The power of negotiation: What benefits can you negotiate if leave isn't one of them?
Many states are starting to see paid family and medical leave (PFML) become a priority for their residents. In fact, it is now a law enacted in ten states, including the most recent additions of Colorado, Oregon, and New Hampshire.
Paid time off benefits are becoming increasingly standardized. However, there are still many benefits you should consider as part of a well-rounded package to attract and keep employees.
100 Percent 401K Match
It’s not uncommon for employers to offer contributions to employee 401k plans, but how many provide a dollar-for-dollar match? That means if employees put in 2%, you also contribute 2% up to a certain amount. A 100 percent vested match is appealing to many job seekers.
Currently, top employers often offer a percentage match. Smaller percentage matches can mean it takes more of your employee’s income to meet the annual Internal Revenue Service (IRS) limit. If a 100 percent match seems like a stretch, get as high as possible and keep using this benefit as a recruiting tool.
Supplemental Health Care Benefits
With many employer health plans moving to high deductibles over the last decade, overall premium costs are typically lower. However, there can be an increase in out-of-pocket expenses for employees who are working to meet the larger deductible. Many employers offer supplemental health benefits to help employees with these costs.
Supplemental benefits help pay out-of-pocket expenses to offset deductibles, coinsurance and any other expenses not covered by health plans. For example, you could invest in a supplemental plan for cancer, accident, or hospital stays. These programs step in and work in addition to your health insurance to help cover expenses like daily living, bills, groceries, and travel to and from appointments.
HSAs and FSAs
Tax savings plans, like Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (HCFSAs), and Dependent Care Accounts (DCAs) are also a great benefit, especially with so many generations in the workplace.
An HSA or HCFSA is a lot like having a personal savings account, but employees may not always be the only one contributing to it. Employers can match or fully cover contributions to these accounts to meet the annual maximum set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Also, with an HSA, employees own and control the account. There are rules about how the money can be used though.
A DCA covers employment-related expenses for dependent care. These expenses must be services that allow employees to go to work, and typically include day care and elder care for tax dependents.
Any contribution to an HSA, FSA or DCA is deposited tax-free giving employees less taxable income. This increases their take-home pay. Reimbursements are also tax-free when the funds are used for eligible expenses.
Wellness programs are becoming more popular. Employers should get creative with their offerings and consider additional total health resources such as personal counseling sessions, gym memberships, or even financial planning assistance.
Other possible wellness programs could include nutrition counseling, weight management, onsite yoga, or meditation rooms. Some companies even make a game out of wellness by offering significant rewards to people who lose a specific amount of weight or who make other healthy lifestyle changes.
Larger employers may offer onsite gym equipment, but a gym membership or personal trainer can be more accessible. If you already provide these incentives, consider allowing employees to add their spouse or family to the list for even more access.
No Perk Is Too Small
With paid family and medical leave becoming a legal requirement in many states, you need to think outside the box to entice talent to look at your organization. Once you include the big perks, toss in a few small ones, too, like dry cleaning, extra personal days, memberships related to your industry or field, and even subscription services for everything from food delivery to professional journals.
This blog is up to date as of February 2022 and has not been updated for changes in the law, administration or current events.