Home Jobs & Career What Are Fringe Benefits? – Career & Professional Development

What Are Fringe Benefits? – Career & Professional Development

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What are Fringe Benefits?

Official job listings often (and hopefully!) contain far more information than salaries, including details about start dates, locations, and perhaps most importantly, benefits. Employers offer fringe benefits to supplement your salary, attract you to work, and retain employees. Can I negotiate during the hiring process? This guide will cover:

What are fringe benefits? Definition and example

by Internal Revenue Service, the definition of fringe benefits is “a form of payment for the performance of a service.” These are benefits your employer offers other than or in addition to your salary.

In the United States, mandatory federal fringe benefits include social security, workers’ compensation, and disability insurance. In addition, employers with an average of 50 or more full-time employees must also offer family leave, medical leave, and health insurance.

You’ll notice that benefits like vacation and retirement plans aren’t on the “must have” list. This means that many of the benefits you’re looking for can vary greatly from company to company. Or the Human Resources team determines which benefits the company offers. These benefits are often used to attract and retain employees.

Forage’s Director of Human Resources, Olga Eippert, said: “Then organize your list based on a variety of criteria: what you need and what benefits you would love to have, what benefits will most impact your employees (happiness, retention, etc.), how to stay competitive What benefits do we need to offer to the workforce, etc. What benefits do other companies of our size offer in the labor market?”

Benefits vs. Other Types of Benefits

You may not hear the term “fringe benefit” as often as “benefit,” but the two phrases are synonymous. So when an employer lists benefits on a job description or reads about benefits in an employer review, they are talking about benefits.

Example of added value

Benefits include health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation days. Other examples are:

  • Refund of tuition fees
  • employee discount
  • work cell phone
  • Telecommuting allowance
  • Transportation/commuting allowance
  • meal
  • stock option
  • childcare allowance
  • gym membership
  • Flextime
  • moving expenses
  • Minor perks (smaller perks such as use of office equipment, holiday gifts, team meals and parties)

How to Ask About Benefits While Job Hunting

Benefits, especially benefits like health insurance, can have a big impact on whether or not you accept a job offer. Prior to the interview process, do as much research as possible to understand the benefits the company offers. There is no need to ask if the company has certain interests if it is clearly written in the job description or company career page. Places like LinkedIn or Glassdoor can also help you find crowdsourced perks information (this might help, but think carefully as perks can change over time).

Eippert recommends waiting to talk about fringe benefits until you receive a formal offer.

“If you ask about benefits too early, it can be seen as ‘too demanding,'” warns Eipper. “Once an offer comes in, you can schedule a call with your recruiter or HR/HR to discuss company benefits.”

If there are benefits not included in the offer, Eippert recommends contacting company representatives directly. When you receive an offer, don’t be shy and ask about the perks that matter to you.

“Now is the time to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether to join this company,” she says. “The last thing you want to do is find out after joining a company that they are not offering you certain benefits that are so important to you.”

How to negotiate benefits

Like salary negotiations, benefits negotiations are a bit more scientific. You need to negotiate the benefits that are important to you, but you don’t want to over-negotiate or risk being seen as demanding and having your offer rescinded by the company.

Wait for the offer

However, unlike salary negotiations, you don’t have to start these conversations early. Information about the offer may appear online, but you can find out more about the offer once you redeem the offer. Waiting for this conversation until you can confirm your offering saves everyone time earlier in the process.

Think about what is most important to you

Benefits are negotiable, but that doesn’t mean they should be negotiated all advantage. Instead, prioritize your negotiation efforts by considering what is most important to you. If you think all benefits need to be negotiated because they don’t live up to your expectations, that may be a sign that the company isn’t right for you.

Be reasonable

Some fringe benefits are more non-negotiable than others. Eippert recommends using your best judgment as to what fringes you’re negotiating and what you’re asking for.

“For example, a company probably won’t change your medical career just because you prefer a different career,” she says. “But you can ask instead if the company is willing to pay a health subsidy that you can use to get your own medical insurance.”

Fringe Benefits: Conclusion

Benefits are an important aspect to consider when deciding whether to do so. Consider early in the job search process what benefits you are looking for and which are most important, and do your research before applying.

Fringe benefits are negotiable, but it is wise to wait to start negotiating these benefits until you receive a formal offer. Once you’ve done that, be transparent with company representatives about what you’re looking for, and be reasonable about what you’re asking.

Image credits: Lisa Summer / pexels

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