What are the best employee benefits?
Individuals working over 40 hours per week deserve to have a job that they love. People often consider their job perks to be the reason why they love their job, and research suggests employee benefits may be more valuable to workers than their salary.
What is an employee benefit?
An employee benefit is a non-wage compensation that is given in addition to a salary. Companies offering generous employee benefit packages are likely to carry a reputation for being a good place to work.
Health insurance is a common employee benefit but is not a universally provided. As of 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that “medical care benefits were available to 70 percent of civilian workers.” Meaning nearly one-third of American workers do not receive health insurance through their employer. Demand for quality health insurance is high; medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy.
If your business does not currently offer health insurance, this is an exceptional opportunity for you to provide one of the most important types of coverage for your employees.
Paid Time Off
Like insurance, vacation days, sick time, and PTO (personal or paid time off) are a sought after employee benefit. PTO encourages workers to take time off which has been proven to improve workers’ health and actually increase productivity. The average number of PTO days received by worker in the United States is 10, though it should be noted that almost one-fourth of the country’s workers do not receive any paid vacation time.
In terms of how we stack up, a Gusto study found that “the United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacations.” Most countries in Europe, by comparison, have rules that require companies to provide at least 20 paid days per year. The U.S. is gradually catching up as more companies are starting to offer unlimited PTO.
Shorter Work Weeks
Offering paid time off is great, except 52 percent of American workers don’t use all of their vacation time. Some employers are shortening their work weeks, forcing people to take time off. The World Wildlife Fund, for example, provides “Panda Fridays” for their employees, in which every other Friday is a paid day off. Their benefits rating on Glassdoor has a rating of 4.5 out of 5, unsurprisingly.
Student Loan Assistance Benefits
The national student debt currently stands at USD1.5 trillion, creating a demand for student loan assistance benefits. 70 percent of today’s college students graduate with an average loan balance around USD37,000, a balance that will take between 15 and 18 years for those graduates to repay.
Employees living healthy lifestyles are believed to have lower absenteeism rates and greater productivity. Many employers provide opportunities for their employees to work on their fitness, including company gyms or discounted gym memberships. A number of companies feature fitness classes, so that employees can take a break from their day to enjoy a yoga or pilates class. Some even hire personal trainers.
But the fitness fun doesn’t stop there — companies like Burton, a renowned supplier of snowboards and winter sport equipment, gear, and clothing, give their employees free ski passes, as well as “snow days” to go enjoy the slopes after a fresh snowfall. Additionally, REI gives employees two paid days off to enjoy their favorite outdoor activity.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
Taking time off to care for a new child is important to both parents. Many European nations offer months — sometimes up to a year — of paid leave for new parents. In the United States, parental leave is much shorter. On average, mothers only take 2.8 weeks of paid leave. Legally, maternity leave can last up to 12 weeks, however that time is generally unpaid.
More American companies are trying to rectify these leaves. Netflix gives one paid year of both maternity andpaternity leave. Spotify also provides a good amount of time, offering six months paid parental leave. Glassdoor reports that after the six months is up, parents can have flexible work options that make it easy to take time off or meet their child’s needs as they are able.
General Wellness Opportunities
Employers recognize the benefit of providing financial, emotional, and mental wellness experiences for their employees. Stress-free, happy, and healthy workers are more productive and less likely to change jobs.
Small incentives can have big returns. Things like bringing in a masseuse, a chiropractor, or an acupuncturist a couple times each year can encourage employees to continue visiting stress relief providers. Spa discounts, meditation training, and even standing desks and help employees cope with their work-related stress.
80 percent of employees would rather receive better benefits than a pay raise. Finding the best benefits possible falls on the employer.
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16 July 2018