Employee benefits are not part of the salary compensation for work. Benefit packages are varied from company to company. Most common among all would be those that are mandated by law, like basic insurance, minimum wage, overtime pay, and even unemployment benefits. These basic benefits also vary depending on local laws. There are also other added benefits that employers give above the basic ones. There might be many small businesses that shy away from offering added benefits to their employees, thinking that this would be a way to boost income, but this is not beneficial for long-term prosperity. Though it might seem unnecessary and an added expense, what employers need to know is that giving the right benefits actually add to the growth of the company. Employees who are given benefits that matter to them are more likely to last longer in the company, are more committed and satisfied with their work. There are certain benefits that are a must for most employees. Here are some of them:
1- Better insurance
Retirement plans, health (which includes dental and vision) and life insurances top as benefits that are most attractive to employers. Of all the possible benefits to give, these are the most expensive, even for individual coverage. Retirement plans and life insurances are obvious choices, since most would want to have a more secure future. Knowing that you have something stored upon retirement and having something to leave to your love ones when you are gone is something many, if not all employees want. Health insurances are basic to every individual, working or not. It is not even an option to not have this benefit in your package.
2- Flexible work hours
A healthy work/life balance is important for everyone. Workers are often attracted to work schedules that are flexible, where they have the option of adjusting their work timings, yet still maintain the required work hours. This is even more attractive to the largest population of the workforce: parents. Some parents even put more consideration over this benefit compared to insurance or salary. This benefit does not cost the employer. Workers still maintain the required number of hours that they need to work on, but can adjust their timing according to their needs.
3- Work from home
Along with flexible work hours, workers also want to be in companies that can allow them to work from home. This is beneficial for those that need to finish work that need to be done for longer hours, but also need to be home for their families and other commitments. Compensation for the extra hours done at home would depend on the nature of their work, and subject to approval. This is beneficial to workers since it is a tax break, and it allows them to save up on transportation and other costs that they have when going to and from their workplace. Interestingly, this is also beneficial for companies. Allowing employees to work from home can cut some of its overhead costs.
4- Flexible vacation and time-offs
Flexible time-offs and vacation is a hot topic these days. Many companies have strayed from the traditional vacation and time-offs guidelines and have embraced this with varying results. Advocated to unlimited vacation however, say that this is actually a good step in bridging the work/life balance gap. Most companies who have tried this report that there are no significant abuses to the freedom of having time-offs at will, and they even report that productivity have even improved over time, contrary to what many HRM would fear. This benefit even sends a positive message to employees, letting them know that they are trusted to be responsible enough to manage their workloads while maintaining a looser and more relaxed personal life.
5- Student loan and tuition assistance
College is expensive, and those who are fresh in the workforce are often burdened with student loans that would take a long time to pay off. Workers would even go for jobs that give these assistance even if it has a lower pay. A small offer of payroll deductions for the loans are valuable to most. Companies can also avail of a tax break for providing education assistance to its staff.
6- Paid maternity/paternity leave
Parental leave for new parents, even for those who adopt, is a great financial and emotional benefit. While there are laws in place that mandate a specific number of weeks that new mothers can take paid time-off after birth, there are little to no benefits for new fathers. There are also provisions for those that have medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth, but is varies from place to place. However, some companies do have the edge, and offer parental leave to both mother and father, some also offer additional benefits for the new parents like financial aid and counselling. This benefit is strongly favored by women, and there are those that would choose to leave and transfer to companies that have better family benefits.
There are many other benefits that can be added to the list, and most surveys have varying results for the top benefits that workers want. What is common to all though, is the importance of having benefits that not only make work better, but also are beneficial to the holistic wellbeing of employees and of their families and loved ones.
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