The Importance of Basic Employee Benefits

Employers who hope to retain solid, hard-working employees should be prepared to offer basic employee benefits. In addition to salary, good benefits provide important resources that not only help build a positive working relationship between employer and employee but also promote good work habits and financial practices.

Employee benefits will vary depending on the employer, and it is important for business owners to carefully consider their options. For example, the type of industry in which your business falls will help determine the types of basic employee benefits important to your staff. A job that requires employees to work outside in inclement weather, for example, might offer more paid sick leave than an indoor office position.

Employee Health Insurance Benefits
The most fundamental of all basic employee benefits is health insurance, which should be provided so that staff members can visit the doctor when they fall ill. Not only does this help the employee save money, but it also helps the employer by encouraging staff members to get treatment, thus allowing them to return to work more quickly and not spread illness to the rest of the staff.

Employee health insurance benefits should include health plans that allow employees to visit doctors in close physical proximity and assist with prescription purposes. There are several different options available to business owners, from PPOs to HMOs, so it is important to consider each option carefully.

HMOs, for example, require that employees stick to a specific hierarchy of care, from the primary care physician to the specialist. PPOs are slightly more flexible but more expensive for the employee. They allow patients to visit a wider range of physicians within the network. Choosing employee health insurance benefits should be a process that considers all possible needs of the employee.

Paid Vacation
Employees who work all day, every day, without a break in sight, will generally be less productive on the job. Offering paid vacation as part of your benefits package will create a more positive work environment and will help your employees avoid burnout. According to, there are several ways in which paid vacation can be structured.

For example, some employers offering basic employee benefits allow employees to "earn" paid vacation through years of service. It is also important to determine whether or not your employees will be allowed to carry over unused paid vacation days when a new year begins.

Paid Leave
Similar to employee health insurance benefits, paid leave allows sick employees to stay home and recover without jeopardizing their paychecks. Paid leave, like paid vacation, can take many forms. For example, maternity and paternity leave, examples of paid sick leave, are given to new parents who need to stay home with newborn children. Paid leave can also apply to employees who come down with the common cold or flu.

In some cases, these basic employee benefits are called "personal days," which implies that they can be used for reasons other than injury or illness. Some employees simply need a mental health day to recuperate from the stress at work; personal days give them that option.

Retirement Plans
A retirement plan allows employees to prepare for their futures, securing their financial stability after they have aged out of the work force. Furthermore, it is easier for businesses to offer retirement benefits than most people think.

For small businesses, the Payroll Deduction IRA might be the easiest. According to the IRS, this type of retirement plan allows the employee to contribute to an IRA without the employer matching those contributions. This is best for employers with limited funds.

A 401(k) plan is arguably the most popular of the basic employee benefits. It allows employees to contribute tax-deferred earnings to their retirement plans while the employer assists. Simple 401(k) options are available to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

These basic employee benefits, from employee health insurance benefits to retirement plans, are all worth consideration. If your business doesn't currently offer any compensation other than salary or hourly wages, you might find that your staff members are more loyal when you provide additional incentives.

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