Before You Take the Job, Ask These Benefits Questions

Before taking a job, consider more than just the salary. Determine whether the benefits fit your needs and interests.

Evaluating your total compensation package includes your salary and benefits. Health insurance, a retirement plan, and paid time off (PTO) support your quality of life.

A 2023 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that, on average, 30% of an employee’s total compensation comprises benefits. However, a 2020 survey by Voya Financial found that a third of all workers did not understand the benefits they signed up for.

As a result, you should ask questions about any benefits you are offered but do not understand. This helps determine whether a job offer is right for you.

Ask questions about these benefits before you accept a job offer:

Health Insurance

Health insurance may cover doctor visits, prescription drugs, emergency care, and specific medical procedures. You and your employer pay premiums for the insurance. In return, the insurance company pays for the designated services.

Consider whether your preferred providers are in the plan, whether the insurance covers your dependents, and whether the plan covers treatments for your medical conditions and prescriptions—these factors impact which insurance plan may best fit your needs.

Consider asking the following questions to ensure you select the right plan for you:

  • Does the company pay the premium, or would I contribute toward it?
  • If I were to pay part of the premium, would a pre-tax deduction be made from my paycheck?
  • Would I have co-pays for doctor visits or other out-of-pocket expenses?
  • What deductible would I be responsible for before my insurance coverage begins?

Retirement Plan

A joint company-sponsored retirement plan is a 401(k). Employees typically contribute through a pre-tax paycheck deduction. The money is taxed when withdrawn during retirement.

Many companies match employees’ 401(k) contributions. This may be dollar for dollar, where the company puts in what the employee does. Or, it could be a partial match, such as adding 50 cents for every dollar an employee contributes, up to a certain percentage of their salary.

Contributing early and often to a retirement plan is in your best interest. An employer match helps build your savings faster than contributing on your own. It also provides additional money to live on after you stop working.

Consider asking these questions about a 401(k):

  • When can I begin contributing to the retirement plan?
  • Is there an employer match?
  • What is the employee contribution limit for this year?

Paid Time Off

PTO may include paid federal and state holidays, vacation days, personal days, and sick leave. The amount typically is based on how long an employee has worked for the company. Therefore, it can accrue over time.

Consider asking these questions about PTO:

  • How much PTO is being offered?
  • Can I carry over my PTO from year to year?
  • Would I be paid for my remaining PTO if I left the company?

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