commission pay can be greater than the base pay.
4. 401k and 403b. The 401K plan and the 403B plan, also known as a tax-deferred savings plan, allow employees to save money before it is taxed. The 401K plan is designed for employees of for-profit organizations and the 403B plan is designed for employees of non-profit organizations.
5. Credit unions. Credit Unions offer employees many different methods of saving money. They may provide members savings on numerous financial transactions such as checking accounts and lower-interest loans.
6. Pension plans. Many companies offer various retirement or pension plans. Pension plans can come in different forms; for example, the 401K plan, the defined benefits plan, and the contribution plan. The 401K plan allows employees to save money through a self-directed tax-deferred savings plan. The defined benefits plan provides an employee predefined compensation and benefits after retirement. The contribution plan allots a predefined amount of money to the employee each year they have worked with the company.
7. Stock options. A few organizations offer stock options to their employees. Startup companies can offer stock options at a low price with the potential of a large capital gain. Public companies usually offer stock options at a discount from the current market price. If the public stock price increases, the employee can realize a profit. Stock options usually require that the right to convert the options to stock (vesting period) occurs over a number of years.
8. Childcare reimbursement. Some organizations offer childcare reimbursement or day care facilities on site. Some companies pay for day care services or offer them at reduced rates.
9. Direct deposit. Direct deposit allows the company to electronically deposit employee wages directly into a specified bank account.
10. Shift differential. Shift differential means that if an employee works any shift other than a day shift they will be paid at a higher rate. Companies who have multiple work shifts usually offer this benefit to encourage employees to work in the less attractive shifts.
11. Health insurance/ HMO’s & PPO’s. Employers can offer attractive health benefits. Employees should research health benefits carefully to obtain the best care possible and be sure to research what is included and what is not included in various policies. A health maintenance organization, also known as an HMO, is a health care organization, which provides its members with full medical services. A preferred provider organization, also known as a PPO, allows the employee to choose from a list of doctors and hospitals that participate in the health care insurance plan. The number of physicians and hospitals to choose from is generally larger in a PPO than in an HMO.
12. Dental and vision insurance. Dental insurance is frequently provided by employers. It usually covers the entire cost of preventative care treatment such as x-rays and cleanings. As with all insurance policies, it is important to inquire about the specifics. Organizations can also offer vision plans, which include coverage for eye exams, glasses, and other optical services.
13. Life and disability insurance. Some companies offer life insurance policies for their employees. Usually these offer term life insurance, which lasts only for the duration of your employment with the company. Disability insurance coverage is used in case an employee becomes severely physically or emotionally unable to work. Some health insurance policies cover disability, but employees should take steps to ensure coverage.
14. Paid vacation and holidays. All companies offer a number of paid holidays. Some companies also offer additional floating holidays along with regular holiday time-off. Most companies offer two weeks of vacation per year in addition to regular paid holidays. Additional vacation is often added, based upon the number of years the employee has worked for the company.
15. Absent/sick days. The amount of sick days offered to employees varies from company to company. Some employers require that employees use sick time by the end of the year while others allow it to roll over to the next year.
16. Jury duty leave. Some organizations will continue pay and benefits if employees are unable to attend work because of jury duty.
17. Maternity/family leave. Maternity or Family Leave may vary from company to company. Some organizations offer time off both before and after the baby is born while others offer time off once the baby is born. Companies with over 50 employees are required to provide for family leave.
18. Bereavement leave. If an immediate family member dies, some organizations allow employees time-off to deal with the emotional loss and to make the necessary arrangements.
19. Military leave. By law employers must allow an employee to attend annual military training. The employer must pay its employee normal pay minus the amount made while on duty.
20. Education & scholarships. Many employers will pay for all or for a portion of education expenses that will enhance an employee’s career development. Employees should check with the company for their education programs. Sometimes companies will offer scholarships to employees, employees’ spouses, or their children for further education.
21. Company car. If positions require extensive travel, employees may be provided with a company car.
22. Job sharing. Many organizations now permit employees to job share. Job sharing allows individuals to split the responsibilities and duties of one position. This allows for greater work flexibility.
23. Relocation expenses. Some companies offer to pay relocation expenses if employees are moving to a new area.
24. Telecommuting. In the electronics age, some companies now allow their employees to telecommute to work. Employees can work at home and send information via their computers to work. Telecommuting allows employees to work virtually anywhere in the world no matter where the employer is located.
25. Fitness center membership. Many companies offer employees fitness facilities or subsidize fitness center memberships. This not only maintains the health of employees, but cuts down on health insurance costs too.