Employee benefits: What you need to know

No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll have encountered some kind of employee benefits…

Whether you’re providing them as an employer or receiving them as an employee, benefits can be a great way to ensure a happy and productive workforce. But what do they actually involve?

To make sure you’re clued up on what could be on offer, here’s everything you need to know about employee benefits:


What are employee benefits?

Employee benefits are extra incentives provided by employers, in addition to a worker’s normal salary or wages.

They’re designed to help promote employee satisfaction and wellbeing, and could include anything from dental care plans and pension schemes, to flexible working hours and family-leave support programmes.

Although some benefits are legally required (core benefits), others are offered as added perks that are used to attract and retain employees.


Who are employee benefits for?

Every employee is entitled to the core benefits their company offers, no matter how long they’ve worked there, and no matter what their level is.

However, more senior staff may sometimes have access to a larger benefits package.


What are the core benefits?

Whilst each company will have different policies on the benefits they cover, all UK workers are entitled to the following:

  • This involves an employer helping to set up and contribute to funding their employee’s retirement, usually in the form of a workplace pension.
  • Income protection
  • Holiday allowance (a minimum of 5.6 weeks per year)

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What other benefits could I get?

Optional benefits are often referred to as company perks.

They’re implemented by employers to encourage employee wellbeing, improve their company culture, and increase the amount of quality applicants they get for their vacancies.

In fact, some jobseekers even put attractive perks above salary when looking for a role.

Here are a few of the most common perks companies may offer:

  • Free food and/or drinks
  • Discounted meals
  • Dental care plans
  • Subsidised gym membership
  • Company car
  • Free or subsided travel
  • Employee referral bonus
  • Free company events
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Flexible working hours
  • Wellness programmes


What is the purpose of employee benefits?

Employee benefits are beneficial to both employees and employers.

Employees are able to:

  • Save money and add to their disposable income
  • Improve their workplace wellbeing
  • Maintain a better work-life balance

Employers are able to:

  • Recruit and retain the best employees
  • Boost morale and improve company culture
  • Benefit from a more productive workforce

Five benefits of work-life balance


Should I ask about a company’s benefit package?

Although many employers will state a list of the benefits they include in the job description, it might not always be clear from the outset what’s on offer.

However, asking a potential employer to confirm the benefits they offer is absolutely essential before accepting any job.

Not only could it help influence your decision, it may also give you the opportunity to negotiate on the package you receive – whether it’s to cover moving expenses or gain flexible working hours.

Just make sure you’ve done your research before you make your requests. After all, smaller companies are unlikely to have the same level of flexibility as their larger scale neighbours.


How can I tell what employee benefits are available?

There are a few places to find a list of the employee benefits your organisation offers, although this may vary from company to company.

Here a few ways of finding out:

  • Check the job description (if it’s a new role)
  • Read your employee contract
  • Ask your HR department
  • Look on the company website

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