Your Benefits

What are you really getting from your job?

Salary is not your only compensation: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, benefits make up 28 percent of employee compensation costs. That makes benefits an important aspect to consider about any job offer.

Benefits tend to vary from workplace to workplace, and may depend on the size of the company you work for. Some benefits are negotiable, so you may be able to improve your compensation package.

Here is a rundown of common job benefits you may have available to you:
  • Bonuses
  • Retirement plans
  • Health care
  • Dental care
  • Vision care
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term and short-term disability insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Sick leave
The most prevalent benefit provided to U.S. employees is paid time off, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics "National Compensation Survey," which includes paid holidays and paid vacation time. Companies differ; check into the vacation policies and holiday schedule at your company. Vacation time may be based on years of service in an organization. For instance, you might be eligible for a week after six months of service and two weeks after one year.

Two additional common and important job benefits include health insurance and a retirement plan.

Three-fourths of full-time workers have some medical care available, according to the Employee Benefit Survey. These plans vary– some employers cover an employees full premium, while others require the employee to contribute. Your plan may also include coverage for dental and vision care. While it may cost you some money, according to jobweb.com, it will still cost you considerably less than purchasing insurance yourself and is essentially nontaxable income. These benefits can include reduced medical costs for routine doctors visits or other medical needs. Some plans include reduced pharmacy charges and reduced costs for routine visits to the dentist.

While many companies offer retirement plans of some sort, just two-thirds of the workers that have plans available use them. There are a few different kinds of plans: defined benefit plans - the more traditional pension, and defined contribution plans, like 401(k)s. Either type of plan may require an employee contribution.

Additional fringe benefits may help sweeten any job offer. Some companies even offer in-house massages and free cafeterias. Here are some of the more common additional benefits:
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Flexible benefit plans
  • Child care
  • Subsidized commuting
  • Paid parking
  • Fitness center
  • Professional memberships
  • Flexible schedules
Find out exactly what benefits your company, or the company you are looking at joining, offers and which require you to contribute. The human resources department should be able to give you full explanations of what is offered.

Sources: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics; jobweb.com; google.com.


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