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Beyond pay: The value of workplace benefits 

What we'll cover

  • Why you should review and reassess your employee benefits

  • Non-traditional employee benefits to consider

  • How employee benefits can impact your overall well-being

Whether you’re switching jobs or have been with the same company for years, it’s important to consider the value of your employee benefits. Life changes over time, and with it, so do your requirements for staying healthy and fulfilled.

We assembled this list of standard benefits and less traditional ones that have become more popular. If you read about something not currently offered at your workplace, perhaps you can see if they are something your company is willing to implement.

Standard employee benefits 

While these may not be as exciting as some more modern benefits discussed later on, these standard benefits should be explored in order to set you and your family up for financial success now and in the future.

Health insurance

For many, the most important element in your employee benefits package is health insurance. You want to ensure you have the most comprehensive and cost-effective insurance coverage offered, so do the following:

  • Account for life changes, like getting married , having a baby, health conditions or an upcoming retirement.

  • Compare HMO and PPO plans by reviewing your deductible, co-pay and all out-of-pocket costs.

  • Look into a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA), which allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars to cover future medical expenses.

Life & disability insurance

Your employer may offer life insurance, short-term disability insurance or both. Ask these questions about the policies:

How much does it cost? With employer-provided life insurance, an employee can benefit from the possibly lower rates that come with insuring a group. 

How much coverage is provided? Usually, group life insurance coverage is one to two times your salary — up to a cap. Alternative policies could be similar in price, so it’s important to shop around. 

Don’t overlook disability insurance if it’s offered. Your company may offer short-term and/or long-term coverage — both can be cost-effective ways to protect a portion of your income.

Retirement plans

Whether you’ve just started your professional career, recently changed jobs or need to ramp up your savings, now is the time to make sure your retirement savings is on track (or kick-start it if you haven’t started).

Take full advantage of your employer’s 401(k) matching contribution — it’s, in essence, free money! And if your salary has increased over the year or you’re approaching retirement, boosting your contribution can lower your annual taxable income while your money grows tax deferred.

Take full advantage of your employer’s 401(k) matching contribution — it’s, in essence, free money!

Paid leave

Paid time off, or PTO, includes sick days, vacation days and personal days. Most companies offer PTO to full-time, salaried employees, but the specifics differ. It’s important you understand your company’s paid leave policy so you are prepared in the event when you want to travel or have an unexpected personal matter come up.

Parental leave

Welcoming a child into your family — regardless of how — is a major and exciting life change. Many companies offer some sort of paid or unpaid parental leave to give new parents a handful of weeks, at minimum, to get as much rest as possible and have time together as a family to bond.

Non-traditional employee benefits to consider

Some companies have chosen to offer other perks to contribute to employee well-being and job satisfaction. Your company may not explicitly offer some of these things, but you can inquire with human resources or executive leadership if they’re willing to provide them.

Professional development opportunities

A collective organization is only as successful as its employees. If you want to improve your job performance and progress in your career, professional development can strengthen knowledge and refine skills. These opportunities come in many forms, including:

  • Networking events

  • Industry or professional conferences

  • Membership in industry or professional organizations

  • Skill-based trainings and certifications

  • Mentorships

Tuition reimbursement

Earning another degree can enhance your qualifications and ability to advance in your career — and some companies may cover some, or all, of the tuition costs. If you’re done with school but are still paying off student loans, your employer also may be willing to pay off a certain amount.

Gym reimbursement

A healthy employee is a happy employee, and nothing gets the endorphins and productivity kicking quite like a good workout. You may be able to get your monthly membership fees reimbursed by your employer or as part of your health insurance plan.

Mental health services

It’s difficult to stay productive if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or burnt out. Seeking out mental health help may have an immense impact on both your professional and your personal life, and some businesses today offer such healthcare to their employees.

Volunteer opportunities

Is there a cause that you feel passionate about? Bring it to your company’s leadership to see if there’s a way the company can rally together to support and give back. This can include team outings to a volunteer activity or fundraising for a specific cause.

Make the most of your workplace benefits

Both monetary and non-monetary benefits offered by your employer can be a great way to round out your salary and improve your financial well-being. Be sure to take advantage of those that have the biggest impact on your lifestyle.

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