Benefits Strategy

11 Types of Fringe Benefits Your Employees Will Love

Written by Kate

Are you looking to offer more to your employees but not sure where to begin? Fringe benefits are a great way to support your employees, improve job satisfaction and make a positive impact on their lives. The demand for different types of fringe benefits is increasing. Only in the last couple of years, we have seen how commonplace flexible working has become. Many organizations are now looking to support diversity in their workplaces with perks that will benefit everyone – whether it’s family care for new parents, subsidized gym memberships or generous pension plans. Offering many different types of fringe benefits for your employees to choose from will show you are an employer looking to provide something for everyone.

Read on to learn more about this topic! Click on the sections below to jump right to your specific question.

What are Fringe Benefits?

Fringe benefits are essentially employee benefits or perks. They refer to any additional benefits offered to an employee above their regular salary. These benefits could be offered to everyone in a company or reserved for specific groups of senior leaders. Whereas some benefits are to cover work-related costs, others are to promote wellbeing and job satisfaction.

Some types of fringe benefits are required by law – things like social security and health insurance. Whereas others may be voluntarily provided by the employer for things like gym memberships or employee discounts. 

What are the Advantages of Fringe Benefits?

Offering financial and wellbeing benefits supports both the business and the employee in the long term. There are so many advantages that come with offering different types of fringe benefits to your employees:

Talent Acquisition 

One of the main advantages of fringe benefits is making your company look more attractive. Fringe benefits appeal to jobseekers, therefore advertising the perks and benefits that your company offers will only attract new talent.

Some companies will even offer unique benefits to attract certain types of potential hires. For example, a tech company might provide Macbooks and iPhones, or a fitness company might offer gym memberships or sportswear discounts. 

human resources

Retention

It isn’t just low salaries which drive people away. 75% of employees say they are more likely to stay with a company if there is a generous benefits package. 

A generous benefits scheme offers more than just a salary and encourages employees to stay. Modern demand means that employees increasingly expect multiple types of fringe benefits as part of their work package and by offering this, you increase your chances of employee retention.

Engagement

Benefits will keep your employees engaged. When they feel like a valued member of the company and appreciated, they will work harder. Types of fringe benefits such as paid holidays, stock options, a company vehicle or health care insurance will reduce unhappiness, make your employees feel appreciated and keep them engaged and working hard.

Employee Wellness

It costs the company money when employees take time off due to sickness and injury, therefore investing in staff wellness will only benefit your business in the long run. Rather than spending time seeking treatment for ailments or on waiting lists, they can put more time into their work instead. Types of fringe benefits like private health insurance and a wellness stipend will reduce the risk of time off with illness. 

Fringe benefits have been proven to alleviate some of the most common causes of stress amongst employees, such as healthcare and financial security. It also helps employees feel rewarded for their hard work which improves their self-esteem and self-worth. This will in turn make them more engaged and motivated and benefit your business.

Company Image

If you are seen to be investing in the wellbeing of your employees, you will gain a competitive edge and stand out amongst competitors. Talent is more likely to choose a company that invests in wellbeing and offering great fringe benefits will help you stand out. Not only are fringe benefits great for your employees, but they are great for your business too.

Supports their Existing Lifestyle

The current cost of living crisis means many people are having to cut back on their spending and make changes to their lives. Wellbeing experiences such as gym memberships and yoga classes are usually the first to be cut. In offering to cover some of these financial costs, you are enabling your staff to continue to do the things they enjoy, which will be particularly appreciated as we face the looming recession and difficult financial times. 

Keeps up with Modern Demand

Employees are much more accustomed to better working conditions. They look for companies that offer flexibility in their job and generous perks. To keep up with the demands of the modern workforce, employers need to offer the types of fringe benefits that talent is seeking.

Perks like hybrid and remote working are now the norm and subsidized gym memberships and health insurance are common. Employers need to consider which types of fringe benefits they should offer in order to attract and retain the best talent.

What are the Disadvantages of Fringe Benefits?

One possible downside to fringe benefits is that they require a lot of administration and organizing. Working with a benefits company such as IncentFit can help with the administration and ease the pressure on your organization.

Benefits and stipends will also add an extra cost to your business, however any extra costs will be outweighed by the increased engagement and productivity of your employees. 

11 Types of Fringe Benefits

Some fringe benefits are required by law, including things like medical care, financial aid in case of job loss and retirement income. Others are not mandatory but help to draw employees to your business, including perks such as gym memberships and nutrition coaching. Below are some examples of types of fringe benefits:

Mental Health and Wellness

Since the pandemic, mental health and wellness have become an important focus and priority. Employers are now aware of the strong link between mental health and work performance. Wellness benefits are anything which will help employees improve their mental and physical wellbeing and avoid illness. These might include:

  • Gym memberships
  • Yoga classes
  • Meditation classes
  • Counselling services
  • Stress management training
  • Massage vouchers
  • Nutrition coaching.

