Benefits in the Workplace: Who Is Eligible?

For a business to thrive, an employer must learn to take proper care of their employees. Without employees, achieving a company’s goals would be nearly impossible. As many new employers come to learn, if you want to keep your good employees, you need to give them a reason to stay.

One of the main reasons for quick employee turnover is the lack of benefits provided by their company. Still, some businesses think they don’t have enough funds to offer proper employee benefits. However, the money an employer saves early on may soon end up putting their business at stake. This is why many employers make it a point to include, at the very least, basic employee benefits to let them know that they are assets to the company.

Basic Employee Benefits Required by Law

In the U.S., each state has different requirements when it comes to benefits. However, the law requires employers to provide a few basic benefits to employees, such as:

  • Giving employees time off for activities like voting, serving jury duty, and military service.
  • Comply with all workers’ compensation requirements.
  • Providing benefits to unemployed workers by paying state and federal unemployment taxes.
  • Providing benefits to retired and disabled employees by paying FICA, or Federal Insurance Contributions Act, taxes.
  • Complying with the FMLA, or Federal Family and Medical Leave, where employees are allowed to take an unpaid leave of absence due to medical or family reasons.
  • Contribute to short-term disability programs in states where these programs exist.

Aside from these, there are many other types of benefits that employers may provide.

Types of Employee Benefits

Life Insurance

If an employee dies, their family receives a lump sum from the insurance company. This benefit is usually paid to a spouse or child. Medium and large firms usually provide company-sponsored life insurance to their employees.

Medical Insurance

This typically covers doctor and hospital visits, prescriptions, and wellness care. In some cases, this also covers dental and optical care and even includes dependents. Employees are usually expected to pay all, or in other cases, a percentage of the premium cost for their medical insurance.

Disability Insurance

This type of benefit is not as common in the workplace and can cause many employer-employee disputes. Disability insurance helps provide income to an employee who cannot work or earn an income due to a disability. This covers many impairments from diabetes to HIV, and many policyholders who find themselves unfit to work can claim disability insurance benefits.

Retirement Benefits

Retirement benefits come in the form of funds that an employee can receive at the end of their career. These come in two categories: defined benefit plans (pension plans) and defined contribution plans (401k plans).


Fringe Benefits

Employers typically use this type of benefit to attract and keep their good employees. These benefits come in non-cash variations such as childcare benefits, tuition assistance, non-production bonuses, etc.

Paid Time Off

Also known as PTO, paid time off comes in three categories: holidays, sick leaves, and vacation leaves. Employees can earn these while they’re working for the company and are often received as separate benefits.

Are You Eligible for Benefits?

An employee’s eligibility to receive certain benefits depends on a few aspects.

One aspect is your work status. While more companies are starting to offer more benefits to part-timers, full-time employees are more likely to receive benefits compared to their part-time counterparts.

Another aspect is the amount of time an employee has spent working for a company. Depending on the company’s policies, benefits can take effect anywhere from the first day of work to one year after employment. Even if an employee becomes eligible after a certain period, they may still not have access to the benefits provided to them.

Other restrictions can affect an employee’s eligibility to receive benefits, as some plans may require a medical exam before an employee can enroll in a plan. In some cases, some disabilities and conditions may be excluded from their health care plan.

Employees need to look into benefit packages and note who’s paying for these benefits and how much they will have to contribute to receive these benefits. This is especially important for medical insurance as it is usually the most costly one.

As the employment season is nearing, employers need to attract good employees that can help their business grow. However, it’s just as important for employees to consider their employment choices carefully. If both parties can come to a mutual understanding, each side can benefit from the other. Employees, often called the backbone of a business, will keep a business running smoothly and help employers achieve company goals.

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