What Are Employee Benefits and Why Are They So Important? - Penn-Mar

What Are Employee Benefits and Why Are They So Important?

Posted on February 18, 2022

When it comes to jobs and careers, the majority of people are most worried about the wages they will earn for the work they perform. Whether that comes in the form of an hourly rate, a one-time contract with a lump sum, or a salary, a paycheck is certainly one of the most important parts of being employed. It’s the entire point of jobs—working to earn money to cover our basic needs.

However, there is another essential thing that employers provide besides money: employee benefits. In this article, we’ll explain what employee benefits are and why they are so important.

What Are Employee Benefits?

There are different types of employee benefits—which are also referred to as voluntary benefits, worksite benefits, and compensation packages—and the benefits that are offered depend on the specific employer and job. Employee benefits are non-cash, indirect payments, services, or other assistance that are provided in addition to regular wages in order to create competitive packages to attract potential employees, help them take care of the things they need, and retain them. Here is a list of employee benefits that are most commonly offered:

  • Paid Leave – Paid leave is one of the most common types of employee benefits. It includes things like paid time off, paid vacations, paid sick leave, and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 70% of employees in the private sector have access to paid sick leave, and nearly 80% have access to paid vacations. 92% of state and local government employees have access to paid sick leave and 60% of those employees have access to paid vacations.
  • Care and Relief Funds – Employers may also offer access to care and relief funds. These funds are used to help employees who are affected by natural disasters, accidents, family emergencies, and other unexpected hardships by providing emergency financial relief. Employees can use these funds to help cover costs and get back on their feet.
  • Career Advancement Opportunities – Many employers offer career advancement opportunities that help employees grow and develop professionally. This can involve classes, seminars, workshops, advanced training, and other opportunities that help employees continue to learn and succeed.
  • Tuition Assistance – Similar to career advancement opportunities, employers sometimes offer tuition assistance to their employees to help them pay for their education. This can involve employees who are currently still in school or providing financial assistance to an employee who returns to school to further their education.
  • Life Insurance – Companies can also offer life insurance to their employees. This provides a lump sum payment to any beneficiaries in the event that an employee dies while still employed at the company. 
  • Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation – These are all different benefits that most companies are required to provide for their employees. Companies pay into unemployment insurance, which can be used if an employee is laid off. Disability insurance protects against loss of income by providing payments to employees who suffer a nonoccupational injury or illness. Similarly, workers’ compensation provides payments to employees who are injured or get sick while on the job. This helps employees make ends meet until they are fit to return to work.
  • Time Off for Civic Duties – Companies also offer time off to employees so that they can fulfill their civic duties—jury duty, voting, and more. Whether or not your time off for these duties is paid depends on the specific employer.
  • Retirement Plans and Savings Programs – Employers also commonly offer retirement plans and savings programs to help employees prepare for their future after they are done working. There are many types of retirement plans, including 401(k), IRAs, pensions, and more. Usually, companies that offer these plans will match the funds an employee puts into their retirement account.
  • Health and Welfare Benefits – Companies often offer health and welfare benefits to their employees. These benefits range from full healthcare insurance coverage to partial payment of medical insurance premiums to healthcare reimbursement plans and more. In addition to regular healthcare coverage, these benefits usually include dental, vision, and prescription coverage.

These are some of the most popular benefits offered by employers, but there are a wide variety of other benefits out there. Each company is unique, so look for employers that offer the benefits you want or need. Now that we’ve gone over what employee benefits are and some of the different types, let’s look at why these benefits are so important.

Why Are Employee Benefits Important?

After learning about all of the various benefits that companies offer, it’s clear that benefits for employees are a crucial aspect of an employee’s overall compensation package. The importance of employee benefits depends on the specific employee and what they want in addition to their regular wages.

Overall, these benefits are so important because they can increase the value of working at a particular company over other options. They also show employees that the company cares about them and wants to help improve their health and quality of life. Employee benefits can even lead to increased job satisfaction and make it more likely that employees will want to stay at the company long-term. This can lead to happier team members and even increase productivity because employees know they aren’t just working for a wage.

At Penn-Mar Human Services, our mission is to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to live courageous lives full of self-determination, independence, and equity. Our approach is innovative, person-centered, and successful. Through meaningful employment, community inclusion, and residential choice, the people Penn-Mar supports are empowered to live their best lives.

If you’re interested in a human services career and want to make a difference in the lives of others, consider filling out an application to join our team! We offer a wide range of employee benefits—many of which are listed above! You can also get involved by learning more about our services, making a donation, or signing up to volunteer with us today!

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