When you accept a new job, you tend to focus on the big picture. Your new salary, your number of vacation days, and the hours of your work week are some of the biggest things you will think about with your new position.
But nowadays, there are so many additional perks that employees are offered, and oftentimes they aren’t even aware of what they are missing. Whether you just started a new job or you’ve had a steady job for years, there may be benefits available to you that you are not using to your advantage.
Here we will look at some employee benefits that you may be missing out on.
In order to determine exactly what benefits are available to you, it is important to look carefully through all employee paperwork you receive. If you have any questions, your human resources department should be able to answer any and all questions about your using your employee benefits. Below are some of the most common employee benefits.
Employer Contribution Matching Programs
Many companies will match your contributions for retirement plans, such as 401(k)s. This will vary greatly from company to company, but the two most common matching programs are partial matching and dollar for dollar matching.
- Partial Matching: Your employer will match part of the money that you put in. This depends greatly on your particular plan, but it is common for employers to match 50% of your contributions. This is usually capped at 6% of your salary (they will contribute up to 3% of your salary).
- Dollar for dollar matching: Your employer will match your contributions in full up to a certain amount. If you are dollar for dollar up to 3%, your employer will match only up to 3% of your salary.
With either of these matching programs, if you are not contributing to your retirement plan, you are missing out on free money. It can be hard to budget for this type of savings, but if it is possible you should definitely take advantage.
Health Savings Accounts
There are three main types of Health Savings Accounts that may be available to you: HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs.
- HSAs: In recent years employers have found it more cost effective to switch to higher deductible health insurance plans, which means that employees have to pay more out of pocket for their health care. This is where HSAs come in and can be very beneficial. These accounts are owned by the employee, and contributions can come from the employer and the employee. Money is placed tax-free in an account and can be used for qualified medical expenses. These are only available if you have a high deductible plan. Many companies will contribute money per year to offset the higher deductibles.
- FSAs: FSA’s are used in conjunction with health insurance plans. The accounts are owned by the employer and deductions are taken from paychecks as tax-free contributions. Employees can be reimbursed out of this account for qualified medical expenses.
- HRAs: These accounts are set up by the employer to offset medical expenses. Employers are the only contributors to these types of accounts, so you cannot add your own contributions. This money can be rolled over from year to year, so if you don’t use the total amount one year you can use it the following year.
Employers may offer one or all of these account options, so do your research and decide what will work best for you and your family.
Certain employers will offer legal group plans that can provide discounted rates for legal services. Participating firms will assist employees with many types of legal issues, from preparing a will to disputing insurance claims. Legal fees can add up quickly, so discounted legal help is a great benefit.
Life insurance is something that most young people do not think about acquiring, but if your employer offers it, you should definitely consider enrolling. The sooner you get life insurance, the more beneficial it will be to you in the long run. The earlier your contributions begin, the more you can accumulate in the account. If you get life insurance through your company, it may be free. Many companies guarantee one year’s salary in insurance if the employee enrolls. You can contribute additionally to this amount, and it is usually pre-tax. Life insurance is especially worth considering if you have a family or are the main provider in your household.
Look into the disability insurance policy that your employer offers. Disability insurance can help you recover up to 70% of your missed salary in the case that something happens to you and you are out of work for a period of time. If you are able to pay your premiums with pre tax income, then it is definitely worth considering. If you are injured and unable to work without disability insurance, you will have to rely on your savings account, and it could be very harmful to your financial health.
Dependent Care Options
Your employer may offer dependent care FSAs. This means that you can set aside pre-tax money for reimbursement for child care or disable adult care. These accounts typically don't roll over funds from year to year, so it is important to determine how much money you will use for childcare per year and to not overshoot your estimate. This can save you money if you rely on daycare or have a nanny.
Additional Employee Benefits
Your employer may offer many more types of benefits to employees. Some additional benefits may include:
- Free gym membership
- Tuition reimbursement or support
- Free parking
- Professional development programs
Read carefully through your employee handbook or guide to determine if there are any other benefits that you could be utilizing.
Check to see which of your benefits can roll over from one job to another. If benefits do not rollover, such as FSAs, then time isn’t a factor as much. But if some benefits do rollover from job to job, like life insurance, the earlier you take advantage of the programs the more beneficial they are.
Don’t miss out on the employee benefits that may be available to you.
Most employers offer some, if not all, of the benefits described above. Too many employees do not take advantage of these benefits and they miss out on saving loads of money. Maximize your employee benefits by researching what your company offers and discussing your options with your family.
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