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Starting salary is just one of many variables people consider when deciding to accept a job offer. Offering flexible benefits is one way that smaller businesses can compete with larger companies for top talent.

For many people, benefits such as health insurance and paid time off are even more important. However, they also value choice when it comes to selecting benefits that work best for themselves and their family.

Here’s what you need to know:

What are flexible benefits?

Employee benefits include compensation paid to workers that go beyond their typical salary. Some common examples include:

  • Dental insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability pay
  • Paid time off
  • Retirement savings account
  • Short-term disability pay

Knowing which benefits to offer employees can be challenging, especially when you consider that people from the Baby Boom, Generation X, Millennial, and Generation Z generations are currently in the workplace. With such a wide range of ages and family situations, offering employees maximum choice with flexible benefits just makes sense.

Common examples of flexible benefits

The cafeteria plan is currently one of the most common types of flexible benefits that employers offer to their employees. With a cafeteria plan, employees can choose from among several options per benefit category. However, the benefits offered must meet criteria under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code.

Employees are under no obligation to accept all benefits offered to them under a cafeteria plan. For example, older employees with no dependent children would not need a tax-free account to pay for childcare, and people with perfect vision would not need a separate vision plan.

The fact that employees can choose the right benefits for their situation at a level that makes sense to them is one of the biggest selling points of a cafeteria plan.

Advantages of flexible benefits for employers and employees

The more flexible benefits an employer can offer, the more it improves their brand and contributes towards employee well-being. People who know their employer cares about them feel more content at work.

They are also more likely to praise the employer rather than complain when talking to friends and family about their job. The result is positive word-of-mouth advertising that does not cost the employer a thing.

Offering flexible benefits can be instrumental in enabling employees to juggle their many roles. Flexible scheduling is just one common example. Employees with school-aged children will appreciate the ability to start their shift later or end earlier to cut down on childcare costs for at least a portion of the day.

Discounted gym memberships, free smoking cessation programs, and an Employee Assistance Program that offers free one-time counseling are additional examples of flexible benefits that help workers remain as physically and mentally healthy as possible.

Need additional help with flexible employee benefits?

From health insurance to 401(k) retirement savings and beyond, Palmetto Payroll is here to help South Carolina’s small and mid-sized employers offer the best possible benefits to their employees.

Please request a consultation with us to learn more.