Work benefits should be one of your major considerations as you seek employment in a company, they are part of your total compensation. And in case you are not so clear on the meaning, work benefits are those perks a company offers their employees aside from their salaries.
These fringe benefits are your company’s way of telling you that they are not just interested in what you offer but in your wellbeing and future. There are many work benefits available to employees in the US, but we shall consider 10 of them in this post. You’ll learn the benefits you should look out for when seeking a job.
Retirement savings plans are one thing every employee should take advantage of, especially if you began your career early. It enables you to have something substantial to fall back on when you are no longer able to work.
A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan that offers you some tax benefits. It allows you to contribute pre-tax funds (paycheck deduction) and defers your taxes until when you withdraw them during retirement. This plan also offers you a matching plan where your employer can match your contributions. The matching can be dollar for dollar, that is, your employer contributes whatever you contribute or partial match (50 cents for each dollar).
Another benefit of a 401(k) is that you can pull your money in case of emergency or when you need to make major purchases. These days, employees have even made it better. Some employees can help you offset student loan debt by making a larger contribution to your 401(k). So, you should of necessity put this into consideration, especially when employer match is involved.
Companies provide health insurance for their employees to cover the costs of their medical expenses when the need arises. This insurance provides coverage for prescription drugs, emergency care, doctor visits, and some specified medical procedures.
You and/or your employer will pay a certain amount of money (premium) to the insurance company monthly. There are different health insurance plans and each company will have to choose the one they deem best for them. But most importantly, you should use this guide as you choose a health insurance plan:
- Find out all costs that the plan comes with
- Ensure that the plan is suitable for you; if you have a health condition or a prescription medication you take, ensure that the plan covers them. If you have people who depend on you or plan to have, look for a plan that has family coverage and the cost.
This insurance is for your dental and eye-care needs. For dental insurance, you have coverage for your cleanings, X-rays, routine examinations, and procedures such as root canals and fillings. Vision insurance, on the other hand, covers prescription lenses and eye examinations.
Many employers attach dental and vision insurance to health insurance rather than offering it a work benefit alone. If you have an eye doctor or a dentist, try to find out if the plan will let you keep them. Also, consider any pre-existing conditions you may have.
Disability insurance is to compensate you if you ever find yourself in a condition that incapacitated you; illness or injury. It’s more like a way of replacing your income for that period if you are unable to work – it’s paycheck protection.
This insurance comes in two forms; long
term and short term. The duration a short-term disability insurance covers is dependent on the plan you are using, but usually less than six months. The long term lasts up to 10 years in most companies and a few, up to your retirement age. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the former pays about 60% of your monthly paycheck, while the latter, 60% of your annual income.
Disability insurance is usually optional, but you should grab it if it is available, you never can tell what happens tomorrow.
A flexible spending account (FSA) offers you a tax advantage. You make a pre-tax contribution for out-of-pocket healthcare costs such as copays for doctor visits, over-the-counter medications, etc.
Your contributions are to pay for each year’s health cost and total contributions for each are capped at a set amount. In an FSA, your employer alone can contribute up to $500 and can match your contributions.
This is a contract that entitles your beneficiary to a certain amount of money when you die. Life insurance is more beneficial to those who have dependents. And, if no one is dependent on you, you should consider it if your company covers it fully, you can designate it to your parents, a charity or any other person you choose.
Established by an act (FMLA) in the U.S, this work benefit lets you take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for medical or family purposes. This law protects your job and insurance during the periods you will be away from work.
The law makes it compulsory that companies with over 50 staff should provide this work benefit, certain requirements qualify you for it. One of these requirements is that you should have worked with the company for up to 12 years. So, if you are looking at a small company, try to understand their take on this benefit.
This work benefit was triggered by the pandemic. At that time it became necessary for people to work from home in compliance with the pandemic’s control measures. Remote work gives you the liberty to work full-time or part-time from an outside traditional office setting.
Many companies have decided to adopt this work pattern, therefore if you live to work remotely, it is now more common to find such jobs. But ask what their policies look like first; whether full or part-time, the system of communication, availability of stipends, and equipment to facilitate work.
Wellness programs aim to improve your total health as an employee and offer extra perks aside from health insurance. It used to focus majorly on weight loss and health screenings but has now taken a broader and more holistic approach.
In recent years, it has included employees’ financial, emotional, physical, and social wellbeing. You can now find things like fitness subsidies and access to counseling and mental wellness apps. Needs differ, just find a company whose wellness program suits your needs.
This work benefit grants you access to on-the-job training, online courses, tuition reimbursement for continuing education, and stipends to cover educational expenses. These programs can be helpful especially when you are just setting out on your career, it helps you develop your skills to position you for promotion.
Work benefits differ from company to company, youmay not find all these benefits in one company. However, you should choose a company that offers what you need. For insurance, although some companies offer full premium coverage, most times the company deducts a part of your paycheck. When you’re interviewing for a job, remember to ask questions that answer whatever concerns you might have.