- Wise Words -
Benefit From Your Workplace Benefits
by Lexie Dy
There’s a famous line from the 1967 movie, The Graduate, where someone at a party advises the newly graduated man, “I have just one word for you—plastics.” Fast forward fifty-plus years and the word now for the newly graduated may well be, “benefits.”
Early Stage Professionals is a great resource for anyone entering or newly entered into the workforce. They offer a multitude of resources to help workers grow and thrive in today’s job markets. Here, they offer tips on what employers might offer to attract the best and brightest and what employees can expect to find in the new employment landscape.
With unemployment at record lows, even for less-educated Americans, employers seem to be pulling out all the stops to hire and retain qualified employees. Yes, pay may still be the number one draw, but a very close cousin to that, and some would argue even more valuable to many job seekers, is benefits.
What the Employer is Required to Offer by Law
A great deal of what we think of as a normal benefit, like paid time off for illness or accident, is actually not a benefit required by law. In fact, the only benefits the federal government mandates that employers provide are payments into Federal Income, Social Security, Unemployment, and Disability taxes. Your employer is required to hold your job for you for jury duty or family medical leave, but that is only for employers who have fifty or more workers, and you are not guaranteed to be paid for those days.
In addition, a company with fifty or more employees is required to offer their employees medical insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but again, smaller businesses are exempt from that.
The Benefits Every Employer Should be Offering to Attract Employees
Paid leave is the benefit most job seekers are asking for and expecting. Any employer not offering paid leave will more than likely not be able to attract the best workers. Paid holidays, sick days, and personal time off are benefits most qualified job seekers expect their prospective employers to offer.
In addition to those paid leaves, most job seekers are looking for employers who offer paid vacation time. The average for most small businesses is 10 days.
Another benefit many job seekers are expecting their employer to offer is an opportunity to participate in a 401k investment program. A portion of the worker’s pre-tax pay would be invested into a group investment account. Many larger employers match that amount in part and sometimes in whole.
Optional benefits that are more common now too, include dental and vision care, health savings accounts, and life insurance.
Additional Smart Benefits Employers Should Be Offering
Tuition reimbursement. This is a benefit that is a one-hundred percent win/win. The employee gets an education that can help them improve their skills to be even more valuable to the company. It also allows them to move up the corporate ladder, increasing their own status and pay.
And with the availability of online classes, the employee doesn’t even have to take time from work to complete their education, though some employers are allowing for a few hours of either paid or unpaid time off to complete assignments. Employees who have been recently laid off can take advantage of online classes, too, while job seeking.
A few more out-of-the-box ideas for employers wishing to attract qualified individuals can be offering benefits like in-house child care, which also has the benefit of reducing employees’ needs for time off for child-care-related issues. Additional win/win benefits can be things like:
● A paid membership to a local gym, yoga, tai-chi, or pilates studio nearby.
● Bonuses for those engaged in healthy lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or reducing their weight and cholesterol to a more healthy number.
● Offering a break room or dining hall where healthy meals and snacks are offered free of charge.
Whether you’re an employer trying to find and retain your very best. Or you’re a job seeker searching for a company that puts its money where its mouth is regarding the value they place on employee well-being, I have one word for you, “benefits.”