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Are you Taking Full Advantage of Your Employer Benefits?

Want to know an often underrated part of working for a company?

The Additional Employer Benefits.

What do I mean?

These are the additional things that you receive, or have the option to receive, just by working there!

Most people when they hear benefits often immediately only think of the Medical Plan(s).

This is understandable, as this is a major expense for most people.

However, many employers have so much more that they offer to employees!

At the other end of the spectrum, many people work for companies that don’t offer great benefits.

Some have plans that are too expensive or they simply don’t offer them, period.

This can be a major differentiator when choosing a job, sometimes it’s not just about the salary!

So, do you know all the benefits your employer offers?

I guess the better question is, are you taking advantage of all those benefits?

Not sure? Here is a list of employer benefits that are offered at many companies. Check to see if your’s offers any of these too!

Medical

One of the most widely known employer benefits a company can offer is the Medical Plan. Medical Plans vary extensively from company to company.

This goes for what is covered, as well as how costly they are. Here are some components of Medical Plans, though some of these may be separate and an additional cost:

  • HSA
  • FSA
  • Vision
  • Dental
  • Disability (Short-Term & Long Term)
  • Insurances
    • Life Insurance (Employee, Spouse, Child)
    • Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance
    • Business Travel Accident (BTA) Insurance

Check to see if your employer offers these! If you so choose, most of these can be paid for pre-tax, thus helping you pay lower taxes.

Some companies will contribute to these even if you don’t, so it’s definitely worth seeing what they cover.

401K/403b Match

This can be an amazing benefit if your company offers a 401K match or any kind of match for your pre-tax retirement account.

Companies can match any percentage, though typically if offered you’ll see it somewhere in the single digits.

Take note of your employer’s policy as this is free (pre-tax) money people!

If you max out your 401K as well as get some employer match, this would be the best case for your pre-tax investment accounts, and could save you a lot in taxes.

Time Away from Work

Many employers offer various benefits to help employees if they ever need to take time off from the company. These include:

  • Paid Time Off (PTO)
  • Holidays
  • Parental Leave
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Family/Medical Leave
  • Military Reserve Duty/Active Duty

Most, if not all, of these are types of Leave from the company where you will still get paid (or partially paid) even though you are not actively working.

Everyone knows about PTO and Holidays, though some companies are more generous than others. Who isn’t always planning around these!?

Parental Leave is where new mothers and/or fathers will still get paid by the employer for a certain amount of time after the birth of a child. This is much more common in countries outside of the US.

Bereavement Leave is where you can get a short time off (usually a couple days) due to a death in the family.

Family/Medical Leave is typically unpaid, but very useful if dealing with a major issue where you need to take time off.

Military Reserve Duty is awesome for those in the reserves. This is where people can be paid the difference of their regular pay and reserve unit pay for up to a certain amount of weeks.

For employees that go on Active Duty when employed, this policy can also help pay the difference in salaries for a time, while also guaranteeing their job after Active Duty is finished.

Financial Benefits

Employers may offer other Benefits that can help you out financially depending on your situation. Here are a few:

  • Child Care
  • Employee Discount Program
  • Adoption Assistance
  • Transportation Benefit
  • Free Meals
  • Relocation Benefit

Child Care, in many cases, can be subsidized by your employer and paid for on a pre-tax basis. For many people this can be a big cost so the pre-tax really helps.

An employee discount program refers to any discounts you can get from purchasing regular everyday items! This is definitely worth looking into as you can save in so many areas.

Adoption Assistance can help to cover the expensive fees that come with adoption a child.

Transportation Benefits can really help those who commute without a car. This usually covers if you take a train or metro into work, and this expense can be taken out of your paycheck pre-tax.

Some employers give out free meals for lunch, or dinner if you have to stay past a certain time.

If you ever need to relocate for your job, most times the employer will pay for the full cost. This can be very lucrative, as often times they will give you a lump sum so if you don’t use all of it, you can pocket the rest 🙂

Flexible Work Arrangements

This benefit includes arrangements such as working from home, 9/80 or 4/40 work arrangements.

Working from home (WFH) can be very beneficial, especially if you have kids or a long commute.

9/80 and 4/40 refer to the number of day/hours worked.

For instance, a 9/80 work arrangement consists over a two week period where from Monday-Thursday you work 9 hours a day. Then on the first Friday you work 8 hours, while the second Friday you have completely off.

4/40 is similar where you just work Monday-Thursday for 10 hours a day and get every Friday off.

In both options you still work the mandated 80 hours over a two week period.

Sounds amazing doesn’t it!?

Check with your supervisor to see if you could do this kind of schedule or WFH on certain days.

Educational Assistance

Many employers offer some type educational assistance to their employees.

Partially paying or paying for all of secondary (or graduate) school can be a huge benefit to help add to your own skills.

This in turn can help lead to a promotion or raise and/or make you more marketable to other companies.

In addition, if you have a child going to school, many employers offer scholarships that can help to pay for their schooling.

Charitable Giving

If you regularly contribute to charities, some employers allow you to send a portion of your paycheck automatically. This way you don’t even have to send it over yourself.

In addition, many companies offer matching gifts. If you donate $100 to your charity, your company may also send the full value or a part of that to the charity as well.

This is free money to the charity!

Most employers you need to sign up for this benefit so make sure you look into it and sign up!

Severance

Lastly, a severance package can be crucial if you’re trying to leave a company or you get laid off.

This can help you to cover expenses while looking for a different job.

Most companies have strict guidelines on what qualifies you for their severance program, so this is definitely worth researching.

I’ve heard of several FIRE bloggers attempt to get “fired” once they hit FI so they can get the severance package… Not sure what their results were but if they were already walking away they likely didn’t need it anyways 🙂

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Wow that’s a long list!

Many people have no idea just how many employer benefits they really have.

When you have time, make sure to take a look at ALL the benefits your employer offers, and try to maximize them as best you can!

8 thoughts to “Are you Taking Full Advantage of Your Employer Benefits?”

  1. Having seen your latest Instagram post, now I’m even more upset that travel isn’t a thing that happens with my job. I know work travel isn’t as glamorous as it’s sometimes made out to be, but it’s still an opportunity to visit somewhere different!

    Hah my employer doesn’t offer many of these things, but at least they’re covering 100% of the cost of my health insurance this year and we get decent sick/vacation day allowances (although I could always use more vacation time!), plus a generous retirement match. And also, in case anyone didn’t take this to heart, ALWAYS CONTRIBUTE ENOUGH TO YOUR RETIREMENT TO GET THE EMPLOYER MATCH. DO NOT GIVE UP THAT FREE MONEY!!!

    1. Yes work travel can have its moments! But definitely isn’t nearly as fun during the actual work week haha.

      The 100% of health insurance costs is a great benefit though! And I totally should have bolded that whole retirement contributions part!!

  2. Good post, a job is much more than just a paycheck. For me, my employer doesn’t offer a 401(k). I contribute fully to my Roth IRA and funnel most of my savings to my brokerage account. I’m also opening a HSA this year. My employer picks up the bulk of my health insurance premium, all of the dental and all of the vision so that’s a very nice benefit, especially working for a small business where the insurance pool isn’t nearly as large (which drives down premiums for larger companies).

    1. Ah that’s a bummer you don’t have a pretax retirement account but you’re definitely doing the right steps in the absence of one. The lower health insurance premium is awesome! I know many people working at small businesses aren’t nearly as fortunate

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