Evaluate Employee Benefits of a Potential Job

You’ve made it to the final stages of hiring at a potential job and you’re seriously considering taking the position. Before you do, you get a copy of your employee benefits to help you make your decision. Evaluating the employee benefits and confirming they are right for you can make it easier for you to accept the job knowing you are protected as an employee. Make sure you examine the health coverage and the financial coverage in the employee benefits as well as the time off pay offered as part of the plan. Once you do this, you can decide if the benefits package is to your liking and consider accepting the position.


Examining the Health Benefits

  1. Look at the general coverage offered in the package. Start by looking at the general coverage for healthcare noted in the benefits package. Check if there are any monthly or per-pay-period costs for the overall benefits plan. If there is, it will usually be deducted from your take-home pay, often as a pre-tax deduction. Make sure the cost is reasonable and not something that will make a significant dent in your take-home pay.[1]
    • You should also notice who is covered as part of your benefits. Is it just you? Family members? Future family members, such as children? Make sure you know the limits and restrictions around your healthcare coverage.
    • Notice when each component of the benefit begins, such as the first day of work, thirty days after your start date, or a year into your employment.
    • Check if the general benefits can be taxed, where you will have to pay taxes on them at the end of the year. Often, life insurance is taxable.
  2. Check the medical insurance coverage. Look at the type of medical insurance plan offered in the package. You may be covered under a preferred provider option, where you can pick your healthcare provider. Or you have a health maintenance organization option or another specific healthcare provider, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Note which of your medical expenses are covered as part of your company health plan, such as preventative care like massage or acupuncture. Some plans will cover preventative care and some will not.[2]
    • You should also look at any deductibles offered, such as annual deductibles or per-office-visit deductibles.
    • Look for a list of co-pays, where your insurance pays a percentage of the medical costs and you pay a percentage of the cost out of pocket.
    • Notice if there are any exclusions or preexisting conditions, such as a health problem you had before you were covered by the insurance company. Some healthcare plans will disqualify you from certain services if you have a preexisting condition.
    • Some companies offer a Health Savings Account (HSA) as part of their employee's healthcare benefits. This is a tax-advantaged medical savings account that you can use to pay for your health needs.
  3. Look at the dental and vision/eye insurance. Read over what you are covered for in terms of dental care. Some benefits packages will cover dental preventative care like exams, X-rays, and teeth cleanings as well as surgical care like root canals. Note if the plan covers orthodontic care like braces. There may be deductibles, co-pay, and annual limits attached to your dental care under the package.[3]
    • You should also read over the benefit listed for vision and eye care. Some plans will cover expenses up to a certain amount for eye exams, eyeglasses, and contact lenses.
  4. Note any accidental death and business travel insurance. As part of your benefits package, you may be covered up to a certain amount if your death is ruled accidental. The company may also provide business travel insurance, where you are covered if you are injured or have an accidental death while traveling on business.[4]
    • If this is offered for free as part of the benefits package, definitely opted in. You do not need to purchase additional coverage for accidental death or business travel as part of accepting the benefits package, unless you want to be covered more in this area.
  5. Check for life insurance and disability insurance coverage. The benefits may cover the basic expenses in the event you pass away unexpectedly. Life insurance may be more beneficial the older you get, especially if you have children or a spouse. You can also often buy additional blocks of term insurance at the market rate if you want to be covered for more money upon your death.[5]
    • You should also check if there is disability insurance as part of the benefits package. There may be short-term disability options, which will cover sick pay and disability coverage for 90 days to a year. There may also be long-term disability, which will kick in after 90 days to a year. Check the percentage amount of your salary you will get on disability as well as how the amount may change over time.

