Nearly one-third of an employee’s compensation can come in the form of benefits. While most benefits are optional for small businesses, so important are benefits to employment, Atrium Staffing, a New York City-based employment agency, surveyed its database of job seekers and found 91 percent would accept a different job if better benefits were offered, according to U.S. News in an article listing these 12 benefits valued most by employees.

1 | Health Insurance

The Kaiser Family Foundation found the average annual cost for an employer-sponsored family health insurance plan was $18,142 in 2016. Of that, employers covered $12,865 of the cost.

2 | Retirement Plan

The standard company retirement plan is a 401(k). Although these are funded largely by workers, some firms make an automatic contribution to the fund as part of a compensation package.

3 | Health Savings Account

Health savings accounts are still underutilized but provide a great value for employees. Money deposited into the account is tax-deductible. It then grows tax-free, and withdrawals used for qualified health care expenses are tax-exempt.

4 | Company Equity

Google made hundreds of people instant millionaires when the company went public in 2004. These people were workers who had been awarded stock options as part of their employment at the then startup.

5 | Employee Health Care and Assistance Services

Some companies offer screenings for early cancer detection, resources to treat chronic conditions or free gym memberships. Other employee-assistance programs offer free counseling, legal services or financial planning.

6 | Parental Leave

Parental leave can be a significant benefit both financially and emotionally. Current U.S.  maternity leave policy is regulated by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) which includes a provision mandating 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually for mothers of newborn or newly adopted children. Some states have additional requirements. Small businesses are typically not covered by these regulations or guidelines.

7 | Paid Time Off

While paid vacations are not required, companies who need skilled workers have determined the return-on-investment in vacations can be worth it. In fact, some companies like Netflix have placed a high emphasis on individual performance, they let employees determine their own work and vacation schedules. With such freedom comes accountability, however. At Netflix, employees earn the perks they enjoy.

8 | Career or Personal Development

Career development sessions give workers the chance to gain skills and knowledge needed to further their careers.

9 | Tuition Reimbursement or Loan Repayment

Talent experts say loan repayment will be increasingly rolled out. Forward-thinking companies are doing that because they see young people suffocating under their student loans.

10 | College Savings Accounts

Although employers don’t often make contributions to “529” college savings accounts on behalf of workers, merely offering payroll deductions for the plans can be valuable.

11 | Parking

In Los Angeles, parking can cost up to $400 a month.

12 | Food

Complimentary meals have long been a mainstay at startups. Others have food brought in weekly.



Photos: istock

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