While most people focus on salary as the main form of compensation they receive for working, your benefits are also a big part of how you are paid for your work. While some benefits may not be useful to you, there are some things that everyone needs and that you should be prioritizing. These benefits can have a huge impact on your life and ability to perform your job well.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is one of the most popular benefits that companies can offer, and it is one that you should take advantage of if you can, and should advocate for if it isn’t currently part of your compensation package. While it is possible to purchase coverage independently from what is offered by your employer, employers can often offer discounted rates because they have a larger group purchasing from the provider. 

Employers will also often subsidize your plan a little, which saves you even more money. If you have an HSA, they may provide a match, which will help build up the money you can spend on your health expenses. The HR department will also be able to provide you with suggested plans, based on your life circumstances.

A Retirement Plan

The sooner you start working on your retirement plan, the better off you will be in the long run. Similar to health insurance, many companies that offer a retirement plan are able to do the research and negotiate on your behalf so that you know you are making a wise investment. Many employer-offered retirement plans take the form of a 401(k). You can contribute up to $20,500 to a 401(k) plan in 2022

If you are currently signed up for a retirement plan through your employer, ask the HR department if they provide one, if there is a company match, and how long it takes for that match to become fully vested. If they don’t currently offer a retirement benefit, it may be a good idea to talk to some of your coworkers about petitioning the company to add this benefit.

Paid Time Off

Paid time off is a huge benefit that allows you to take time off for vacation or to simply relax, without stressing that this will hurt your financial well-being. Most employers that offer PTO understand the importance of having a good work-life balance. When talking with HR, make sure you ask them for details about how time off works, when requests need to be made, and any other important details. If you are working full-time and your company doesn’t offer any kind of PTO, especially in a corporate setting, this is something that you should be negotiating. The next time you are up for a raise, consider negotiating for PTO instead.

If you feel like you are not receiving all of the benefits that you need, now is the time to talk to your boss or to HR about how this situation can be fixed. Don’t allow yourself to be short-changed on your compensation or on your well-being.

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