The Basics of Employee Benefits

When you own a small business, good quality employees are one of the most important requirements for success and growth. Good employees are an asset to your company, contributing to its positive image, and, through their high-quality work, helping the company to grow and succeed, saving you time and money along the way.

So, how do you attract the best potential employees, and get them to stick around? You offer them good employee benefits.

What are Employee Benefits?

For new employees, one of the primary concerns is what they will be paid. In addition, there are also various types of non-wage compensation, which are known as employee benefits. Employee benefits include a variety of different benefits or perks that are meant to increase the economic security of the employees, improving the quality of their lives and encouraging them to remain employed with your business.

Familiar types of employee benefits include health insurance and other types of group insurance; disability coverage; paid and non-paid vacation time and sick leave; social security; retirement benefits; daycare; company profit sharing; and housing. The term “perks” may also refer to any benefits that are optional or discretionary, such as travel and meal allowances, leisure privileges during work hours, and even first-choice assignments and scheduling. These perks will often go to employees who have reached certain milestones.

Laying the Foundation

As an employer, you are legally required to provide full-time employees with certain benefits. These include workers’ compensation; compliance with Federal Family and Medical Leave (FMLA); paying all necessary taxes, including state and federal unemployment taxes, and FICA taxes; and providing employees with the time off to vote, serve on a jury, or perform military service.

You are not required to provide retirement plans, health plans, life insurance plans, or paid vacations and sick leave, but most business owners will provide at least some of these benefits. Employees are most interested in these types of benefits, and to stay competitive your business may need to provide at least some of them. Many businesses provide all of them.

The Benefits of a Good Benefits Package

A good employee benefits package is not simply beneficial for your employees; it also benefits your business. A quality benefits package, including many of the benefits listed above, will attract skilled and educated candidates who know they will be appreciated for their contribution to the company. This will give you a more diverse group of potential employees to choose from, allowing you to select the best candidates.

In addition, good employee benefits will help you retain those valuable employees. When employees are given the additional non-wage benefits they need to provide for themselves and their families, they are more likely to stay on in their position for years, saving you from a frequent search for new employees.

Employee benefits are not simply a necessity. A good quality employee benefits package provides your employees with the insurance and extras they need to care for themselves and their families, and it assures them that you value their abilities and contributions to the company.

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