According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, benefits make up more than 30 percent of a typical job’s pay. But figuring out what your benefits are worth isn’t always easy.
You may need to do a little research to find out how much your employer contributes toward health insurance, retirement benefits, and other perks. Some benefits also have non-monetary value, and people may value the same benefits in different ways.
For example, people with health problems are likely to appreciate guaranteed access to disability or life insurance that would otherwise be difficult to obtain or prohibitively expensive. Someone with student loans may appreciate an educational debt assistance program much more than someone without student loan debt.
Now that the open enrollment season is upon us again, it’s a good time to check your employer’s current offerings. Understanding what your accomplishments are worth might renew your commitment to your current job—or make you realize it’s time to start looking for a better deal. If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you can better understand how much more you need to earn to replace your current accomplishments.
Here are some of the most common benefits, along with typical employer contribution amounts, according to Mercer, an employee benefits consultant.
Health Insurance: $5,000 to $20,000
Employer-provided health insurance plans range from the bare-bones to the rather extravagant. On average, however, employers paid 83 percent of the $7,739 premium for individual insurance and 73 percent of the $22,221 premium for family insurance, according to KFF, a health insurance research organization.
On your 2021 W-2, you can find what both you and your employer paid for your health insurance over the past year, says Paul Fronstin, director of health benefits research at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, or EBRI. The annual figure is often reported using a “DD” code.
Your employer can also itemize their contribution on your pay slip. A payslip is a document that contains the details of your gross and after-tax salary along with various deductions. You can often access your payslip through your company’s online payslip system. ask your HR department for details.
Premiums are, of course, only one factor in evaluating your health insurance. Deductibles, co-payments and provider networks also play a role. Access to different types of plans can make open enrollment more confusing, but it can also help you tailor your coverage to your situation.
Pension plan: 3% to 10% of salary
EBRI surveys have consistently found that the benefit employees value most, after health insurance, is access to a retirement plan, while all other benefits rank in “a distant third,” Fronstin says.
According to AARP, people with company pension plans like 401(k)s are much more likely to save for retirement than those who don’t. These plans offer automatic payroll deductions, and many also auto-enroll.
Most 401(k) forms also come with company matches — free money that can help employees build wealth faster. The most common grants include 50 percent of the first 6 percent of wages the worker contributes, or a dollar-for-dollar surcharge of 3 to 6 percent of wages.
Employers can contribute an even higher percentage of salary into traditional pension plans that promise a specific monthly benefit in retirement. This is in contrast to 401(k)s and other defined contribution plans, where the amounts you get in retirement depend on how much is paid in and how your investments perform.
Pensions are still common among government agencies, colleges, and nonprofits in the healthcare sector, although only about 15 percent of private sector workers have access to such plans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Everything else: zero to thousands
Employers who offer dental insurance typically pay $500 to $2,500 a year for coverage, according to Sandra Sweeney, head of Mercer’s careers practice. Life insurance costs an average of $100 to $300 per employee, while disability insurance typically costs $250 to $1,500.
Employers may offer access to other coverages such as B. additional life insurance, long-term care insurance or pet insurance. Workers typically pay the full cost but can benefit from group rates on the policies, Frontstin says.
Support for training costs is also becoming increasingly popular. About half of employers offer college grants, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. And of the companies surveyed by EBRI last year, 17 percent were offering some form of debt assistance for student loans, while another 31 percent planned to do so.
Workers can also exclude up to $5,250 in student aid from their income on their tax returns, according to the IRS. And by 2025, the limit will also include student loan repayment assistance.
Remember, your employer offers benefits to attract, retain, and reward employees. If you’re not sure what all of your benefits are or what they’re worth, your HR department will be happy to answer them, Fronstin says.
“Ask your employer,” says Frontstin. “It is no secret.”
By Liz Weston of NerdWallet
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