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What are Employee Benefits?

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

Employees are one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. One of the best ways to hire and retain top level talent is to offer a competitive benefits package.

What are Employee Benefits?

Employee benefits are indirect, extra compensation on top of wages given to workers. A benefits package could include health insurance, stock options, 401k contributions or any mixture of offerings made to employees. While two jobs may appear the same, one could offer a much more robust benefits package, making one offer a much better financial opportunity. Employers who can offer great benefits will attract a lot more skilled workers to their firm. Likewise, employees will also be more willing to stay at a company that provides competitive benefits. This highlights just how important employee benefits are.

Most Common Employee Benefits

Typically, there are four main types that employee benefits fall into:

· Medical Insurance

· Life Insurance

· Retirement Plans

· Disability Insurance

Most employee benefit plans fall under these categories; however, the list of benefits continues to grow.

What are the Different Types of Benefits?

Depending on your workplace, you may receive benefits for different aspects of your life. Typically, employee benefits show up in four categories:

· Benefits at the Workplace

· Benefits for Health

· Benefits for Financial Security

· Lifestyle Benefits

Benefits at Work

Working Hours & Leave

Each business has their own individual needs for how long their employees must work and thus each business will cater their benefits offerings to their needs. This can include additional holidays, paid time off (PTO), paid vacation time, sick leave, or paid parental leave. The option to work remotely and set your own working hours are also classified as a work benefit.

Skill Development

Nowadays, it seems like technology is changing things faster than we can keep up with. In this point in time, there is a huge skill gap between skilled workers and the job market. The rapid, changing pace of the economy makes developing skills vital. However, skill development is not just for junior level employees, it is also essential for organizations if they wish to remain competitive. Some companies will pay for courses or certifications on behalf of their employees to ensure they have the right skillset. Larger companies may offer to pay for all or a portion of an advanced degree.

Food & Beverages

In some countries like France, many employers offer meal vouchers to their employees. Even in the US, there are companies that offer free lunches, snacks and coffee. This could also be a great way for employers to promote healthy eating habits in the workplace.

Employee Extracurricular Activities

Getting employees together to do something enjoyable is a great way to boost employee morale. There are loads of possibilities to get your employees involved socially such as: birthday and holiday parties, exercise groups, knitting clubs, game nights, Secret Santa, the list goes on.

Benefits for Health

Health and Wellness

An increasing number of companies have employee wellness programs. Some can be as simple as a free gym membership to a full suite of solutions that include physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Some large companies even have professional psychiatrists who will listen and help you through tough times. That is more of the exception and not the norm, however most companies offer some type of health and wellness benefit.


Many employers offer some kind of healthcare through their corporate plan. Going through your company for vision and dental care is pretty common practice. Employers can also offer cancer insurance and workers comp in case there is an More and more businesses are offering healthcare plans with more options to their workers in order to maintain competitive.

Benefits for Financial Security

Pension & 401k Plans

Some companies, depending on the industry, offer pension plans. Pension plans allow employees to pay into pension that will pay them an amount monthly once they turn a certain age. Employees usually have part of their wages deducted automatically to pay into their pension. Most employers also offer a 401k plan. These plans can vary by company with some even offering to match your contributions up to a certain percentage. 401ks incentivizes saving since it is a tax free account.


As we mentioned before, many companies offer insurance to their employees. One of the largest insurances offered is workers comp. Workers comp covers your wages if you were to get injured on the job, adding some financial security.

Financial Benefits

Depending on your job position, you may be awarded additional commissions, bonuses, and stock options. Some employers also have a program to help employees pay of student loans.

Lifestyle Benefits

Work Life Balance

As employees increasingly attach more importance to their work life balance, its no shock as to why the benefits in this area are becoming more popular too. Some workplaces offer a more flexible work schedule with employees able to pick their own hours. Many companies have also started to relax the dress code and the “stuffiness” of the office.


Some jobs require workers to travel. Many companies offer travel reimbursements, accommodations and stipends to workers who have to take a trip. Remote working is also becoming increasingly popular in todays environment, giving employees access to live and work from wherever they wish.

In Conclusion

The days where employers could offer a simple benefits package and a basic pension plan to sway workers is over. Today’s candidates are not only more informed of the benefit offerings being made but also put more emphasis on their benefits when looking for employment. If employers want a competitive edge toady, they should focus on implementing the best employee benefits that match the needs of their workforce.

Partnering with a PEO like CornerstonePEO may be in your best interest. CornerstonePEO covers everything from HR and employee benefits to payroll and workers comp. Our industry leading PEO services offer innovative, cost effective, easy to understand business solutions for companies of any size and industry. Contact us to learn more.


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