For a new employee, a well-designed benefits package can be the determining factor when choosing which job to take. Medical insurance, dental insurance, life insurance and retirement plans are all part of incentives packages that woo employees into various positions. Fringe and other benefits like company cars, extended vacation days and bonuses are also valuable incentives. Whether you’re looking for a new job or were just hired, here is a guide to potential fringe benefits to ask for when negotiating your contract:

• Child-care services
• Flexible work schedule/work-at-home days
• Maternity/paternity leave
• Relocation expenses (including house buy-back programs and moving costs)
• Education programs/tuition reimbursement
• Profit Sharing
• Stock Options
• Free or reduced-rate health club membership
• On-site health club and child care facilities
• Dependant care for elderly relatives
• Employee assistance/counseling services
• Comp time for overtime hours worked
• Paid parking or commuter vanpools
• Transit cost reimbursement
• Expense reimbursement for entertainment, meals and travel costs

Read the Fine Print
Fringe and other benefits are perks that make your job easier and your company a great place to work. In order to make sure that you understand all of your benefits and how to use them, though, here are some questions to ask your new employer:

1. Are you responsible for any monthly or per-pay-period costs for the overall plan? This could apply to benefits like childcare and gym memberships.
2. Who is covered under your plan (Your spouse? Children? Civil partners?)
3. When does each component of the benefit package actually begin? This is important to know, since many packages require a 14 to 90-day waiting period before benefits kick in.
4. Are any of the benefits taxable by law? If so, you should take this into account as an added expense.
5. Do all benefits come as a part of a package or can you pick and choose options “cafeteria-style?” If so, are there any additional restrictions that you need to know about?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can most accurately weigh your options to make an educated decision. You will want to choose your benefits carefully to truly tailor your package to the needs of you and your family. While childcare is important to some employees, flextime at home is more of a priority for others. And remember – it is far easier to negotiate these details at the beginning of your tenure with a company than after you’ve already been with the company for any length of time. Employers are more flexible with their offerings when they’re trying to get you on board.

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Finally, keep your benefit package details to yourself. While you may be proud of your accomplished negotiation skills, you can potentially alienate other workers who may not be receiving the same perks as you.

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