Employee benefits and (especially in British English) benefits in kind (also called fringe benefits, perquisites, or perks) include various types of non-wage compensation provided to employees in addition to their normal wages or salaries. Instances where an employee exchanges (cash) wages for some other form of benefit is generally referred to as a "salary packaging" or "salary exchange" arrangement. In most countries, most kinds of employee benefits are taxable to at least some degree. Examples of these benefits include: housing (employer-provided or employer-paid) furnished or not, with or without free utilities; group insurance (health, dental, life etc.); disability income protection; retirement benefits; daycare; tuition reimbursement; sick leave; vacation (paid and unpaid); social security; profit sharing; employer student loan contributions; conveyancing; domestic help (servants); and other specialized benefits.
The purpose of employee benefits is to increase the economic security of staff members, and in doing so, improve worker retention across the organization. As such, it is one component of reward management.
Colloquially, "perks" are those benefits of a more discretionary nature. Often, perks are given to employees who are doing notably well or have seniority. Common perks are take-home vehicles, hotel stays, free refreshments, leisure activities on work time (golf, etc.), stationery, allowances for lunch, and—when multiple choices exist—first choice of such things as job assignments and vacation scheduling. They may also be given first chance at job promotions when vacancies exist.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, like the International Accounting Standards Board, defines employee benefits as forms of indirect expenses. Managers tend to view compensation and benefits in terms of their ability to attract and retain employees, as well as in terms of their ability to motivate them.
Employees – along with potential employees – tend to view benefits that are mandated by regulation differently from benefits that are discretionary, that is, those that are not mandated but are simply designed to make a compensation package more attractive. Benefits that are mandated are thought of as creating employee rights or entitlements, while discretionary benefits are intended to inspire employee loyalty and increase job satisfaction. Based on this, Klonoski proposed definitions of both discretionary and non-discretionary benefits as a manager would view them: "Discretionary employee benefits are those organizational programs and practices that are not mandated by regulation or market forces, and that improve employee performance by increasing job satisfaction or organizational loyalty. Non-discretionary employee benefits are those organizational programs and practices that are mandated by regulation or market forces, and that create an employee right, entitlement, or expectation.":62
Viewed from this perspective, things like casual dress codes, flextime, and telecommuting can be considered employee "benefits" whether or not they produce an expense to the organization offering them. If employees prefer to dress casually or to have flexible hours or to work from home they may be inclined to seek and less likely to leave employers that offer these things.:63
Employee benefits in Canada usually refer to employer sponsored life, disability, health, and dental plans. Such group insurance plans are a top-up to existing provincial coverage. An employer provided group insurance plan is coordinated with the provincial plan in the respective province or territory, therefore an employee covered by such a plan must be covered by the provincial plan first. The life, accidental death and dismemberment and disability insurance component is an employee benefit only. Some plans provide a minimal dependent life insurance benefit as well. The healthcare plan may include any of the following: hospital room upgrades (Semi-Private or Private), medical services/supplies and equipment, travel medical (60 or 90 days per trip), registered therapists and practitioners (i.e. physiotherapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, etc.), prescription requiring drugs, vision (eye exams, contacts/lenses), and Employee Assistance Programs. The dental plan usually includes Basic Dental (cleanings, fillings, root canals), Major Dental (crowns, bridges, dentures) or Orthodontics (braces).
Other than the employer sponsored health benefits described above, the next most common employee benefits are group savings plans (Group RRSPs and Group Profit Sharing Plans), which have tax and growth advantages to individual saving plans.
Employee benefits in the United States include relocation assistance; medical, prescription, vision and dental plans; health and dependent care flexible spending accounts; retirement benefit plans (pension, 401(k), 403(b)); group term life and long-term care insurance plans; legal assistance plans; medical second opinion programs, adoption assistance; child care benefits and transportation benefits; paid time off (PTO) in the form of vacation and sick pay. Benefits may also include formal or informal employee discount programs that grant workers access to specialized offerings from local and regional vendors (like movies and theme park tickets, wellness programs, discounted shopping, hotels and resorts, and so on).
