Wednesday, July 5, 2017
What Happened to the Benefits?
Since we are in employment week, and I spoke about what you need to do to be a good employee yesterday, we will speak about what employers should be doing to keep you. Today’s victim is the employers that don’t offer benefits. Benefits can be the difference between a good job and a bad job. Next, to salary, employee benefits coverage is the most important tool in attracting and retaining key staff. When asked if they would rather a pay increase or be offered employee benefits, a majority of workers chose benefits. In fact, the 2011 Sanofi-Aventis Healthcare Survey polled 1,598 people who currently have employee benefits coverage. When asked if they would rather keep their benefits coverage or receive $10,000, 59 percent said that they would rather keep their benefits coverage. And when asked if they would rather keep their benefits coverage or receive $20,000, 48 percent said they would rather keep their benefits coverage. One of the reasons is that 45 per cent of the plan members surveyed said they take at least one medication to manage a chronic disease such as diabetes or hypertension. For some, including myself, employee benefits are the make or break for a specific job. In this post, I will speak about two areas of benefits that are becoming less and less common but should be a key factor in your job search.
1) Group Health Insurance
In my opinion, every employer should offer basic group health insurance. This includes member life insurance, dental and prescription benefits. Why is this so important? First of all, most people don’t need or use the prescription benefits on a regular basis. Why it is so important is because the ones that do use it may have to pay insane costs for what they do use. I personally have a large prescription bill every month that my employer covers and it ensures I can actually work every day. If I did not take this medication for Ulcerative Colitis I would be in terrible shape. The healthy pay for the sick, but the healthy also get the safeguard of knowing that if they get sick they are covered. I’ve spoken to it before but health is a factor that diminishes our workforce. Oral health is important too. Bad oral hygiene not only leads to you have a gross mouth that no one will want to kiss, but also Diabetes, leukemia, oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, heart disease, kidney disease and many other diseases. They all have oral manifestations and symptoms so make sure your mouth is clean. Seeing a dentist regularly is a huge part of oral hygiene so I think everyone should have dental coverage. Sadly many people do not and therefore their oral health deteriorates. Having group health insurance for your employee’s shows that you are vested in their health and well-being. Let’s put it this way: If you aren’t concerned for their health, why should they be concerned for your business? You have to give a little to get a little.
2) Employee Pension Benefits
Health is the most important thing in life, but financial health is a close second. The full pension is a thing of the past unless you are a politician. I strongly believe that the fall in long-term employment is partly due to the fact that many employers are not vested in their employee’s financial futures. The best it seems we can hope for these days is contribution matching. Similar to health benefits, employees, when asked, would chose contribution matching over raises. A simple way to look at it is this: If you can map out your entire future with one employer and know at the end of it you will retire comfortably, why wouldn’t you stay with them? Sadly in an era of cost-cutting and profit taking the Defined Benefit Pension has become a relic of the past. When searching for a job pay close attention to those who offer contribution matching on retirement savings plans. Even something as simple as a 5% employer contribution can be huge. It all adds up, so take advantage.
We sometimes get caught up in bad employment. It is a fact of life. The major point of it is to see the warning signs and to understand when an employer doesn’t fully have your back. I will caveat my post with this: Just because your boss doesn’t offer these benefits doesn’t mean they are a bad employer. They may be new to the business or maybe the profits don’t allow for it. They also may be so small it just doesn’t make sense for them. What I will stress to you is that those excuses are not your problem. Not offering benefits has become the norm but that will change. There is already an uptick of employers seeing the value of providing them to their employees. Seek these employers out and go to bat for them, because they have gone to bat for you and your future.
“A good job is more than just a paycheck. A good job fosters independence and discipline and contributes to the health of the community. A good job is a means to provide for the health and welfare of your family, to own a home, and save for retirement.” – James H. Douglas, Jr.
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