Benefits are programs that employers have for their employees in addition to compensation (salary and other financial considerations.) Common benefits packages include:
Health insurance: Most countries have a system of employer based healthcare. Employers purchase health insurance for their employees at group rates and then pass that benefit on to their employee. Employers will often offer health insurance for the employee and their families. Health insurance may also cover Dental and Vision related costs as well.
Vacation: Time off and personal days are typically part of company’s benefits package.
Disability Insurance: Employers give employees disability insurance to guard against temporary health problems or life changes. Disability insurance is commonly limited by a certain term – it is a stop-gap for a period of time in which the employee is unable to work due to a health or family emergency. The insurance is usually divided into two plans: short-term disability insurance and long-term disability insurance.
401K Plan: Many employers allow their employees to contribute to retirement plans on a pre-tax basis. Employers often “match” the employees contributions based on percentage and/or company performance.
Pension: Pensions are fixed future contributions that an employer will make upon the employee’s retirement. Pension programs are being phased out throughout many corporations, moving to favor 401K programs.
Wellness Programs: Programs to support employee health such as gym memberships, quitting smoking assistance, sports packages and other health related services.
Other benefits may include relocation assistance, flexible spending accounts, long term care assistance, bereavement leave, life insurance, adoption assistance, and transportation benefits.
Benefits are typically included as a separate attachment in an employee’s offer letter. It is very important for recruiters to talk to candidates up front about the benefits offered by an organization. Too often, compensation is discussed, but items such as vacation and retirement plans are left until the very end of the hiring negotiation. Recruiters and candidates should be transparent about the benefits currently enjoyed and those offered, so that there are no surprises far along in the hiring process.