Employers that offer these types of work-life perks seek to raise employee satisfaction, corporate loyalty, and worker retention by providing valuable benefits that go beyond a base salary figure. Fringe benefits are also thought of as the costs of retaining employees other than base salary. The term "fringe benefits" was coined by the War Labor Board during World War II to describe the various indirect benefits which industry had devised to attract and retain labor when direct wage increases were prohibited.
Some fringe benefits (for example, accident and health plans, and group-term life insurance coverage up to $50,000) may be excluded from the employee's gross income and, therefore, are not subject to federal income tax in the United States. Some function as tax shelters (for example, flexible spending, 401(k), or 403(b) accounts). These benefit rates often change from year to year and are typically calculated using fixed percentages that vary depending on the employee’s classification.
Normally, employer-provided benefits are tax-deductible to the employer and non-taxable to the employee. The exception to the general rule includes certain executive benefits (e.g. golden handshake and golden parachute plans) or those that exceed federal or state tax-exemption standards.
American corporations may also offer cafeteria plans to their employees. These plans offer a menu and level of benefits for employees to choose from. In most instances, these plans are funded by both the employees and by the employer(s). The portion paid by employees is deducted from their gross pay before federal and state taxes are applied. Some benefits would still be subject to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA), such as 401(k) and 403(b) contributions; however, health premiums, some life premiums, and contributions to flexible spending accounts are exempt from FICA.
If certain conditions are met, employer provided meals and lodging may be excluded from an employee's gross income. If meals are furnished (1) by the employer; (2) for the employer's convenience; and (3) provided on the business premises of the employer they may be excluded from the employee's gross income per section 119(a). In addition, lodging furnished by the employer for its convenience on the business premise of the employer (which the employee is required to accept as a condition of employment) is also excluded from gross income. Importantly, section 119(a) only applies to meals or lodging furnished "in kind." Therefore, cash allowances for meals or lodging received by an employee are included in gross income.
Employee benefits provided through ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) are not subject to state-level insurance regulation like most insurance contracts, but employee benefit products provided through insurance contracts are regulated at the state level. However, ERISA does not generally apply to plans by governmental entities, churches for their employees, and some other situations.
Under the Obamacare or ACA’s Employer Shared Responsibility provisions, certain employers, known as applicable large employers are required to offer minimum essential coverage that is affordable to their full-time employees or else make the employer shared responsibility payment to the IRS.
Private firms in the US have come up with certain unusual perquisites.
In the United States paid time off, in the form of vacation days or sick days, is not required by federal or state law. Despite that fact, many United States businesses offer some form of paid leave. In the United States, 86% of workers at large businesses and 69% of employees at small business receive paid vacation days.
In the United Kingdom, employee benefits are categorised by three terms: flexible benefits (flex) and flexible benefits packages, voluntary benefits and core benefits.
"Core benefits" is the term given to benefits which all staff enjoy, such as pension, life insurance, income protection, and holiday. Employees may be unable to remove these benefits, depending on individual employers' preferences.
Flexible benefits, often called a "flex scheme", is where employees are allowed to choose how a proportion of their remuneration is paid or they are given a benefits budget by their employer to spend. Currently around a third of UK employers operate such a scheme. How flexible benefits schemes are structured has remained fairly consistent over the years, although the definition of flex has changed quite a lot since it first arrived in the UK in the 1980s. When flex first emerged, it was run as a formal scheme for a set contract period, through which employees could opt in and out of a selection of employer-paid benefits, select employee-paid benefits, or take the cash. In recent years increasing numbers of UK companies have used the tax and national insurance savings gained through the implementation of salary sacrifice benefits to fund the implementation of flexible benefits. In a salary sacrifice arrangement an employee gives up the right to part of the cash remuneration due under their contract of employment. Usually the sacrifice is made in return for the employer's agreement to provide them with some form of non-cash benefit. The most popular types of salary sacrifice benefits include childcare vouchers and pensions.
