Maybe you’ve just graduated college and are accepting your first full-time offer. Perhaps you’re transitioning from part-time intern to full-time. Or instead, you’re just switching jobs completely. Regardless of where you are in your career, as you transition into a new role, it’s important to ask your employer about their benefits package. With so many changes though, it may be difficult to know where to start. Review this list of questions and bring with you on your first day to help aid the conversation and get the answers you deserve.
1. How much sick time, vacation time, and holidays are provided?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to sick time, holidays or paid time off. Make sure to inquire about the differences, and how much time you have total. Other questions to ask: Are sick days included in paid time off? Are they included under short-term disability? Does this office take Veteran’s Day off? What about personal days?
2. When does PTO begin to accrue? At what rate?
Now that you know how much paid time off you have, it’s important to know how it is delivered. Some companies give you all the PTO at the start of a new fiscal year. Others have you accrue the days by the month. Make sure you know the difference so that you can plan your trips accordingly.
3. What kind of insurance coverages do you offer?
If the employer has 50 or more employees, they are required to offer health care plans, but more than 75% of companies offer more than what is just required by law. Depending on the company, these benefits may include dental insurance, vision care and life insurance. Make sure to ask to see what exactly is offered and who can be covered under your plan.
4. Can I review a summary of the health insurance plan options?
High-deductible, low-deductible and everything in between. Make sure that the employer lays out all the different health insurance plans for you – like a menu - so you can choose what suits your lifestyle the best.
5. How does the employee pay for the premium?
With most health benefits both the employer and employee contribute. For example, if the employer offers a health insurance policy, employees generally pay a portion of the premium each paycheck. With a reimbursement benefit, employees purchase their own insurance and are reimbursed by the employer on their paycheck.
6. Is there a specific enrollment period for these benefits?
As you get onboard, it is important to understand the timing of your new benefits. A company may have a specific enrollment period or need criteria to determine when you are eligible. Some plans have a 30-day or 90-day waiting period. At the time of your hire, ask clarifying questions to ensure that you do not need any coverage before yours starts up.
7. What type of retirement plan is there? How much does the company contribute?
When it comes to saving for retirement, many companies offer a 401(k) match as a great tool for their employees. Ask how much the company match is and at what percentage. For example, at 4% of your monthly paycheck, the company might match 100%. However, at 5% of your monthly paycheck, they may only match 50%. Ask when that match becomes vested. If you leave the company before a certain number of years, that match may not always be yours and the company will take it back.
8. Are there wellness discounts or service reimbursements?
Today, more companies are understanding the importance of wellness in the workplace as part of a larger initiative for employee productivity. Because of that, they’re offering discounts for health club memberships, reimbursements for exercise equipment or promotions through local health studios. Inquire about those benefits before changing your gym or fitness studio.
9. Are there educational and training benefits?
Tuition reimbursement is a popular voluntary benefit that allows employees to attend continuing education if it’s applicable to their career goals. The company may pay up to ninety percent of all costs of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in any field as well as the same percentage of expenses for earning a master’s degree related to the employee’s field. Job-related certifications may also be covered by the employer. Beware of some caveats and know the process. For instance, you may need department approval or must be at that company for a certain amount of time.
10. What happens to my benefits if I leave the company?
If your company uses a reimbursement plan for your benefits, you’re likely able to continue using those benefits if you find another job down the road. However, if it’s an employer-sponsored benefit plan, your benefits may lapse as soon as you walk out the door. Make sure you know so that you can plan ahead!
Still have questions? Contact your local Farm Bureau agent who would be happy to meet with you and get you the answers you need to walk into your first day with confidence.