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3 Employee Benefits Worth Negotiating For

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Jeff Cuellar

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If your employer recoils from you the same way a vampire backs away from a cross when you mention “raise” or “bonus,” you need to find another approach to attaining rewards from your company. A good alternative is to ask for employee benefits, which bosses find less frightening to give than a raise.

Google, the undisputed king of employee benefits set the bar with its gourmet food, on-site physicians, comprehensive healthcare coverage, education reimbursement, free legal advice, and death benefits. Unless you’re part of the 0.001% of earth’s population working for Google – you’ll have to negotiate for benefits that are a notch down, but definitely worth having.

Here are 3 non-health related employee benefits to negotiate at your current/next job:

 

1. Flexible Work Schedule

Working in Singapore is comparable to being assimilated by the Borg – you end up as a drone spending most of your time on work-related matters while your personal life becomes nonexistent. In fact, almost 3/4 of professionals routinely work beyond their “normal” work hours. So how can you improve your work/life balance while working productively for your company?

Negotiate for a flexible work schedule that enables you to complete your 8-hour workday without doing the “traditional” 9am – 5pm+ routine. Flexible work schedule options to negotiate include:

  • Changing your “normal” work schedule so you come in a few hours earlier/later, giving you more time to be with your friends, family, etc. – changing your daily schedule to 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., etc.).
  • Modifying your work week so you can either have a different off days – asking for Friday and Sunday so you have an open “workday” each week to handle personal business) or work a 4-day work week (ex. working 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Mon – Thurs/ Tues – Fri).
  • Asking to work a day or two each week from home. If you can do your job from anywhere with a computer and an internet connection, this is an option worth negotiating for. With programs like Skype, you can make international calls, hold video conferences, in instant message your boss or colleagues from the comfort of your home.

When negotiating, it helps if you give your employer a choice by saying “I want a raise or a flexible work schedule” – it’s easy to guess which one your employer will probably grant. In fact, this tactic can be used to effectively negotiate most benefits.

 

2. Commute Reimbursement/Allowance

 

Opening Day
If you’re thinking “they should pay ME to ride the MRT every morning,” do the next best thing and have your employer pay for it!

 

There’s a reason people hate the morning bus/MRT commute to work – it’s stuffy, long, stressful, and the body to body contact is similar to being on Zouk’s dance floor. Not to mention you’re paying at least $150+ each month for the pleasure of taking public transport. Car owners fare no better, as they still have to deal with congested roads and the financial hassle of ERP, parking, and fuel.

If your employer isn’t keen about giving you the $500/$1,000 raise, ask him/her for commute reimbursement so you can lessen/eliminate the financial sting of daily travel. Here are several options you can negotiate:

  • Negotiate with your employer to have your monthly commute expenses claimed (via cab receipts) so you avoid taking the stressful MRT/bus ride every day to/from work.
  • Negotiate for a fixed monthly commute allowance to be applied to a company cab card so you don’t have to make the initial out-of-pocket expense.
  • Negotiate for a fuel/parking allowance that can be reimbursed monthly. Parking reimbursement is straight forward, but fuel can be reimbursed through either mileage or whatever’s on the receipt once you fill up at a gas station at the end of each work week.

While having your travel expenses fully/partially covered by your company isn’t nearly as nice as receiving a 25% pay raise, you’re still “gaining” income because less money from your pay check is going towards your daily commute.

 

3. Professional Development

 

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Uh…when I say professional development, I don’t mean THAT kind of “professional!”

 

Ever hear the phrase “Invest in your future”? I completely agree… if you’re a full-time student. But if you’re a working professional, your employer should be investing in your future by paying for any skills upgrade. Everyone benefits – you gain the knowledge needed for career advancement and your company gains a trained employee who can improve the organisation’s efficiency.

Here are several professional development options that can be negotiated with your employer:

  • Subsidised tuition for part-time study (classroom/online) at local education institutions (SIM, Kaplan, MDIS, etc.).
  • Paid attendance at seminars/workshops/conferences that deliver training aligned to the needs of your company.
  • Monthly/Quarterly stipend for the purchase of self-study materials (books, magazines, periodicals, videos) relevant to your profession.
  • Paid membership into professional organisations (make sure the member benefits are worth it!) where you can network to further your company’s interests or find a mentor.

If your current employer is absolutely unwilling to spend a dime on your development because of the “budget,” then negotiate for a secondment, job shadowing, or job rotation so you can broaden your professional/management expertise.

And if your current employer won’t grant any of the suggested benefits, then you may want to consider starting your search for a new company that will. Here are three strategies for finding a job that’s right for you.

 

Does your company have any awesome non-health benefits that aren’t on the list? Share them with us on Facebook!

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.