If your job offers an employee benefits package, it’s likely that there are some benefits you aren’t taking advantage of. In every job, the benefits package is almost as important (or sometimes equally important) as the salary you’re offered. Benefits cover everything from your health insurance to your vacation time. But in between those common benefits are some that you may overlook because you aren’t quite sure how much of a benefit they really are to you.

As 2020 nears to a close, take a few minutes to review what your organization gives you as part of your employment package. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, benefits can add close to another one-third of the employee’s compensation costs.

Employee Assistance Program

Commonly called an EAP, this option allows you to talk to a counselor when you need some guidance getting through a period of personal or work-related stress. Commonly, the EAP covers a set amount of free counseling sessions for each different issue you want to discuss (family members may also receive this same benefit for the same amounts of time). If, after the three sessions, you and the therapist feel like you would benefit from longer-term treatment, you can find those resources. But you may just have needed a new perspective and this benefit gives you that for no cost.

Financial Advice

If you have a retirement plan, you might have access to financial counselors as well. They can give you some guidance on your finances, steps you might need to take for a more secure retirement, or some guidance around saving for a home, educational costs, or a long-awaited vacation. And if your company offers any kind of retirement match, be sure you are taking full advantage of that benefit.

Additional Insurance

Organizations offer employees all kinds of additional insurance as employee benefits options. If you’re looking for life insurance or long-term care insurance options, you may be able to get it through your company. If you want the security of short or long-term disability insurance, find out what your company offers just so you’ll know if you need it. The amounts you are likely to pay through your insurer will be competitive (some organizations may offer life insurance for free up to a certain amount—take advantage of that) and it’s helpful to know you’re protected.

Wellness Reimbursement and Activities

Do you have a membership at the local gym? Do you take lunchtime yoga at work (a nice benefit in itself!) or use acupuncture to help with a sore neck? All of those services may be reimbursed or compensated in part by your benefits package. You may get a set dollar amount per quarter for health classes or gym memberships. More companies are also offering reimbursement for therapies and practices that were preciously not covered—for instance, chiropractic visits with designated providers. Your employer invests in these benefits because healthy employees are better employees. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, in 2019 employers shelled out an average of $15,000 per employee for health insurance benefits (that’s in addition to your annual costs), so keeping employees healthy keeps that number down.

Pull out your benefits package before the end of the year and commit to using at least one benefit you haven’t taken advantage of yet. You could save money, boost your wellness goals, and plan for a more secure future. Don’t let those benefits slip by you.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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