A number of external consultancies (such as JLT, Thomsons and Benefex) exist that enable organisations to manage Flex packages centred around the provision of an Intranet or Extranet website where employees can view their current flexible benefit status and make changes to their package. Adoption of flexible benefits has grown considerably, with 62% of employers in a 2012 survey offering a flexible benefit package and a further 21% planning to do so in the future. This has coincided with increased employee access to the internet and studies suggesting that employee engagement can be boosted by their successful adoption.
"Voluntary benefits" is the name given to a collection of benefits that employees choose to opt-in for and pay for personally, although as with flex plans, many employers make use of salary sacrifice schemes where the employee reduces their salary in exchange for the employer paying for the perk. These tend to include benefits such as the government-backed (and therefore tax-efficient) cycle to work, pension contributions and childcare vouchers and also specially arranged discounts on retail and leisure vouchers, gym membership and discounts at local shops and restaurants (providers include Xexec). These can be run in-house or arranged by an external employee benefits consultant.
In a number of countries (e.g., Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan), the 'fringe benefits' are subject to the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT), which applies to most, although not all, fringe benefits. In India, the fringe benefits tax was abolished in 2009.
In the UK, benefits are often taxed at the individual's normal tax rate, which can prove expensive if there is no financial advantage to the individual from the benefit.
The UK system of state pension provision is dependent upon the payment of National Insurance Contributions. Salary exchange schemes result in reduced payments and so are may reduce the state benefits, most notably the State Second Pension.
In insurance, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) is a policy that pays benefits to the beneficiary if the cause of death is an accident. This is a limited form of life insurance which is generally less expensive, or in some cases is an added benefit to an existing life insurance policy.Assurant
Assurant, Inc. is a global provider of risk management products and services with headquarters in New York City. Its businesses provide a diverse set of specialty, niche-market insurance products in the property, casualty, extended device protection, and preneed insurance sectors. The company’s three operating segments are Global Housing, Global Lifestyle, and Global Preneed.The company, formerly known as Fortis, Inc., was spun off from Dutch and Belgian financial-services company Fortis Insurance N.V. in 2004. The company’s initial public offering on Feb. 5, 2004 at $1.76 billion was the fourth largest that year. In connection with the public offering, the company changed its name to Assurant, Inc.Assurant is 440 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest publicly traded companies in the United States.Disability insurance
Disability Insurance, often called DI or disability income insurance, or income protection, is a form of insurance that insures the beneficiary's earned income against the risk that a disability creates a barrier for a worker to complete the core functions of their work. For example, the worker may suffer from an inability to maintain composure in the case of psychological disorders or an injury, illness or condition that causes physical impairment or incapacity to work. It encompasses paid sick leave, short-term disability benefits (STD), and long-term disability benefits (LTD). Statistics show that in the US a disabling accident occurs, on average, once every second. In fact, nearly 18.5% of Americans are currently living with a disability, and 1 out of every 4 persons in the US workforce will suffer a disabling injury before retirement.Employee Benefits Security Administration
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor responsible for administering, regulating and enforcing the provisions of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). At the time of its name change in February 2003, EBSA was known as the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA). Prior to January 1986, PWBA was known as the Pension and Welfare Benefits Program.
EBSA is led by the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits, a Sub-Cabinet-level position requiring nomination by the President of the United States and confirmation by the United States Senate. The office is currently held by Preston Rutledge. The previous Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits and head of the Employee Benefits Security Administration was the Hon. Phyllis Borzi. Past Assistant Secretaries include the Hon. Bradford P. Campbell, the Hon. Ann L. Combs and the Hon. Olena Berg-Lacy.EBSA is organized into nine program offices:
Exemption Determination (OED) - Processes requests for individual and class exemptions from ERISA’s prohibited transaction provisions.