Analyzing the Financial Benefits and Time Off Benefits

  1. Check if there is a pension plan. Some companies will have a special account for each employee where a portion of the company earnings will go in towards a retirement fund, or a pension plan. These retirement savings plans may require your company to deduct 5 percent of your gross salary, or they may use company earnings to help you save for retirement.[6]
    • Some companies will match employee donations dollar-for-dollar or a percentage of their salary, known as a 401(k). 401(k) plans can help you build a tax-deferred nest egg for retirement. The 401(k) may kick in as soon as you start working for the company or within a certain time period after your start date.
  2. Determine if there is profit sharing or stock options. As part of your employee benefits, you may be able to get profit sharing, where you receive a portion of the annual profits of the company. This is often offered by companies who plan to be fiscally stable and as an incentive to keep people employed with the company for a long period of time.
    • You may be able to get stock options as part of your employee benefits. Or you may be offered an ESOP, or Employee Stock Ownership Plan. ESOPs allow you to buy company stock at below market value.
  3. Look at the vacation and sick pay. Many companies will offer a certain number of paid days off in a fiscal year for vacation, such as one to two weeks per year. You may be allowed a certain number of days during your first year of employment and then accumulate more days over time. There may be a maximum number of days you are allowed to accumulate for your vacation.[7]
    • There should also be a note about sick days in your benefits package and how many you are allowed as an employee. There may be restrictions, such as only using sick days with a doctor’s note or only taking personal days if there is a death or serious illness in the family.
    • Check that there is information about holiday pay. Employers should offer paid days off for statutory holidays.
  4. Note if you get overtime or comp pay. If you are being offered a salary based position, you may not get overtime pay as part of your employee benefits. However, some companies will offer compensation for time that goes above the expected standard, usually forty hours of work a week. You may get a bonus or overtime pay. Or you may get comp time paid, where you get hours off for extra time that you work.[8]
    • If there is no information about overtime or comp pay, talk to your employer about this information, especially if you know the job will require long hours and overtime work.
  5. Check for business-related reimbursements. Look through the employee benefits for information about any reimbursements you may get that relate to your job. You may have an expense account that you can use when you entertain clients or travel for business. You may also be offered compensation for daily transportation costs, such as gas costs, to and from the office, especially if you have a long commute.[9]
    • Read over the employee benefits for information on a mobile reimbursement, such as a cellphone that you use for your job. You may also be able to get reimbursement for parking costs as part of your benefits, especially if the company is short on free employee parking.
  6. Look for any health or academic compensation. Some companies will offer health and wellness benefits for employees like free memberships to a health club.[10] You may also be able to get fitness classes covered as part of your benefits.[11]
    • You may also be offered academic compensation, such as all or a portion of your tuition paid for as an employee of the company. Some companies will pay for you to take continuing education classes if they relate to your position at the company.

Determining if the Employee Benefits Are Right For You

  1. Compare the benefits to the industry standard. To ensure you are being offered employee benefits that are competitive and fair, evaluate the package based on the industry standard. Research other benefits packages from competitors or other companies in the same industry. Look online for benefits data on government and business association websites, which will often be available for free. Check reports on the benchmarks for employee benefits in your industry.[12]
    • Make sure the employee benefits package you are considering is up to the industry standard and matches or exceeds other packages you might get with other employers in your industry.[13]
  2. Discuss possible changes to the benefits in the future. Sit down with your potential employer and discuss the possibility of adding or amending your benefits package in the future. It may help you feel more confident to know that the company is willing to improve or add on to your benefits over time, especially if you are a good employee.[14]
    • You should also talk about any restrictions or limits on the changes you can make to your benefits package with your potential employer. Make sure you know what is available to you in the future so you feel your benefits will only get better over time.
  3. Confirm the employee benefits fit your lifestyle and goals. Make sure the employee benefits package fits your needs. Your lifestyle, values, and goals should be enhanced by the benefits package.[15] You should feel the benefits package will allow you to thrive and feel supported by the company.[16]
    • If you have young children, for example, you may prefer a benefits package that has health insurance that you can extend to family members as well as a 401(k).
    • If you live far away from the office, it may be important to you to have a benefits package that compensates you for your commute and parking costs.
    • If you have the goal of travel in addition to work, you should ensure the benefits package offers enough vacation days and the ability to accumulate more over time.