 Offering wellness perks shows you are an employer who genuinely cares about the wellness of your staff, and employee satisfaction and productivity will follow.

Private Health Insurance

Health insurance is a mandatory fringe benefit that most employers have to provide for their employees, and it’s something most professionals have come to expect. These health insurance plans will cover access to emergency care, specialist doctors and primary care physicians. If you’re looking to go one step further, you could also offer to cover the employee’s family members as well.

Providing access to a high standard of healthcare has lots of advantages. It decreases the risk of sick days and lowers absenteeism. It also boosts productivity and enables access to health care with shorter wait times, off-hour appointments and mental health treatment. 

Pension Scheme

Pensions and employee retirement plans are one of the most important fringe benefits you can offer. They build long-term financial security and enable employees to build financial savings for their retirement. 

By law, employers usually need to provide a workplace pension scheme for their eligible staff. The employer and the employee will both provide a percentage of the employee’s salary as a monthly contribution.

If you want to go above and beyond, you will want to exceed the legal minimum contribution amount. Some employers will contribute as much as 10% of the salary every month, which attracts a wide range of talent.

Offering a generous pension scheme and educating your team on its benefits is one of the best things you can do to demonstrate that your company appreciates the work of its employees and cares about their long-term wellbeing. 

Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits

These benefits compensate for employees’ transportation, such as commuting to and from work. It might cover transit passes, commuter transportation, company vehicles or qualified parking.

Educational Reimbursements and Professional Development

These will cover any payment or reimbursement for education expenses during employment. As an employer, you might offer support and masterclasses to help your staff personally develop – or financially contribute to an online course. 

Sabbatical Leave

Sabbatical leave is an increasingly popular type of fringe benefit. Offering an extended length of time off helps  reward hard-working employees and entices new talent to work for you. 

A sabbatical or a career break is usually offered to employees who have worked for the company for a certain length of time. For example, if you have worked at a company for two years, you might be able to take a one-month sabbatical.

Sabbaticals are usually unpaid, but you can sometimes take paid or partially paid sabbatical leave. The aim is to offer employees time out of their job to focus on their own interests like volunteering, travelling, recharging or caring for a family member, with the agreement that their role will be open for them when they return from their sabbatical.

There are lots of advantages to offering sabbatical leave. It increases employee motivation and loyalty, gives you a better reputation as an employer, higher staff retention and lower levels of burnout and demotivation. 

One downside to this perk is that it requires a lot of effort and organizing from HR and managers to prepare for an absence. However long-term, it supports the wellbeing and growth of valued employees. In the modern climate where employees seek greater control and flexibility over how they spend their time, offering this benefit will make your company a more attractive place to work.

Family Care

Many companies now offer family care, which could include anything from babysitting services, birthing classes or care for aging parents. To go one step further, employers can support the entire family rather than just the employee. Providing support for new parents is a great way to attract diverse talent and demonstrate you are an employer who cares. 

Flexible Working 

Flexible working arrangements have long been demanded of employees, even before the pandemic. Studies show that many people believe flexibility benefits can lower stress and provide a better work-life balance.

The pandemic only accelerated remote and hybrid working and these are now common benefits in workplaces. There are many ways you can offer flexible working, asides from simply working from home:

There are many reasons to offer flexible working. It can increase productivity and morale – and as many employers discovered during the pandemic, many businesses can function well without any loss of productivity. 

Employees are now used to having control over where and how they work, and workplaces norms have changed. Employers will now have to offer flexible working to stay up-to-date with modern demands and keep engagement high.

De Minimis Fringe Benefits

These types of fringe benefits are of minimal value and accounting for them is too time-consuming and unreasonable. Examples could be supplying coffee and snacks, group meals, employee trips, birthday gifts or flowers for special occasions. 

No Additional-Cost Services

These services are tax-free benefits to employees when there is no additional cost to the employer. These are usually offered free of charge or at a reduced rate by the employer and will sometimes include services that the employer’s line of business sells to consumers. Examples of these include hotel rooms, transportation tickets, entertainment and recreation facilities such as cinemas and restaurants.

Qualified Employee Discounts

These benefits allow employees to obtain property or services from an employer at a lower price than would be available to the general public and other customers. For example, an employee might be able to access swimming pools, gyms, fitness centers and golf courses at a lower rate than the public.

There’s a lot of variation in fringe benefits across cultures since they’re influenced by local laws, customs, and values. Culturally specific fringe benefits include:

  1. Japan: Some Japanese companies give their employees access to company-owned vacation homes or resorts, either for personal use or for use by employees and their families.
  2. Sweden: In Sweden, many companies offer employees “fika” breaks, which are dedicated times for employees to relax, socialize, and have coffee and snacks.
  3. Germany: There are companies in Germany that offer sabbatical leaves to employees who have been with the company for a certain number of years, so they can travel, study, or pursue a personal project.
  4. India: There are some companies in India that offer employees the use of company-owned transportation, like buses and vans.
  5. United Arab Emirates: In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), some companies offer employees housing or housing allowances as a benefit, given the high cost of living in some areas.
  6. Singapore: To promote work-life balance, some Singaporean companies allow employees to work from home or set their own schedules.

