HR’s Guide to Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits are a crucial aspect of modern compensation strategies, going beyond basic salaries to offer employees a comprehensive package that supports their overall well-being. For HR teams and business owners, understanding and effectively managing these benefits is key to attracting and retaining top talent. 

This article aims to answer the question of what are fringe benefits and why they are a crucial component of modern compensation strategies. Armed with this knowledge, you will be better equipped to create a more attractive and supportive company culture that benefits your employees and organization. 

Exploring what are fringe benefits reveal a range of non-wage compensations that employers offer to attract and retain talent. As we delve into what fringe benefits are, it becomes clear that these perks extend well beyond health insurance and retirement plans.

What are fringe benefits?

One may wonder what are fringe benefits and how they differ from standard salary offerings. Fringe benefits, often referred to as “perks” or “employee benefits,” encompass a wide range of additional compensations provided to employees on top of their standard salaries or wages. Unlike salary, fringe benefits are non-wage compensations aimed at improving an employee’s engagement and life within and outside the workplace. 

The importance of these benefits lies in their ability to offer support in areas like health, financial security, and personal growth, creating a comprehensive compensation package for employees that goes beyond just a paycheck. Understanding fringe benefits available helps HR teams and business owners design more attractive and competitive compensation packages.

By integrating additional fringe benefits into the overall compensation strategy, organizations can significantly enhance their brand image to current and potential employees, fostering a more satisfied and loyal workforce.

What are the required and voluntary benefits?

what are fringe benefits

When understanding what are fringe benefits, it’s crucial to be able to distinguish between required and voluntary offerings. This distinction is important for HR teams and business owners when it comes to crafting comprehensive benefits packages that comply with legal standards while addressing the unique needs of their workforce.

Required fringe benefits

Certain benefits are mandated by law and must be provided by employers. These include:

This refers to vacation, sick leave, and public holidays. The specific allotment and conditions can vary based on local employment laws.

Severance pay

Compensation provided to employees upon termination of employment under certain conditions, offering financial support during their transition.

Maternity leave

Providing maternity leave for mothers around the time of childbirth or adoption, ensuring they have the necessary time to care for their new child without fear of losing their job.

Statutory contributions

Employers are required to contribute to national schemes on behalf of their employees, such as social security, healthcare, and pension funds, ensuring a level of financial security for the workforce.

Common examples of voluntary benefits

Voluntary benefits are those that employers choose to offer beyond the legally required minimums, which can potentially make the company more attractive to current and potential employees. Here are some common examples:

Health insurance

Offers coverage for medical expenses, including doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, and sometimes dental and vision care. Health insurance is one of the most valued benefits by employees, as it directly affects their well-being.

Retirement savings plan

Allows employees to save for retirement, often with the advantage of tax-deferred growth. Many employers also match a portion of the employee’s contributions, further incentivizing participation and helping employees secure their financial future.

Life insurance

Provides financial security to an employee’s beneficiaries in the event of their death. This benefit is particularly appreciated by employees with dependents, as it ensures their loved ones are financially taken care of.

Disability insurance

Offers income protection to employees who are unable to work due to a disability. This insurance can be short-term, covering a few months, or long-term, covering several years, safeguarding an employee’s income during periods of illness or injury.

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Why do companies provide fringe benefits?

fringe benefits

Now that we’ve covered the types of fringe benefits, another critical aspect of this discussion is understanding what are fringe benefits and their role in employee satisfaction and retention. 

The provision of fringe benefits goes beyond compliance with legal requirements or industry standards. It’s a strategic move made by businesses to achieve several key objectives that contribute to the organization’s success and sustainability. Fringe benefits can serve multiple purposes such as:

Attract top talent 

In today’s competitive job market, salary alone might not be enough to attract the best candidates. Voluntary fringe benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings plans, and flexible working conditions can make it more appealing.

Keep employees engaged and motivated

Offering benefits that contribute to employees’ well-being and job satisfaction helps in keeping them motivated. Engaged employees are more productive, creative, and committed to company goals.

Omni in action: Discover how Newbit unlocked the power of employee engagement with Omni!

