Attention parents to be: your mind is most likely on many other things currently, we’re sure, but we want to kindly remind you to review your employee benefits long before the blessed event.
Why? We don’t want to start any trouble at work, but we all know that employers are in business to make money. Sure, you’ve been hired to help the company do that, but your employers are going to make sure to control costs as their first priority, long before they think of your perks.
Don’t let those controlled costs get in the way of any rich benefits you may need and deserve, especially after the baby comes along. Up-to-date and worthy benefits should make your life easier, both during and after work.
Even with your employers’ ever-present bottom line, employee benefits are still a huge consideration for them. Retaining skilled, loyal employees is one of the biggest challenges faced by corporate America.
One study reports that 87% of human resources (HR) leaders say that improving retention is a high priority for their organization; Forbes shares the outlook that retention success may include creating a more nurturing work environment for new mothers.
Due to the coworking revolution, the gig economy, the changing definition of family and marriage, and the drive to hire a younger workforce, reviewing your benefits are more vital than ever. Recently an Aflac survey found some startling statistics regarding work bennies:
• 55% of employees are likely to take a job with lower pay, but better benefits
• 34% of employees say improving their benefits package is one thing their employers could do to keep them in their jobs – second only to “increase my salary” and even more important than “give me a promotion.”
• 26% of employees have left a job or turned down employment in the last 12 months due to the benefits offered.
Interesting findings for sure, yet elaborate, amazing benefits could interfere with a company’s profits, especially when it comes to soaring health-care costs. Even if employers want to attract the very best employees—and they do—dreamy benefits may remain just that: a dream.
How Millennials Are Reviewing Employee Benefits
Increasingly, employees value choice when it comes to the benefits menu. In a recent survey, MetLife found 58% of employees want customized benefit options based on their personal information.
Also changing are employees’ attitudes toward the willingness to share costs for better benefits. That same MetLife survey found 52% of employees are willing to take on more of the benefit cost in order to have a choice of benefits that meet their needs.
If you’re a part of the later/younger Millennial generation (21-24 years old), 59% of you say that life events like having a baby impact your benefit decision making. The response increases to 73% for older Millennials (25-34 years old).
MetLife considers this a significant difference: 14%. What this suggests: older Millennials are making more family-focused benefit decisions as they are immersed in the stage of life when many impactful changes are happening.
The MetLife study shows that older Millennials are dead serious about the financial futures. They’re reviewing their retirement savings plans, rebalancing their investment portfolios and spending more time examining and reviewing employee benefits.
Companies rich with Millennials are making big changes to their benefits menu. They’re increasingly focused on providing the right mix of benefits that will attract the best workers, and encourage commitment and loyalty.
If you’re a member of this generation, time and employers’ wish lists are on your side. It’s more likely that you may have negotiating power when you are reviewing employee benefits.
Recommended: How Employers Can Help New Parents
What’s Most In Demand When Reviewing Employee Benefits
In general, these are the most in-demand employee benefits, according to Glassdoor:
• Work-Life Balance
• Student Loan Assistance
• Additional Professional Development
Considering Maternity Leave When Reviewing Employee Benefits
Check your company’s maternity leave policy. In most cases, U.S.-based employers are not required to grant this leave unless you work at a company with at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your work site.
If eligible, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act . This guarantees your job and health care benefits.
Don’t ever assume that you are not eligible for maternity leave benefits. Some leave plans could include part-time employees and other employment statuses.
You can also choose to work during your pregnancy, right up to the end. Pregnancy accommodation rights in the workplace are covered by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) , the Family and Medical Leave Act , and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) .
Ask your HR department about how childcare is handled, if at all. Your job may offer on-site childcare, or have contacts with daycare centers or nanny agencies that could include an employee discount.
Flexible and Family-Friendly Schedules
According to a recent Zenefits survey , 77% of employees consider flexible work arrangements a major consideration when evaluating future job opportunities. Plus, 21% of respondents said strongly agree when asked if they are likely to leave their currently employer within in the next 12 months because they don’t offer certain flexible arrangements.
With a kid on the way, a flexible work schedule can be an important benefit to think about. Check with your employee to understand their policies on this and decide if it is right for you in this next change in your life.
One of the Hottest New Employee Benefits: Student Loan Reimbursement
For millions of Americans tangling with their student debt while trying to start a family, loan repayment assistance is new and most attractive perk. It’s not a mainstream employee benefit just yet, but Forbes reports that major companies like Fidelity, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are offering the benefit to their employees.
Not all companies can offer such a lavish perk, but even a small employer contribution can help things along. In fact, IonTuition reports that about three-quarters of borrowers make monthly payments of $300 or less.
If your company doesn’t offer this employee benefit, you could take advantage of SoFi’s student loan refinancing. Refinancing your student loans could help save you money so you can have extra money for your new bundle of joy.
First, know the difference between student loan refinancing and student loan consolidation. Consolidation is when you combine multiple federal loans into one single loan.
Refinancing, on the other hand, gets you a brand new loan at a new and lower interest rate or repayment term from a private lender. Both federal and private loans are able to be regrouped into a new loan from a private lender.
You can apply online, with absolutely no application fees. If approved, there are no origination fees, and no prepayment penalties. Live customer support is also available, seven days a week.
Reviewing Employee Benefits When You Have A Qualifying Life Event (QLE)
A change in your life situation, like getting married or having a baby, can make you eligible for a special enrollment period at work, which would allow you to change your health insurance outside the usual open enrollment period (check with your employer or HR department). The term for this is a Qualifying Life Event (QLE).
How To Review Your Employee Benefits
Find out ahead of time when your benefit reviews are offered, and start your research, due diligence, and comparison shopping a few months in advance.
Know What you Want
Configure your list of what would make the most sense for you as far as employee benefits go. Having a list of prioritized benefits you can reference is great to have on-hand when discussing with HR.
Know the Competition
If your employer is offering a certain type of benefit, take the time to discover similar (or even better) programs in the marketplace, or those similar benefits offered by competitors. Ask friends, colleagues, and family what their employers are offering along the same lines.
Don’t Just Look at Salary
“The first mistake that young people make when they go into the workforce – when they’re comparing jobs – they just look at income,” Stephanie Genkin, Certified Financial Planner ™practitioner and founder of My Financial Planner LLC in Brooklyn, New York tells U.S. News and World Report. “[Your employee benefits are] worth probably about 30 percent of your total compensation,” Genkin says.
Reviewing Employee Benefits When Working For A Small Business
About four in five U.S. employees would prefer new or additional benefits instead of a pay increase. This type of request is particularly a challenge for small businesses. In particular: health insurance.
When 2,000 respondents were given the option to choose a list of 17 benefits for a lower-paying job that would make it comparable to a higher-paying job, 88% of them chose better health, dental, and vision insurance.
How SoFi Can Help You When Reviewing Your Employee Benefits
When it comes time to review your employee benefits, SoFi can steer you in the right direction. Your retirement plan, company stock options, pay raises, and performance bonuses should be set up in a way that benefits you. We aim to help you reach your goals faster. All it takes is a plan, and a way to stick to it.
To help your money goals stay on track, sign up for SoFi Relay. You can connect your accounts to see everything in one place. Plus, you can track and categorize your spending and cash flow in real-time. And the charge for all of this? Zero. We created SoFi Relay to help you stick to your money goals.
Don’t forget you can always set up an appointment with one of our financial planners for real live human advice if you would like additional help.
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