Employee benefits are various types of compensation which companies provide to employees on top of their salary. Some benefits are required by law, such as unemployment insurance, family and medical leave, or a certain number of vacation days per year. The types and extent of mandatory benefits vary across countries.
Many employers, especially big corporations, provide their employees with additional benefits besides those required by law. They use them as a way to attract and retain the best talent and distinguish themselves from their competitors on the job market. The following are the most common examples of employee benefits.
Health care and wellness
Employers know that by keeping their workers healthy they can reduce sickness absence and improve productivity. Employees also value health care benefits highly, for obvious reasons. Examples include private medical insurance, dental or vision plans or on-site health checks and scans. Many employees also enjoy fitness facilities and wellness programs.
Pensions and insurance
Many companies provide their employees with pension plans and other kinds of retirement savings and investment programs. Sometimes employees also receive free financial and investment advice. Various types of insurance are also popular as employee benefits – for example life insurance, disability insurance or unemployment insurance. Some of these are required by law in many countries.
Childcare, parking and practical things
Some benefits are designed to make the workday routine easier. Many employers provide regular or emergency childcare or give their employees childcare vouchers. Another kind of benefits which can save a lot of time is free parking or designated garage spaces, which can be extremely precious in centres of big cities.
Food and drinks
Providing free refreshments and drinks on-site can reduce the time wasted by employees going out to buy snacks. Bigger companies often have entire canteens, while others provide their employees with lunch vouchers.
Flexible hours and time off
Being able to adjust working hours to their personal needs or even having the possibility to work from home on some days are other examples of increasingly popular benefits. Many companies also offer extra vacation days, family leave or sick leave, on top of those required by law.
Some companies don’t limit themselves to merely giving their workers extra days off, but also contribute to funding their holidays or hotel stays. Others organize weekend trips and team-building activities, which are somewhere at the border between leisure and work.
Free language courses and various seminars, which can be more or less related to the job skills, are other common examples of employee benefits. Some companies pay for their employees’ industry qualifications and certificates and may even give them paid or unpaid leave for exam preparation.
Freebies and discounts
Many companies offer their employees free or discounted products and services. Often they are the company’s own products. For example, if you work for a chocolate producer, you may get a lot of free chocolate. If you work for a car-maker, you are unlikely to get a free car, but you may get a discount if you choose to buy one. Alternatively, they are products by the company’s partners or simply things which many people enjoy, like phones, magazine subscriptions or tickets to cultural or sporting events.
Some employers come up with unconventional benefits, like playgrounds and game rooms or free scooters to ride around the premises. Although unemployment is at high levels in many countries, companies understand that to attract and retain the best people they often need to go the extra mile.