At many companies, salaried employees receive a variety of benefits such as health insurance, sick days, and 401k matching. While these are available to lots of people, many tend to not use them.
Often it’s because they simply don’t know the benefits available; others don’t use them because they feel that using sick days is bad or that they don’t have the money to pay a doctor’s co-pay or contribute to a retirement fund.
Whatever’s stopping you from using your benefits, now’s the time to realize that they are there for you to use and count as a part of your salary.
Know Your Benefits
Take the time to read through your benefits and speak with an employee in the HR department so you know the extent of your benefits.
You should be aware of all co-pays and restrictions of your health insurance, how many sick and vacation days you receive, and any other benefits your company provides that you may not know about. HR is there to help you, so ask them any questions you have and make yourself aware of what’s available to you.
Get Regular Check-ups
Preventative health care is a necessity and can keep you from having much bigger complications in the long run. You should go to the doctor and dentist at least once a year to ensure that there are no minor problems that could turn into major ones without the proper care.
Most health insurance includes preventative care because it’s cheaper for the company to keep you healthy than it is to fix you after the fact.
Sick? Stay Home!
If you’re not feeling well, you should utilize the sick days you have available to you. Going to work when you’re ill can spread the disease around the office and can prolong your own sickness, which actually causes more lost time and money for the company than if you take a sick day.
Don’t put others at risk and muddle through your day when you feel poorly. Instead, stay home, rest, and get yourself well and healthy so you can do your job.
Retirement Fund Matching
If your benefits include 401k matching, take advantage of it as much as you can. The opportunity to save twice the amount you put in for your future can propel your savings goals forward, allowing you to retire comfortably at the end of your career.
If you make good choices and max out your savings, you can even retire earlier than others because you don’t have to worry about waiting for social security to kick in, giving you more time to enjoy a carefree retirement.
Your benefits are there for you to use and enjoy, so don’t waste the opportunities they give you. Know what’s available to you and use them to keep yourself healthy and get yourself prepared for your future.
If you take advantage of your benefits, you’ll actually be saving your company money in the long term and be giving them better work from a productive employee. Using your benefits helps both you and the company, and there’s no reason not to, so what are you waiting for?
Best Perks of Working with a Startup
Startups are known for their work hard play hard mentality. If you’re out job hunting and the company doesn't offer the basics of these perks, maybe its better to pass them up! The list we compiled is divided up into three different categories: The Basics, Even Better, and WOW! That’s Impressive.
Let’s take a look at the basics first:
- Free coffee, snacks, and beer (yes beer) (Fab, Rent the Runway, Eventbrite, Warby Parker).
- Happy hour! – This is a great way for employees to get to know one another and drink all that free beer (Warby Parker, Rent the Runway, Jetsetter).
- Company clothing – Free clothing to get the name of the startup out there.
- Discounted gym memberships for employees (Fab, Foursquare, Eventbrite).
- Employee discounts on the products and services they offer (ModCloth, Rent the Runway, Thrillist).
- Dressing Casual for Work (Most startup’s will offer this and if they don’t they should).
- Dog-friendly offices (Tumblr, Thrillist, Eventbrite ModCloth).
- Games and activities for employees to take breaks (ping pong tables, pool tables, basketball hoops, etc.) (Foursquare. ZocDoc, Eventbrite, Jetsetter, Warby Parker, Rent the Runway).
Even better perks:
- Lunch catered every day or multiple times a week (Fab, Foursquare Warby Parker, GetGlue, Eventbrite, StumbleUpon, Warby Parker).
- Take a paid vacation for your birthday (Thrillist).
- Matching 401(k)’s (Jetsetter, Tumblr, Foursquare, ModCloth, Rent the Runway, StumbleUpon, Thrillist).
- Accounts for flexible spending (ModCloth, Tumblr).
- Gift certificates for the movies (GetGlue).
- Welcome packages for new employees (ModCloth, Warby Parker).
- Uber credit per month to get employees around (Stumbleupon).
- Team building events such as movie nights (Tumblr).
- Stock options or equity in the company (ModCloth, Eventbrite).
WOW! That’s impressive perks:
- Outstanding dental, medical, and vision packages to cover 100% of employees and dependents medical costs (Foursquare, Birchbox, Fab, Eventbrite, Thrillist).
- Win up to $500 in a weekly raffle (Fab).
- Infinite vacation and sick days (ZocDoc, Thrillist, Foursquare, ModCloth).
- Evernote offers employees a free $1,000.00 for them to go on vacation!
- Free coffee from the coffee shops that are close by, which sends a bill straight to the company (Jetsetter).
- Massages, acupuncture, and chiropractors sessions every week at the office (Eventbrite).
- Yoga at work (Eventbrite, ModCloth, Tumblr, Rent the Runway, Asana).
