How to Take Advantage of Employee Benefits

Most workers are classified as either an independent contractor or employee. Independent contractors usually have the freedom to set their own hours and choose their own tasks whereas employees work the hours set by their employer and have little or no say in their assigned duties. Only employees, however, are eligible for benefits.

Also read: 5 Benefits of Flexible Hours

Some of these benefits are required by law while others are optional. So, if you work as an employee, consider the following tips to take advantage of these benefits.

Health Insurance

If you’re among the millions of uninsured Americans, talk to your employer about getting health insurance. According to PeopleKeep, employers with at least 50 full-time employees are required by law to offer health insurance to their employees. Failure to comply with this law results in a tax penalty.

Some companies go above and beyond to provide exceptional health insurance to their employees. The online domain registrar GoDaddy pays 100 percent of employees’ premiums as well as 50 percent of their family members’ premiums. The social media network Twitter also offers top-notch health insurance.

According to Glassdoor, Twitter covers 100 percent of employees’ premiums while also paying for vision and dental coverage. Regardless of the company for which you work, you should inquire about health insurance. It’s one of the many benefits of working as an employee.

Wellness Program

In addition to health insurance, some employers offer wellness programs for their employees. This voluntary program encourages employees to exercise and make smarter dieting choices, typically in exchange for rewards.

Also read: Should You Consider Standing Desks? Benefits and Options for Healthier Employees

Participating in a wellness program can help employees combat chronic disease, maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking and more.

Overtime Compensation

Consider clocking extra hours at work. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), your employer may be legally required to pay you more for these long weeks.

As explained by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), most workers classified as employees can receive overtime compensation of 150 percent or more of their regular wages for every additional hour they work in a 40-hour week. If you normally earn $20 per hour and work 50 hours in a week, for example, you’ll earn at least $30 per hour for the last 10 hours. Employees who earn more than $455 per week, however, are considered exempt unless otherwise stated by state laws, thus making them ineligible for overtime compensation.

Paid Vacation

While there’s no federal or state law requiring employers to provide employees with paid vacation, many employers offer this incentive. The BLS says that nearly one-quarter of employees are eligible for paid vacations. Unfortunately, many of these employees aren’t aware of this benefit, resulting in a missed opportunity for a free vacation. Whether you want to take a trip to the beach or simply lounge around the house for a lazy weekend, you should take advantage of paid vacation if it’s offered by your employer.

Providing employees with paid vacation is often a challenge for employers. They must keep track of employees’ vacation days, adding or removing them when necessary. Vacation tracking software, however, can simplify this task. It provides a simple, easy-to-use interface in which employers can track their employees’ paid vacation days.

Relocation Assistance

You might be surprised to learn that many employers offer relocation assistance for their employees. Also known as a relocation package, it may include moving, housing, storage, transportation and other related expenses. If your job requires you to move, check to see if your employer offers relocation assistance. This is an easy way to offset the otherwise high cost of moving.

These are just a few benefits of working as an employee. After talking to your employer or human resources (HR) manager, you’ll probably discover other benefits.

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