Benefits. A word that is often used to describe added bonuses or positives that your employer may offer as incentives to its workers. When I was younger, I often heard the older people in my family discussing their benefits and how they were lucky to have them. And while I sympathize with their plight, I’ve come to look at benefits as rewards that employers owe their employees for their hard work and years of service. Many of these benefits cost the employer almost zero dollars to implement, and are rather easy for employers to distribute. Yet, most employees don’t take their employer up on their offer of these benefits, even when they are free or low-cost (and I say this with love as I used to be a Benefits Manager when I was in Corporate America).
You owe it to yourself to take advantage of these perks, so I’ve written a list of seven work benefits you may not be using, to help you see what you may be missing out on. This list is not an obvious one (you won’t see health insurance or 401k on it since most employees utilize these), but benefits that may not be so obvious.
Check out the list below:
1. Health and Wellness Plans
Many employers offer Health and Wellness plans that can help employees with their fitness goals. These plans may cover some or all of your fitness club fees or YMCA membership. When employees are healthy and well, they tend to perform better, so many employers are into investing in a solid Health and Wellness plan to assist their workers.
2. Tuition Reimbursement
Believe it or not, most employers don’t know that their employer offers tuition reimbursement. This is perfect for those of you who want to continue their training or education. The paperwork may be massive, but will be worth it, especially if the employer is contributing to paying your tuition. It can be a win/win.
3. Childcare Assistance
This is huge benefit, and most workers don’t even use it. Your employer may offer childcare assistance, either offering discounts to local daycare center, or paying a set rate on a quarterly basis. Check with your HR department to se if this is a benefit that is available to you. (also, you may want to mention your employer name to your daycare provider. If the employer is a rather large one, they may offer discounts to customers who work there. This is something that HR may not know about, as the daycare may feel they would benefit from offering lower tuition to said employees).
4. Counseling and Psychological Services
In addition to health insurance, counseling and psychological services may be available through your employer free of charge. And don’t worry—if this is the case, the information shared in these sessions cannot be shared with your employer due to HIPAA laws.
5. Wireless Discounts
Some wireless providers offer discounts to employers of certain corporations and businesses. It is something you might now know about unless you ask, so check with your HR manager or visit your local wireless store for more information. (In addition, if you work from home either regularly or every once in awhile, your employer may also reimburse you for Internet services that you pay for out of pocket)
6. Stress Leave
Hopefully you will never have to use this, but if you do have an issue, you need to know if its available to you. Stress leave is a benefit to employees who may have issues with work-related stress. It allows you to continue to be employed while seeking the attention of a therapist. While on stress leave, you do not have to report to work, but you are required to check in on a normal basis. Stress leave can be paid or unpaid, and is not a part of FMLA.
7. Transportation Allowance
Some employers offer reimbursement or an allowance for transportation for work related needs. This can be gas mileage to and from work to to and from client’s location. Travel related expenses are usually separate and can be also paid by the employer. You could be reimbursed for driving to and from work and don’t even know it, so check with your HR department to see if you are eligible.
The list of benefits that your employer may offer could be as long as a popular novel. But this list of seven work benefits you may not be using are ones that I have found that many employers don’t know about or don’t use. I hope you find it helpful.