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Seven employer benefits that can leave you more money

These seven employer benefits can add up to leave you some serious spending money. They also might help fund an employer supported vacation.

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    A job seeker fills out a job application during a job fair at Dolphin Mall in Miami (Oct 6, 2015). Job applicants should look at the potential for benefits.
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Looking for a new job? Don't go by salary alone. Look at all the perks that your potential new employer offers.

The Society for Human Resource Management reported that 35% of U.S. companies increased the amount of benefits they offered employees in 2015. Some of these companies began offering more vacations or even free health insurance for their workers' cats and dogs.

Here is a look at seven of these more unusual employee benefits that could leave you with a fatter wallet each year.

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1. Tuition Assistance

The Society for Human Resource Management found that 52% of companies in 2015 offered some form of tuition assistance for employees seeking a graduate degree. This is a valuable perk. Peterson's, a Web portal offering information for current and potential college students, reported in 2015 that the average cost for a master's degree was $30,000 at public universities and $40,000 at private universities. FinAid.org says that the average annual cost for a graduate degree — depending on what type of degree you are seeking — ranges from $30,000 to $120,000.

2. Transit Subsidy

The Society for Human Resource Management reported that 13% of companies in 2015 offered transit subsidies to help cover the costs their employees pay to get to and from work. Again, this benefit can add up: In June of 2015, Citi's ThankYou Premier Commuter Index found that workers spent an average of $2,600 to get to and from their jobs.

3. Health Club Memberships

Employers want their workers to remain healthy. Employees who aren't sick can complete more reports, close more sales, and build more widgets. It's not surprising, then, that many offer either full or discounted memberships to local gyms or health clubs. If your employer offers this perk, take advantage of it. IBISWorld reported that in 2014 the average member of a gym paid $41 a month in membership fees. This means that a free membership to your area gym could save you about $490 a year in fees.

4. Vacation Spending Money

A 2014 Forbes story highlighted the vacation spending money that Moz, an SEO and marketing company, was providing to its employees. According to the story, Moz offered employees $3,000 in vacation reimbursement to help cover the costs of their food, lodging, entertainment, and transportation while they vacationed across the globe. This might seem excessive, but some employers worry that their workers aren't taking enough of their vacation days. A vacation voucher might encourage some to unplug from the working world for a week or two, allowing them to return to the office recharged.

5. Pet Health Insurance

Pets can rack up some big medical bills. And insuring pets can be costly. Bloomberg Business cited numbers from the American Pet Health Insurance Association showing that in 2013 it cost an average of $457 a year in annual premiums to insure a dog and $290 for a cat. The good news? The Society for Human Resource Management reported that in 2015, 9% of employers offered employees access to free or discounted pet health insurance.

6. House Cleaning Services

Too tired after a long day at work to clean your house? You're not alone. It's why so many people hire professional house cleaning services. These services aren't cheap. Angie's List in 2014 reported that its members paid an average of $100 to $150 every two weeks for a professional house cleaning. In 2015, Payscale.com cited one example of this cash-saving benefit: Tech company Evernote provides its employees with free house-cleaning servicestwo times a month.

7. Free Netflix

Love streaming movies at home? Then maybe you can find an employer that offers freesubscriptions to Netflix. That 2014 Forbes story on unique company benefits said that some employers offer free subscriptions to Netflix and other streaming services — in addition to free magazine and newspaper subscriptions. Netflix is now charging new members $8.99 a month. These means that if your employer gives you free access to the streaming service, you'll instantly nab $107.88 a year in extra spending money.

This article first appeared at Wise Bread. 

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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