Employee Benefits: Examples of the Most Common Employee Perks

Updated February 16, 2023

When searching for a job, it is important to consider a potential employer’s benefits package. The quality of the employee benefits will often show how much an employer values the health and happiness of their employees. If you are looking for a new job or want to know how your current benefits compare to other professionals, you will need to conduct some research. In this article, we will define employee benefits and offer examples of common types of benefits and perks.

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What is an employee benefits package?

When you agree to work for a company or organization, they should offer you an employee benefits package. Many individuals take the quality of a comprehensive benefits package into account when deciding whether or not to accept a job offer. Benefits usually include services and policies that provide for the employee’s physical and mental health, their work/life balance and their personal goals. Many employers prioritize offering quality benefits because they contribute to employee satisfaction, retention and overall productivity.

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Common employee benefits examples

Most employers offer a variety of employee perks, which are bundled into an employee benefits package. Here are the most common employee benefits:

  • Health insurance

  • Disability insurance

  • Dental and vision insurance

  • Life insurance

  • PTO/paid holidays

  • Retirement planning

  • Family leave

  • Remote work or flexible schedules

  • Student loan repayment

  • Continued education and professional development

Related: A Definitive Guide To Employee Benefits Packages

Health insurance

The most common type of employee benefit is health insurance. Corporations, small businesses and even non-profit organizations offer health insurance for their employees. The health insurance provider, the details of the policy and the amount of coverage are usually decided upon by the company. In some cases, if an employee already has health insurance, they can make a request or negotiate to keep their original healthcare plan.

Health insurance usually covers doctor visits, prescription medications and trips to the emergency room. If an employee is injured or is diagnosed with a long-term condition, they may need to take advantage of this list’s next benefit.

Disability insurance

If you become unable to work due to an injury or illness, you may choose to take advantage of short-term disability insurance. This benefit means that your employer will continue to pay you a certain percentage of your income until you are able to return to work.

Long-term disability insurance protects you by making sure you will not lose your salary if you become unable to work for a long period of time. Long-term disability insurance is one of the most valuable components of an employee’s benefits package.

Dental and vision insurance

In addition to general health insurance, many employers offer dental coverage. Dental insurance covers routine teeth cleanings, fillings and sometimes surgeries. Dental coverage is cheaper than health insurance, so it can be an affordable option for both the employer and the employees. In some cases, dental insurance is not included in the employee package but is offered at a reduced rate from the health insurance provider.

Vision coverage is another optional but affordable type of insurance. Vision insurance contributes to the bill for eye exams and corrective lenses. If you wear corrective eyewear or if you struggle with your eyesight, vision insurance might be a worthwhile addition to your comprehensive benefits package.

Life insurance

Life insurance is not as common as health insurance, but it can be a valuable addition to your employee benefits package. Some employers offer life insurance at the price of your salary. Others may be willing to pay for a portion of a life insurance policy if you supply the remaining funds. Life insurance is an example of an employee perk that can benefit your family as well as yourself.

PTO/paid holidays

Another common employee benefit is paid time-off—or PTO. PTO refers to days or weeks when you can take time away from work while still being paid your usual salary. Typically, you earn a certain amount of PTO for every day or week that you work. Employees often choose to save up their PTO days and use them for a lengthy vacation in the summer or around the holidays.

Holidays are a specific type of PTO. In addition to the most common holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.), your employer will likely decide on other nationally recognized holidays which will serve as PTO for the entire team. The goal of giving PTO on holidays is to allow employees (and the employer) to spend quality time with loved ones.

Retirement planning

Anticipating retirement is an important consideration for employees in every stage of life. Many employers find it necessary to offer 401(k) plans to be competitive in the job market. To enroll in a 401(k) plan, you must be ruled eligible to participate. Some employers may also offer a matching program that will help you grow your retirement savings. Consult your employee handbook or HR department to find out your employer’s specifications.

Related: How Does a 401(k) Plan Work?

Family leave

Family leave, sometimes called maternity leave, is a period of time-off given to mothers and/or fathers in the weeks leading up to and following the birth of a child. This benefit is one of the highest requested by employees and has become increasingly common. Competitive employers are also offering paid family leave more frequently in recent years. Some more specialized types of family leave include the event of an adoption, a new foster child or a surrogacy.

Related: Paid and Unpaid Leave of Absence: Definition and Examples

Remote work or flexible schedules

As technology has developed, more employees can do their jobs from home. Some employers offer regular opportunities for employees to work outside their usual environment. This benefit allows employees to take a break from a hectic environment and work from the comfort of their home or other low-stress locations.

Even if an employer cannot offer remote opportunities, they may be able to allow for flexible work schedules. This permits employees to work during hours that suit them. Some statistics show that employees who work flexible hours or work from home show higher levels of productivity.

Student loan repayment

An attractive employee benefit for recent graduates is a student loan repayment plan. This benefit is relatively rare but can be necessary for job searchers with extensive student debt. Typically, employers who offer this benefit might agree to pay a portion of an employee’s student loan payments each month or they may offer a set sum for an entire year.

Continued education and professional development

Another employee perk is continuing education opportunities. Some employers will pay for you to take college courses, complete their degrees or acquire a degree in a new field. Additionally, some might pay for you to attend professional training courses, technical lectures or to take a certification exam. If you have considerable potential as an employee, providing for your continued improvement as a professional is in your employer’s best interest.

Employee benefits are an important part of any employment contract. Before taking a job offer, be sure to carefully consider the employee benefits package and do not be afraid to ask about the possibility of adding more perks. Most employers value their employee’s satisfaction, and some may be willing to negotiate the terms of their employee benefits. Researching competitive employee benefits will help you be a more informed and savvy employee.

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