Enforcement (OE) - Conducts EBSA's national and field enforcement program.
Policy and Research (OPR) - Provides policy analysis, economic research, and tracking of all benefits policy-related developments and activities.
Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance (OHPSCA) - Provides regulations and interpretive guidance related to health plans and provides education, technical assistance and other support to health plans, other government agencies with related responsibilities, policy makers and Employee Benefits Security Administration program offices on health care matters.
Regulations and Interpretations (ORI) - Primarily responsible for carrying out EBSA’s regulatory agenda and interpretive activities, as well as the development, analysis and implementation of pension and health care policy issues by providing technical assistance and support to the Assistant Secretary, external groups and other offices within EBSA.
The Chief Accountant (OCA) - Responsible for annual reporting and audit requirements by employee benefit plans, and enforcement of those provisions through the imposition of civil penalties against a plan administrator whose annual report is rejected.
Technology and Information Services (OTIS) - Provides computer office automation, information processing, and local wide area, and Internet connectivity for EBSA staff nationwide.
Participant Assistance (OPA) - Provides participant and compliance assistance directly to the public through a staff of Benefits Advisors, located in EBSA’s field offices, who answer inquiries and complaints received by phone, mail, electronically or in person. OPA coordinates the development of the Agency’s Strategic Plan for Outreach, Education and Assistance, establishes policies and operating procedures for the program, provides oversight and support to the Regional Offices in carrying out these activities, and oversees quality reviews and customer satisfaction surveys related to the program.
Program Planning - Provides advice and leadership in the development and implementation of EBSA's policy, strategic planning and evaluation, financial management, budgeting, human resources and administrative programs designed to assure effective management of Agency operations and resources.EBSA also maintains 15 regional and district field offices throughout the US to conduct investigations to detect and correct violations of Title I of ERISA and related criminal laws, and answer inquiries and complaints received by phone, mail, electronically or in person.Financial compensation
Financial compensation refers to the act of providing a person with money or other things of economic value in exchange for their goods, labor, or to provide for the costs of injuries that they have incurred.
Kinds of financial compensation include:
Damages, legal term for the financial compensation recoverable by reason of another's breach of duty
Nationalization compensation, compensation paid in the event of nationalization of property
Workers' compensation, to protect employees who have incurred work-related injuriesFringe benefits tax
A fringe benefits tax (FBT) is taxation of most, but not all fringe benefits, which are generally non-cash employee benefits. The rationale behind FBT is that it helps restore equity and fairness to those employees who do not receive such benefits, and allows a Federal Government to more fairly assess taxpayer entitlement to government benefits, or liability to government taxes or levies.
This kind of taxation is done in a number of countries and the applicable laws vary. See the corresponding articles for details.
Fringe benefits tax (Australia)
Fringe benefits tax (New Zealand)
Fringe benefits tax (India)Hub International
HUB International Limited is an insurance brokerage providing an array of property, casualty, risk management, life and health, employee benefits, investment, and wealth management products and services across North America. HUB has more than 375 offices across the United States and Canada and more than 10,000 employees. It is based in Chicago, Illinois.
HUB International was formed in 1998 with less than 300 employees and less than 50 Canadian offices. In early 2007, it was purchased by an investor group led by private equity firm Apax Partners in a going-private transaction.Human resource management
Human resource management (HRM or HR) is the strategic approach to the effective management of people in an organization so that they help the business to gain a competitive advantage. It is designed to maximize employee performance in service of an employer's strategic objectives. HR is primarily concerned with the management of people within organizations, focusing on policies and on systems. HR departments are responsible for overseeing employee-benefits design, employee recruitment, training and development, performance appraisal, and Reward management (e.g., managing pay and benefit systems). HR also concerns itself with organizational change and industrial relations, that is, the balancing of organizational practices with requirements arising from collective bargaining and from governmental laws.Human resources' overall purpose is to ensure that the organization is able to achieve success through people. HR professionals manage the human capital of an organization and focus on implementing policies and processes. They can specialize in recruiting, training, employee-relations or benefits, recruiting specialists, find, and hire top talent. Training and development professionals ensure that employees are trained and have continuous development. This is done through training programs, performance evaluations, and reward programs. Employee relations deals with concerns of employees when policies are broken, such as in cases involving harassment or discrimination. Employee benefits' role includes developing compensation structures, family-leave programs, discounts and other benefits that employees can get. On the other side of the field are human resources generalists or business partners. These human-resources professionals could work in all areas or be labor-relations representatives working with unionized employees.
