8 Types of Employee Benefits

As the workforce continues to open up and more jobs are becoming available, many professionals are starting or renewing their job searches. Whether you have already received a job offer or are starting to apply for job positions, it’s important to be aware of the different types of employee benefits and what is available to you by a particular employer.

Employee benefits are important and often are highlighted by hiring managers to help sweeten a job offer. Due to the changes the pandemic has brought to the workplace, workers are also now more alert to what benefits organizations offer. When starting a new job, read through all of your paperwork carefully and ask the human resources department for more details if necessary. It’s important to be informed, since sometimes some benefits don’t kick in until after a certain time frame. There also may be other benefits available that you are underutilizing.

Read on for a list of common benefits employers may offer and what kind of benefits you should consider as you search for your next job.

Health Insurance

One of the top benefits that organizations offer is health insurance. However, health insurance benefits can vary depending on the size of the organization, the industry and your time at the organization. Some organizations will only cover basic costs, while others include dental and eye care. Make sure to find out what kinds of doctor’s appointments are covered under your insurance and if your employer covers all of the premiums or if you will need to pay a percentage.

It is also important to find out when your coverage will start after you begin working at your new job. Some organizations require an employee to work for 90 days before getting health insurance coverage, so you may want to consider taking out a short-term policy if you find you will be without health insurance when starting a new job.

[SEE: 10 Companies Offering Health Insurance to Part-Time Workers.]

Retirement Benefits

Other common employee benefits include retirement benefits. Retirement plans can greatly differ, but a common benefit is a 401(k), since many companies no longer offer pension plans. When analyzing the 401(k) plan that your company offers, find out what percentage of your salary you can set aside and what your investment options are. Also, many employers will match employee contributions up to a certain amount.

Disability Insurance

Disability insurance is also an important benefit that many companies offer. This is different from worker’s compensation insurance, which covers accidents that may happen while working. Disability insurance covers accidents, illnesses or injuries that happen off the clock that prevent an employee from working.

Keep in mind that disability insurance coverage will cover a percentage of an employee’s salary, so make sure you are aware of the percentage that the company provides to you. Additionally, find out if your company provides both short-term and long-term disability insurance and how long each of those terms lasts.

Life Insurance

Life insurance, which covers funeral expenses and other costs, is also a benefit that employers offer. Sometimes this can be automatic when you start working at a new company, and other times you will have to sign up to receive this benefit; speak with your HR department for details. You can also find out how much of a premium your employer covers and if you can purchase additional coverage.

Vacation Time

Many employers also offer paid vacation time to contribute to employee wellness. Some companies may also offer personal days, sick days or other forms of paid time off. This benefit and the terms will vary by state, so check with your HR department for more information about this benefit.

[See: The 25 Best Jobs of 2021.]

Flextime

With the changes that the pandemic has brought to the workforce, more organizations are offering flextime, or flexible start and end times to an employee’s workday. Some companies are even considering hybrid in-office and work-from-home arrangements for their employees. Ask about what plans your organization currently offers and what they are putting in place. Your manager or the HR department may be able to provide you with more details.

Additional Education

Some organizations offer training or reimbursement for continued employee education. Speak with your manager about what programs are available to you through your company. If your organization doesn’t currently offer any in-house training, perhaps they would cover any training you may need to continue your career growth.

Child Care Benefits

With many employees returning to the office after the coronavirus pandemic, child care benefits will become more important to professionals with children. Ask whether a company provides flexible work schedules in case of child care emergencies. Some organizations may offer dependent care flexible spending accounts, which provide tax-free money for child care expenses. Some bigger companies may even provide on-site child care or tuition discounts.

[READ: Why Is It Taking So Long to Hear Back After an Interview?]

What Benefits to Consider When Job Searching

Each job seeker is unique, so the benefits you want to consider will depend on what is important to you. For example, if you want to make sure you and your family will be comfortable, a retirement fund may be more important to you. If you have an autoimmune disease, a good health insurance plan may be a priority to you. When you are negotiating a job offer, remember that you can also negotiate your benefits. For example, you may be able to negotiate starting a retirement fund earlier or at a better percentage.

Many benefits are not required by law, but companies offer them to promote employee well-being and show that they care about their employees. If you find that the company you are interviewing with doesn’t offer any benefits, this may be a telling sign that the company isn’t really interested in their employees or that it is struggling financially, so it may not be a good place for you to grow professionally. The coronavirus pandemic has brought to light the importance of employee well-being, so consider if a job and its benefits package will be a good fit for you in the long term.

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8 Types of Employee Benefits originally appeared on usnews.com

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