Just a few years ago, an office pingpong table was a trendy way to improve employee retention and culture. Now, employers offer a wide array of practical and unique benefits.
Offering benefits can be a creative way for your employer to compensate you if it can’t afford to pay you more. These perks also can be a useful tool in your negotiations before you accept a job offer.
Here are four notable benefits offered by innovative companies and some ideas for how you can get your employer to add them to your package.
1. Enjoy a free, paid vacation
Some employers are so committed to making sure employees use their vacation time that they pay for trips once a year.
Utah-based BambooHR has paid for employees to take trips to Paris and Disneyland as well as tropical locations. The company reimburses employees up to $2,000 for expenses under what it calls a “paid, paid vacation” benefit.
“My wife and I have four kids, and as any parent knows, there’s a difference between shepherding kids on a trip and relaxing on a vacation,” said Brian Anderson, HR content creator at BambooHR. “My first ‘paid, paid vacation’ let me take my wife to Oregon on our first kid-free vacation in 12 years.”
Other employers take a different approach to get workers to take time off: vacation savings accounts.
Services such as 401(play) help employers provide these plans to employees, who can earmark part of each paycheck to save for vacation.
Greg Nickolson, founder of (401)play, said he knows of one employer that gives each employee $5 per pay period toward a vacation savings plan. “The message from the employer is that ‘dinner’s on us,'” Nickolson said.
2. Get free Uber or Lyft rides after a night out
In addition to offering traditional health and wellness benefits, C3 Metrics — headquartered in New Hampshire — pays for Uber or Lyft rides for employees.
“We had an employee who had a DUI and realized the impact that had on business operations,” said Joel Breen, the company’s managing director. “It was better to protect the team from poor choices than deal with the fallout of a DUI.”
Breen said the company doesn’t share the average monthly cost of the program per employee.
“We have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” said Breen. “If people have to explain why, they may not take advantage. We just want them to be safe.”
3. Have your pet needs covered
Pet owners know the costs of having a fur baby add up. It can be stressful and distracting to think about how to take care of your animal, especially if it puts you in a precarious financial situation.
“With more than two-thirds of American households owning at least one pet, our dogs and cats are now tried-and-true members of American families,” said Scott Liles, president and chief pet insurance officer for Ohio-based Nationwide. “Companies are looking for new ways to recruit and retain top talent. Offering pet health insurance can aid in the recruitment and retention of pet-owning associates.”
Pet insurance can run as high as about $70 monthly for dog coverage but averages about $40 a month, depending on the breed, age, and medical history of your canine.
Like health insurance, pet insurance policies vary. Some policies include dental, while others include emergency care. Some even cover reward money and advertising costs if your pet is missing.
Employees with company-offered pet insurance can get access to lower rates because their employer can negotiate pricing with the insurance provider. Many providers, including Nationwide, allow pet insurance to be deducted from your paycheck.
4. Find perks that allow for more fun — and free time
Most people need to find a way to unwind. That’s why Texas-based car insurance comparison site The Zebra will pay for you to “treat yo’self.”
Through this benefit, employees get a monthly stipend to do nice things for themselves.
“Some people have applied the amount to plane tickets they’ve bought,” said Dillan Bryant, director of people at The Zebra. “Some people use it for dinner party ingredients. Some people treat themselves with a massage or an exercise class. It really depends on whatever floats your boat.”
The Zebra also pays for a cleaning service for its employees. The total monthly cost for these unique benefits is $100. That adds up to $1,200 a year in extra perks as well as countless hours you don’t have to spend cleaning.
Use benefits as a negotiating tool
While unique benefits may be shiny jewels that draw prospective employees through the door, it’s important to take the time to evaluate how the benefits and salary will combine to advance your financial goals.
“Too often, people are only looking at salary when they’re taking a look at an offer and not examining the benefits that go along with it,” said career and finance coach Sophia Bera. “If you’re not doing the math, you’re not going to be able to compare that offer apples to apples with another offer — or you might not be able to understand everything your company has to offer.”
Bera recommends first focusing on the nuts-and-bolts benefits before factoring in the more exciting offerings some employers provide.
“A lot of companies … are trying to do these fancy benefits,” Bera said. But she insists they’re only valuable if they’re offered on top of standard benefits.
After that, Bera said the best approach is to negotiate benefits that put you in a better position but don’t cost your employer top dollar.
Extra vacation time and work-from-home days are a good place to start. “I think that’s one of the easiest things you can negotiate,” said Bera.
Company benefits are a useful tool that can help you save money and budget for the future. Negotiating with your employer for benefits that create win-win scenarios for everyone will help you live a happier life and set you up for more success.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.49% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
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3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.48% effective April 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.49% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 6.65%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.41%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.11%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|