How To Understand Your Employee Benefits

Job searching can be a daunting and exhausting! Writing cover letters, phone interviews, then on-site interviews, then you have to prepare questions, and dry-clean your clothes.

After several weeks (or months) of searching, you may be tempted to take the first job you are offered. But wait…

In addition to deciding the role is a good fit, I highly recommend considering the complete financial package. In other words, what is the company offering you in addition to the base salary?

Did You Know?

Employee benefit packages can be valued at nearly 25% of your base salary. For example, if you are offered a job at $40,000 per year it is possible your benefits can cost you an additional $10,000 per year. This is not something to overlook!

So What Should You Do?

When we hear employee benefits, we often think medical and dental care – which are generally your highest out-of-pocket expenses. However, start considering even more employee benefits before officially signing on that dotted line.

Your Employee Benefits 

Medical, Dental, & Eye Care
The most sought after benefits – let’s say our bare minimum. Carefully review the companies health package for ways to decrease your expenses. For example, if the company offers a high deductible plan (HDHP), do they also offer a Flexible Savings Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA)? These accounts help cover any out-of-pocket expenses before the insurance company will pay a claim.

Additionally, ask about the insurance companies they offer. If you’re in the middle of braces or a highly attached to your gynecologist, you may loose access to these doctors if they become out of network.

Retirement Plan, 401(k)
If you don’t plan on working forever, you’ll want to start saving for retirement early in your career. Does your employer offer a retirement account, and will the company also be contributing to your retirement savings? Sometimes an employer contribution is guaranteed, and other times an employer will match your contribution until a certain limit, say 3% of your annual salary. Be sure to understand any vesting schedule, or how many years until you are entitled to employer contributions. Some employers can even take back a percentage of what they contribute if you leave the company after a certain time!

Paid Time Off (PTO)
Cabo anyone? A girl needs her paid time off to travel, attend events, or even fight the flu. Ask how many vacation, personal, and sick days you are allowed to take each year. Additionally, it will be nice to know which, if any, public holidays the company observes. Imagine having to show up on Christmas??? #beenthere.

Continuing Education 
For many of us, education is an ongoing journey. Is your potential employer concerned about furthering your education, and are there ways to support this? For example, do they assist with continuing education classes for current certification? Do they fund courses for obtaining new certifications? Is there an opportunity (or even an expectation) for higher education? If so, what type of commitment is required? As cushy as a free masters degree sounds, there may be some less appealing fine print.

Moving Bonus & Sign-on Bonus
If you’ll be relocating to a new state or even a new country, will the company cover moving expenses? Do they offer other incentives for joining the team? Don’t forget… bonuses are taxed! So that $5000 you were looking oh so forward to just became $3,750 (and that’s being generous).

Don’t forget… bonuses are taxed! So that $5000 you were looking oh so forward to just became $3,750

Fitness, Food, & Transportation 
If working out is important to you, ask if the company has an onsite gym or offers a monthly stipend for fitness. Does the company provide lunch, snacks, or coffee? If you’re working late, can you expect a complimentary dinner or transportation home? More importantly… consider your daily commute and whether the company will cover rail costs or parking.

Miscellaneous Perks
Dry Cleaning Services, Company Retreats, Sporting Events, Client Dinners, Massages, Investment/Real Estate Advice, Nail/Hair Care, Happy Hour Socials, Therapy, Cell Phone… the list is endless. Pull back the curtain on the company and make sure you’re really getting your monies (TIME) worth. You’d be surprised to find some hidden perks that can be a total game changer.

You’re an important person, and you should be treated like one! Make sure you are being valued by considering the employee benefits you deserve.

Adulting ain’t easy, but we gotchu… Join The Clique TODAY!

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