- Free iPad (GetGlue).
I’m sure most people would enjoy having these perks at the workplace but do you think some might be a little too perky?
Amazing Benefits Administration for Small Business HR Teams Goes High Tech
HR practitioners for small organizations wear many hats. There are no recruiters, generalists, or payroll specialists to manage employee questions. We are everything for our company. Which is fun! But one big frustration and challenge is HR technologies – they often aligned with or developed enough to meet our needs or budget. Thankfully with some companies that are changing.
Seamless New Hire & Employee Onboarding For Small Business
One area of a small business often lacking efficiencies of big HR tech is benefiting administrative and onboarding. We rely on excel spreadsheets to track employee benefits, and paper checklists to manage new hires. Employees are often handed a stack of paperwork and forms, causing them to be overwhelmed within their first few days.
Some companies have an HR technology DoubleDesk that makes the new hire and onboarding process a breeze, for both me and my new employees. From the moment an offer letter is signed an employee profile and record can be created.
Employees are welcomed with an email (seen to the left) immediately on their first day prompting them to quickly and easily complete their profile, which will automatically generate the forms needed for their employment. This includes benefits applications, W-4, I-9 – even a direct deposit form!
Employees navigate the complex onboarding process in minutes instead of hours and are able to sign their documents electronically. They have the ability for employees to access signed documents and resources through the portal throughout the entire tenure with the company.
Employees can quickly access information about their medical, dental, and vision insurance (seen to the right), as well as company documents like employee handbooks and PTO policies. Selecting your employee benefits package has never been so easy.
High Touch Benefits Administration Goes High Tech
Some companies have their technology goes beyond the onboarding process, providing employees with contact information and resources about their current employee benefits plan offerings.
Have a complex question about which medical plan to select? Contact information for a qualified relationship manager is right in the portal. This is a huge time saver for a multi-tasking HR and also can add value to the team.
What Is The Number One Reason A Startup Company Fails?
It is the team. You can grow your team with talented new hires and retain the talent you've already acquired with employee benefits management services. Finally, a company that understands that teams are made on the talent they can acquire and retain.
You need to recognize that companies often change and grow, and it really is possible to evolve from a startup to a large company in a short timeframe. Therefore, you need to have scalable, innovative benefits solutions along the way.
Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits Program to Save Your Employees’ Money
The federal government is interested in assisting with the cost of your employees’ commute. The “Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit,” described in IRS Section 132, allows employers to make pre-tax payroll deductions to reimburse workers for certain transportation costs.
Making use of this commuter tax benefit may even save the employee additional money, since reducing their income may place them in a lower income tax bracket. And, as an employer, you will save on FICA expenses, since your staff’s taxable income is decreased.
Transportation expenses that qualify
Starting on January 1, 2014, each employee can be reimbursed up to $130 per month for the cost of riding public transit to and from work. Public transit includes buses, trains, subways, and vanpools. Private transportation vehicles are also eligible if they seat more than six passengers and fall within some other restrictions.
The public transit reimbursement level has been lowered by $115 per month in 2014. If the employee drives a personal vehicle to work, they can be reimbursed for parking (not driving) expenses up to $250 per month.
Parking expenses for a “park and ride” type of lot also qualify for reimbursement. The parking benefit has increased by $5 over last year’s ceiling amount. There is also a pre-tax commuter benefit of up to $20 per month for employees who ride a bicycle to work, but this benefit may not be applied during the same month in which a parking or public transit expense is reimbursed.
How the Commuter Tax Benefit works
This fringe benefit operates similarly to flexible spending accounts (FSAs), which workers may use to save for medical expenses.
Unlike an FSA, however, the transportation benefit is not subject to a “use it or lose it” limitation. The employee may specify how much money, up to the ceiling amount, that they would like you to deduct from their paycheck and set aside in a reimbursement account.
The accounts for public transportation and for parking must be separate, and the funds cannot be transferred between these accounts. Unused funds at the end of a year may be rolled over into the following year.
Various methods are possible for providing these commuter tax benefits to employees. In some cases, a transit agency may offer Smart Cards which you can directly purchase on behalf of your employee.
Alternatively, you may be able to provide your employees with reloadable debit cards, or you may simply reimburse each employee directly by means of cash or check.
Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits limitations to be aware of
Sole proprietors, 2% shareholders of S corporations, and independent contractors are not eligible for the benefit.
Also, if your local public transit system offers vouchers or something similar, then you as an employer are required to make use of that option and purchase it directly for the employee who travels on that carrier. Cash reimbursements to employees are only permitted when vouchers cannot be purchased.
By offering these pre-tax commuter benefits, you’ll be demonstrating to your employees that you have their wellbeing in mind while saving money for them as well as for your company.