5 Employer Benefits You Might Be Missing Out On

by David Ning · 15 comments

Everyone is talking about bonus cuts and upcoming layoffs but what about something that will boost your benefits? Getting more perks from your job is essentially free money and best of all, most of these have no tax consequences for you.

Read the few suggestions below and remember to talk to your human resources department and check out the company internal websites. Another good way to find out is by talking with your coworkers to get an idea of what the company provides. Of course, not every company has all of the ones benefits listed below but it’s worth trying to find out.

  1. Gym Membership

    Many companies will actually pay for your gym membership (actually, some even have a gym within the workplace). Some companies offer discounts and others will even pay the whole thing in full. Just remember to read the details because while a few will just reimburse you if a receipt is provided, most companies designate fitness clubs that they will subsidies for.

  2. Save Some Money on Commute

    Not every company will pick you up from your house with a shuttle to work like Microsoft and Google, but some companies will help you out on your daily commute cost. A popular option is to allow you to put pre-tax money to cover costs like transportation and parking, and I also know people who get help with paying for toll charges on their daily commute.

  3. Employee Discounts

    I remember being very envy of my friend when he worked for ATI and could get video cards for half price. If you work for a company which makes consumer products (clothes, computers, cars etc), make sure to take advantage of their employee discounts.

    Also, some companies offer discounts for common items like movie, museum tickets through group buys that you can take advantage of.

  4. Emergency Funds

    A few companies have setup ways for employees to donate unused sick and vacation time to help other employees facing emergencies. In general, if you really need to take time off, find out from your supervisor and the human resources department what options you have. It really never hurts to ask.

  5. Tuition

    Your company could be sponsoring you to study, especially if the courses are job-related. These are great because you get to develop your skills and it’s all free (which could be thousands of dollars a year).

    Usually there are rules however that you need to pass the exams (if there are any) so remember not to slack off if you apply.

While big companies usually have more perks, some small companies have some amazing benefits as well. If you don’t find out, how would you know? Try to find out and give yourself an instant raise.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Craig December 23, 2008 at 12:42 pm

For those who have those benefits, all for you. Must be nice to have added benefits from work that could help out. Working at a small start-up I don’t have that luxury.

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JB September 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Stop boo-hooing and get to work. If your start-up has any potential, the benefits will come. By the way, most of those jobs with perks have a probationary or qualifying period for employees before they are eligible: from 1 year before vacation benefits to 10 years to get vested for a (small) pension if you can last that long. Life is one big trade-off, in order to get something you gotta give up something else. Sour grapes only make you whiney.

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irsh September 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Craig…the only reason why someone would go for a startup is if he was desperate for work OR for the stock options. The benefits above pale in comparison to the potential of a buy out or IPO. You could easily make hundreds of thousands or millions in a year once the stock options are realized.

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anonymouse100 January 12, 2011 at 8:59 am

Craig – If you want real perqs, go to work for a top accounting firm. I just read an article that they are offering “European style” benefits ranging from flex time to summers off.

I’m not kidding. And this is in the U.S. to boot.

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Sandy December 23, 2008 at 4:04 pm

I have the standard benefits (not the ones listed above) but I’m sure start-ups are fun to work for. I have a friend that worked at a start-up and he is now VERY rich thanks to stock options. Lucky him…

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Mizé December 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Hi.
Just wanted to wish you and your family Merry Christmas.
Cheers.

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Eric J. Nisall December 24, 2008 at 6:21 am

Some companies do go above and beyond by providing non-standard benefits to their employees. Another benefit that I have heard about is discounted cell phone service. Most of the major carriers have options by which any employee can sign up for service and get a special rate through the company account. Of course, if you leave their employment that rate will most likely end but it is surely something to check out.

Regarding the tuition benefit, a majority of the time it is a reimbursement plan only if the the program will be of benefit to the company (ie: a bank won’t allow for reimbursement of courses toward a journalism degree). The ones I know about work on a tiered reimbursement schedule like 100% for an “A”, 75% for a “B”, and 50% for a “C”, and nothing if you receive any lower grades. Plus, you have to usually stay with the company for a certain amount of time or you will be required to repay the company (they don’t want to pay for you to further yourself if they will not be receiving the benefits).

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Mark December 24, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Nice benefits. I know employees of Google must love all the added perks and benefits of working there.

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Vik Dulat December 27, 2008 at 4:09 pm

I would love to have a gym membership. I still have a good deal of $34/month since I am student. However, this should be included by my employer.

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Craig October 3, 2010 at 11:21 pm

This should be entitled “5 Benefits That Don’t Exist Anymore.”

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Christian January 1, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I have all of these bene’s, except for the tuition re-imbursement. Which we used to have and hopefully will have again soon.

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Mary Bahr October 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm

It’s important to tell your employer what’s important to you—one of our most coveted benefits is a paid monthly manicure. It let’s employees know we care, and we want them to feel their best. Surprisingly, some of our “best” benefits—paid sabbaticals, tuition reimbursement, match on charitable contributions—are rarely if ever used. Also think about asking for something in lieu of salary (assuming a raise isn’t in the cards in this economy). I’ve often given extra days off, paid for extras (won’t tell what they are) on a case by case basis. No ask. No get.

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Donna November 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Craig, not true. My employer offers an employee discount plan that includes cell phone plans, HP/Dell computers, gym memberships and many other items, tuition reimbursement, and the pre-tax commuter option. They also offer training programs.

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RandomPerson November 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I also receive some of these benefits. We have commuter checks and education allowance. Also, since some people have to drive a lot we give them gas reimbursement AND 60% of their auto insurance bill is reimbursed. Sometimes, we even pay for driving lessons.

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Christian January 1, 2011 at 7:48 pm

One thing people need to keep in mind is that each company is different in terms of what they offer. Some employer’s don’t offer certain benefits for a variety of reasons. Some don’t offer them, but pay higher salaries instead.

There is sometimes a trade off, do I want added benefits which will increase my total compensation costs on top of my salary or do I want the cash.

The other thing is if you work for a company will crappy benefits and don’t like it, then work someplace else. Work at will is a two way street. If you don’t like the benefits then just buckle down get what experience you can out of where you are and in the meantime harness those skills and experience into another job.

No sense whining about it.

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