Reduce attrition rates

High turnover can be costly for companies, not just financially but also in terms of lost knowledge and skills. By providing a comprehensive benefits package, employers can reduce attrition rates, saving on recruitment costs and preserving organizational knowledge.

Enhanced employer brand

A company that is known for taking good care of its employees enhances its reputation among potential candidates, within the industry and its customer base. This positive employer brand can lead to increased business opportunities and attract quality talent.

Next, we’ll explore the key considerations for HR teams and business owners when it comes to designing a fringe benefits program that meets the needs of both employees and the organization.

Things to Consider When Designing a Benefits Program

If you’re looking to enhance your compensation packages, you should start by asking, ‘What are fringe benefits and how can they be effectively implemented?’ 

Designing a great benefits program requires careful attention to several crucial factors which includes meeting legal standards, aligning with organizational objectives and catering to the diverse needs of your employees.

Here are some things you should know about when designing your fringe benefits program:

Needs assessment

An important factor to think about when considering what are fringe benefits includes assessing the diverse needs and preferences of your workforce. Start by understanding the needs and preferences of your workforce. Surveys, focus groups, and 1-on-1 meetings can provide valuable insights into what benefits are most valued by employees. This assessment should also take into account the diversity of your workforce, including different life stages, family situations, and health considerations.

For example, employee surveys revealed a high demand for mental health support due to employee burnout and hybrid working arrangements. In response, you can introduce an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or implement mental health days, and a flexible working policy, which can significantly enhance job satisfaction and productivity. 

Determine your budget

The scope of your benefits program will largely be determined by how much your HR budget. It’s important to factor in both direct and administrative costs of the benefits. Balancing generosity with sustainability is key to creating a benefits package that is both attractive to employees and financially viable for the company.

Ensure compliance

Regulatory compliance is another critical aspect of fringe benefits administration. This includes adhering to regulations on mandatory benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings, and paid leave. Failure to comply can result in costly penalties and potentially damage your company’s reputation.

Feedback mechanisms

Feedback is essential for the continuous assessment and improvement of your fringe benefits policy. Consider implementing regular surveys, suggestion boxes, and forums for open discussion, allowing employees to express their opinions and preferences.

By doing so, you can make necessary and informed adjustments to your policy, ensuring it remains aligned with employee needs and preferences. This can signal a commitment to employee well-being and fosters a culture of continuous improvement and engagement within the organization.

Technology in managing fringe benefits 

Adopting HR tools can be a great way to streamline the administration of fringe benefits. Platforms like Omni can simplify time-off tracking and approvals, thereby minimizing HR administrative tasks whilst empowering employees to access benefits available to them. 

Beyond time management, all-in-one HR software that offer employee self-service portals and mobile accessibility play a crucial role in enriching the overall user experience, making benefits programs more effective and engaging for all stakeholders.

By factoring in these considerations, your company can design a fringe benefit program that not only is attractive to current and potential employees but also promotes a motivated and engaged workforce, setting the foundation for long-term organizational success. 

Creating a Happier, Healthier Workforce

It is clear that fringe benefits enable businesses to attract, recruit, motivate and retain highly skilled employees. It also results in increased employee satisfaction and loyalty, thereby reducing attrition rates. Omni gives you the tools and resources you need to build a well-organized, engaged workforce and effectively implement your fringe benefits programs.

Omni streamlines your fringe benefit efforts, automates time-consuming and repetitive tasks, and frees up your valuable time and energy so you can focus on what really matters — strategically engaging and nurturing your team.

Omni’s time off management capabilities help managers and HR teams swiftly navigate employee leave management. Omni’s platform allows you to approve leave applications on the go and keep track of who’s in and out of the office with at-a-glance scheduling. 

Our employee self-service portal empowers employees to submit their time off requests, which automatically routes to the appropriate manager thanks to customizable approval workflows. With automated calculations, employees and managers can easily view leave balances in real-time, and track how many vacation days they have left without having to go through HR.

Want to boost employee engagement? Download our free HR Calendar 2024 for more inspiration!

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