A fruitful result of all the hours you’ve spent to find, network, and interview for that perfect job. It’s natural to want to just sign on the dotted line. You’re eager to begin your new job and continue your path to achieve your goals and be successful.
A major factor in your decision to take the job might be the annual salary you’ll earn.
And while the first think you think of might be the annual salary you earn, it is important you also take a look at the employee benefits package offered to you. Your employee benefits package is a significant component of your overall compensation package and plays an important part in you and your family’s life.
For that reason, the employee benefits package you are offered should be a huge factor in your decision to take the job.
It’s important to consider all benefits you’ll receive and what they could mean for your life’s goals.
Today, we talk about some of the factors you should consider when evaluating a job’s employee benefits package.
Let’s begin with the types of benefits you may see in an typical employee benefits package.
Types of Employee Benefits
The law requires employers to provide employees with certain benefits. Employers must:
• Give you time off to vote, serve on a jury, and perform military service.
• Comply with all workers’ compensation requirements.
• Withhold FICA taxes from your paychecks and pay their own portion of FICA taxes, providing you with retirement and disability benefits.
• Pay state and federal unemployment taxes, thus providing benefits for unemployed workers.
• Contribute to state short-term disability programs in states where such programs exist.
• Comply with the Federal Family and Medical Leave (FMLA).
Employers are not required to provide you benefits such as:
- Health plans
- Dental plans
- Vision plans
- Life insurance
- Disability insurance
- Paid vacations or holidays
- Sick leave
- Retirement plans
In reality, however, most companies offer some or all of these benefits to stay competitive.
Most likely you’ll be offered many of these benefits along with your annual salary.
Why Is Your Employee Benefits Package So Important?
One of the most valuable components of a good employee benefits package is health insurance. A serious illness or health problem can bankrupt even individuals earning a six-figure salary. Unpaid medical bills are among the leading causes of bankruptcies in America.
Workers compensation, a federally required benefit, only covers you if you have a work related health condition or a disabling accident on the job. The reality is most accidents don’t happen at work. Less than five percent of disabling accidents and illnesses are work-related.
Social Security, another mandated benefit, will only cover you if you cannot work in any capacity and that your disability has lasted or will last for at least one year. According to the Social Security Administration’s website: “The definition of disability under Social Security is different from other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.”
65 percent of initial SSDI claim applications were denied in 2012. Even if your Social Security and workers compensation applications are approved, chances are the average monthly benefit paid to you won’t be enough to cover all your expenses.
An employee benefits package which includes health and disability insurance can help you prepare for the unexpected. Good benefits give you peace of mind that if an accident or illness happened to you, you’d be financially okay. A comprehensive employee benefits package is also a sign that the company cares about the health and well-being of its employees.
Vacation time, sick days, and holidays are important because these days allow you to spend quality time with your loved ones or rest and recuperate if you become ill.
Questions To Ask About Your Employee Benefits Package
Here are some questions you should ask about your employee benefit package, based on what’s important to you and your family.
Medical, Dental, and Vision Plans: What type of plan is offered and what expenses are covered? Who is covered? If you don’t have a family yet, can a spouse or future children be added to the plan when the time comes? Are there are any deductibles or co-pays you’ll have to fund yourself for a medical, dental, or vision plan? Are there any annual or lifetime maximums for any of the plans?
Life Insurance: What will you pay in monthly premiums? How much and what type of coverage do you have? Is it enough to cover your final expenses and protect your family financially in the event of an unexpected tragedy? If not, are their options or any limitations to purchase additional insurance within the plan?
Disability Insurance: What is included in your short-term disability insurance? What is included in your long-term disability coverage? What is the percentage amount of salary paid if you become disabled and unable to work? Will that percentage change over time?
Vacation: How many days off are you allowed in your first year? Can days be taken off before they are earned? What are the maximum number of days off you are allowed at one time? Do your vacation days expire if you don’t use them in a certain time frame or can you carry them over to the next year? How many years do you have to work with the company before you earn additional vacation time?
Holidays: Besides the standard holidays like Christmas Day and Independence Day, are there any other holidays? Does the company offer any floater days, days that you can use at your discretion?
Sick/Personal days: What is the company policy on sick and personal days? How many sick and personal days do you get in a year?
Retirement plans: Does your company offer a retirement plan like a 401(k)plan and/or pension plan? Is there a percentage or dollar amount that your employer will match? What is the amount of time it takes to vest the company matching portion of the plan?
Profit sharing: Does the company have a profit sharing plan? What is the percentage or dollar amount that you’ll receive if the company is profitable?
Use these questions as a guide to help you decide what employee benefits package is right for you.
It is important to consider all components of a job offer-the work itself, the salary, and the employee benefits package before signing on the dotted line.