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Benefits and Perks

Evaluating Employee Benefits and Perks

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Notation in Calendar
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For many of us, the most important factor in considering a job offer is salary. For others, job security is of primary importance. Also high on the list of considerations are benefits and perks. When considering perks, the desire to work in a comfortable, casual environment where employees can set their own work schedule, have an option to telecommute, and where there is a a casual dress code, are all important.

Typical Employee Benefit Packages

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average number of annual paid holidays is 10. The average amount of vacation days are 9.4 after a year of service. Almost half the (medium and large) employers surveyed offered either a defined benefit or a defined contribution pension plan. About 75% offered health insurance but, almost as many, required some employee contribution towards the cost. It's not hard to look at the averages and see how your employer or your job offer measures up. What complicates matters is the increasing use of bonuses, perks and incentives by employers to recruit and retain employees. Look at the companies rated the best places to work and you'll discover many offer health club memberships, flexible schedules, day care, tuition reimbursement, and even on-site dry cleaning.

Surveys by Ceridian have found 65 percent of employers believe that perks help to attract employees. The average number of perks offered by companies range from 3.38 perks at the smallest employers to to 5.20 perks at firms with over 5000 employees. A sure sign that employers are paying attention to the importance of added benefits is the fact that the most frequently offered perks mirror the most frequently desired perks - casual dress and flexible work hours. Some companies even offer a few options that I wasn't aware of on the list including bringing your pet to work, concierge services and take home meals.

How to Evaluate Perks

As you can see there is no standard list of perks that you can measure your job offer against. What you'll need to do is evaluate each offer on it's merits - the salary, the benefits and the perks, and determine how those perks will benefit you. If you don't plan on having children for a while or if your children are grown, it's not that important whether on-site child care is offered. Parents should check to see if the company provides paid time-off if your child is sick. It's a benefit I couldn't have done without when my daughter was a baby!

If you absolutely have to work-out every day, look for employers who offer a gym membership. Not a morning person? Ask about flexible hours. Can't stand wearing a suit? Ask about dress code. And it is important to ask, not all perks will be offered to all employees nor will they be mentioned during an interview. Consider which perks would complement your life style and your needs and choose accordingly.

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