HR is a product of the human relations movement of the early 20th century when researchers began documenting ways of creating business value through the strategic management of the workforce. It was initially dominated by transactional work, such as payroll and benefits administration, but due to globalization, company consolidation, technological advances, and further research, HR as of 2015 focuses on strategic initiatives like mergers and acquisitions, talent management, succession planning, industrial and labor relations, and diversity and inclusion. In the current global work environment, most companies focus on lowering employee turnover and on retaining the talent and knowledge held by their workforce. New hiring not only entails a high cost but also increases the risk of a newcomer not being able to replace the person who worked in a position before. HR departments strive to offer benefits that will appeal to workers, thus reducing the risk of losing employee commitment and psychological ownership.Human resources
Human resources are the people who make up the workforce of an organization, business sector, or economy. "Human capital" is sometimes used synonymously with "human resources", although human capital typically refers to a narrower effect (i.e., the knowledge the individuals embody and economic growth). Likewise, other terms sometimes used include manpower, talent, labor, personnel, or simply people.
A human-resources department (HR department) of an organization performs human resource management, overseeing various aspects of employment, such as compliance with labor law and employment standards, administration of employee benefits, and some aspects of recruitment.IAS 19
IAS 19 or International Accounting Standard Nineteen rule concerning employee benefits under the IFRS rules set by the International Accounting Standards Board. In this case, "employee benefits" includes wages and salaries as well as pensions, life insurance, and other perquisites.
The rules in IAS 19 explains the accounting for longer term employee benefits and post employment plans such as defined benefit retirement plans. Accordingly, most of the standard is taken up with explaining the rules for long term employee benefits.IFRS 2
IFRS 2 is an international financial reporting standard issued in February 2004 . by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to provide guidance on the accounting for share based payments.Ius Laboris
Ius Laboris is an international law firm network specializing in issues relating to employment law, employee benefits, and pensions. As of 2015, the network had over 1,400 HR lawyers based in around 50 countries across Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and Asia.Paid time off
Paid time off or personal time off (PTO) is a policy in some employee handbooks that provides a bank of hours in which the employer pools sick days, vacation days, and personal days that allows employees to use as the need or desire arises. This policy pertains mainly to the United States, where there are no federal legal requirements for a minimum number of paid vacation days (see also the list of statutory minimum employment leave by country). Instead, U.S. companies determine the amount of paid time off that will be allotted to employees, while keeping in mind the payoff in recruiting and retaining employees.
Generally PTO hours cover everything from planned vacations to sick days, and are becoming more prevalent in the field of human resource management. Unlike more traditional leave plans, PTO plans don't distinguish employee absences from personal days, vacation days, or sick days. Upon employment, the company determines how many PTO hours will be allotted per year and a "rollover" policy. Some companies let PTO hours accumulate for only a year, and unused hours disappear at year-end. Some PTO plans may also accommodate unexpected or unforeseeable circumstances such as jury duty, military duty, and bereavement leave. PTO bank plans typically do not include short-term or long-term disability leave, workers compensation, family and medical leave, sabbatical, or community service leave.It is unclear as to when PTO bank-type plans were first being utilized in the workforce. In a 2010 study conducted by WorldatWork, 44% of 387 companies surveyed said they started using PTO bank-type plans prior to year 2000.Profit sharing
Profit sharing refers to various incentive plans introduced by businesses that provide direct or indirect payments to employees that depend on company's profitability in addition to employees' regular salary and bonuses. In publicly traded companies these plans typically amount to allocation of shares to employees. One of the earliest pioneers of profit sharing was Englishman Theodore Cooke Taylor, who is known to have introduced the practice in his woollen mills during the late 1800s .
