Are you looking a gift horse in the mouth whenever you go to work? It’s highly possible, as we sometimes have the blinders on (to mix together horse metaphors) when it comes to employee benefits.
These are usually the chintzy stiff that we blocked out on noticeboards, the mass send-out emails about staff discounts, and the vouchers available from the company secretary, and so on. We often don’t take it seriously because what matters most is the money in our paychecks: how much we’re currently getting and how long before we’re going to get more.
But for many of us in these days of austerity and recession, it may start becoming a lot longer than usual before we get more. And this means it may be time to reevaluate some of those discount schemes. Employers aren’t foolish – well, not always – and offer these incentives as sweeteners often cost neutral to themselves.
They become a more alluring tool for employers exactly when they can’t give as many cash advances or bonuses. So it’s highly likely that the better the benefits on offer, the less likely you are to be getting a pay raise soon. Such employee benefits tend to fall into different categories such as wellness benefits or travel benefits. Some such as the childcare vouchers scheme administered in the UK gives savings of up to 1,000 per year and are unequivocally worth taking advantage of by the UK’s working parents.
And such salary sacrifice schemes tend to be the best earners, whereby pre-tax deductions are made from the salary to receive something of greater value than the cash you would have received post tax. If it’s something you need or do regularly such as a car parking season ticket, then it’s no brainier, take the savings.
A cleverly thought out raft of benefits from an employer will help you make savings all the way down the line, from the fuel in your tank, to parking the car at work, to someone taking care of the kids, to working out at the gym after work and so on.
If you work somewhere where there is a lamentable lack of any perks from the employer, then it may be time to have a ‘word’ with said employer.
As mentioned, there are companies who offer these to employers often at no-cost so there’s no excuse really for any employer not to provide them, unless they’re intent on making like Ebenezer Scrooge all through the year.
Yes, employee benefits aren’t the sexiest, and they don’t come close to a nice fat pay raise, but there’s rarely ever a case for passing up a free lunch, so it may just be time to reassess exactly what’s on offer at your place of work.