7 Most Unique Types of Fringe Benefits offered by Real Companies

Here are a few examples of some unique fringe benefits that real companies provide:

  1. Adventure trips: Zappos, an online retailer, offers employees the opportunity to go on paid adventure trips, such as white-water rafting or rock climbing, as a way to bond with coworkers and promote team building.
  2. Pet insurance: Nationwide, an insurance company, offers pet insurance as a benefit to employees who have pets, covering the costs of veterinary care and other pet-related expenses.
  3. Massages: Google offers on-site massages to employees at its headquarters in Mountain View, California, as a way to help them relax and reduce stress.
  4. Personal development: General Electric (GE) offers employees the opportunity to take personal development courses or workshops, such as leadership training or communication skills training, as a way to support their professional growth.
  5. Game rooms: Etsy, an e-commerce platform, has game rooms and other recreational areas at its headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, where employees can relax and have fun during breaks or after work.
  6. Mental health support: BlackRock, a financial services company, offers mental health support services, such as counseling or therapy sessions, to help employees manage stress and maintain their mental wellbeing.
  7. On-site childcare: Spotify, a music streaming company, offers 6 months of paid parental leave, plus a 7th month for transitioning back. Once employees are back in-office, they are offered on-site childcare at its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities.

What are the Best Practices for Employers regarding Fringe Benefits?

Personalization

To maximize the impact of fringe benefits, ensure they align with your company values. For example, if you aim to show you care about employee well-being and diversity – why not focus on health and family benefits? 

Being creative with uncommon fringe benefits can help to shape your company profile. There are some great examples of this: 

  • PetSmart operates a pet-friendly workplace
  • Ben & Jerry’s provides free ice cream to its employees. 
  • Patagonia features volleyball courts and yoga classes in its headquarters to fit with their outdoor and active brand.
  • Hinge offers its employees a $200 monthly date stipend to go on unique dates and build new relationships. Employees try out new date spots and share the reviews with Hinge members. 
  • Airbnb offers a $2000 travel stipend each year to encourage their employees to explore the world and understand how the service works for both hosts and travellers. 

Listen to Employees

When it comes to fringe benefits, you should listen to your employees. Only by listening to them and understanding what they are looking for can you truly provide them with what they need and become an attractive employer. Think of them as a powerful tool you can use to win over and retain talent.

Try implementing surveys to understand which will benefit your employees the most. Alternatively, you could experiment and try out different benefits, then measure their impact afterwards. 

Keep your Business Objectives and Benefits Aligned

Ensure your benefits fit with your business objectives. You can change the benefits alongside the business – for example, if you decide education is the most important value in your organization. 

Research employee behaviour and try to understand what will benefit them as an individual and improve their productivity within the company. Use data to support your actions and ensure that the benefits you are offering will really have an impact. 

If you work in an industry where you have to compete for the very best talent in a highly competitive field, offering personalized types of fringe benefits is a great way to stand out. For example, Google and Microsoft are known for their generous perks and benefits which includes a free commuter bus service and 20 weeks of paid time off for new birth mothers.

Consider What is Relevant 

The number of fringe benefits you can offer is practically endless – everything from onsite care, travel reimbursement or childcare subsidies. Consider what is the most relevant to you and your business. 

If your office is located within an inner city with great transport links, public transport subsidies would be a great benefit. If you are an organization made up of mostly remote workers this will be less relevant. Focus on what will bring the most value to your employees in their work.

Here are some fringe benefits, or company perks to help guide your thought process:

Let your Employees know about your Benefits

Employees can’t benefit from your perks unless they know they are there and how to use them. Explain to your employees how each fringe benefit fits with the company goals. This will not only boost employee appreciation and understanding of their benefits but also help them get the most out of them.

Closing thoughts

The fringe benefits you could offer your employees are endless. Whether it’s time off for volunteering, extra vacation leave, company cars, childcare or free food at work – perks and benefits offer huge potential to boost your company’s reputation. If you are looking to attract talent and make your business a place people want to work for – fringe benefits will help you make a meaningful difference.

Offering a well-rounded benefits package is in the best interest of both your employees and your business. It provides your company with a competitive edge, helps foster a diverse company culture and creates an environment where employees feel valued, productive and happy. Rather than seeing perks and incentives as a business expense, view them as an investment in your employees who can help to bring in more business. If you are interested in exploring ways to set up a fringe benefit offering at your company, we would love to help you! Feel free to schedule some time with our experienced benefits experts at your convenience.