The profit sharing plans are based on predetermined economic sharing rules that define the split of gains between the company as a principal and the employee as an agent. For example, suppose the profits are , which might be a random variable. Before knowing the profits, the principal and agent might agree on a sharing rule . Here, the agent will receive and the principal will receive the residual gain .Relocation service
Relocation services, employee relocation or workforce mobility include a range of internal business processes to transfer employees, their families, and/or entire departments of a business to a new location. Like other types of employee benefits, these processes are usually administered by human resources specialists within a corporation.
Such business processes can include domestic residential services where an employee moves within a country or state as well as international relocation services which include planning for diplomats, managers etc. working abroad. An agency providing relocation services directs and manages the process of relocation including arranging necessary documents (visa, long-term stay permissions), finding a new house (accommodation), finding a school for children (education), finding a job for the partner or "trailing spouse", arranging a teacher for the family (language training) and introduce expatriates to the local culture.Salary packaging
Salary packaging (also known as salary sacrifice or salary exchange) is the inclusion of employee benefits (also called fringe benefits) in an employee remuneration package in exchange for giving up part of monetary salary. Such arrangements are entered into most commonly if there are tax or other benefits to be derived by the employer or employee from the arrangement.Take-home vehicle
A take-home vehicle, or company car is a vehicle which companies or organisations lease or own and which employees use for their personal and business travel.There are three main reasons which explain why the provision of a company car for private use as a benefit may be attractive for both the employee and the employer. The first reason is that companies can supply the fringe benefit at lower costs than the employee is able to achieve on their own – and consequently pass it on to the employee. Secondly, the tax system may encourage the provision of cars over monetary remuneration from the perspective of both the employer and employee. Thirdly, firms may want the employee to drive in a car of certain minimum standard or have access to a suitable vehicle at all times. It may also benefit the employer if there is advertising/branding on the car's paintwork (or window stickers), since if the employee uses the car during the evening/weekend, it spreads advertising in public areas more than if the car was locked up in a garage during these times.
The use of company cars is widespread in some regions. For example, business registrations account for roughly 50% of all car sales in the EU, largely due to taxation rules which give companies a strong incentive to provide the benefit. The practice has been criticised by many groups who argue that the benefit encourages people to drive more (thus increasing CO2 emissions), reduces government tax revenues, distorts economic competition, and may work to neutralise other government programs and objectives.Wage
A wage is monetary compensation (or remuneration, personnel expenses, labor) paid by an employer to an employee in exchange for work done. Payment may be calculated as a fixed amount for each task completed (a task wage or piece rate), or at an hourly or daily rate (wage labour), or based on an easily measured quantity of work done.
Wages are part of the expenses that are involved in running a business.
Payment by wage contrasts with salaried work, in which the employer pays an arranged amount at steady intervals (such as a week or month) regardless of hours worked, with commission which conditions pay on individual performance, and with compensation based on the performance of the company as a whole. Waged employees may also receive tips or gratuity paid directly by clients and employee benefits which are non-monetary forms of compensation. Since wage labour is the predominant form of work, the term "wage" sometimes refers to all forms (or all monetary forms) of employee compensation.Woodman's Markets
Woodman's Markets is an employee-owned U.S. regional supermarket chain based in Janesville, Wisconsin. Founded in 1919 as a produce stand, Woodman's has grown to operate seventeen stores in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Woodman's appeared on Supermarket News Top 50 Small Chains & Independents list since 2010. All Woodman's locations are open 24 hours a day, and have a gas station and convenience store within close proximity to the store.
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