Job Benefits-What You Can Negotiate With An Employer

If you are new to the workforce, you probably are unaware that you have negotiating powers while going through the hiring process. If you haven’t noticed before, there are sections on applications where it asks for your“desired salary.”Having this option for your salary is somewhat new to employment procedures and usually only exist with online applications.

This question is there for a reason and that reason is so that you and the potential employer can negotiate the advertised or revealed salary versus what you are willing to accept. The two are rarely the same. Even though this tool exists, only half of potential employees know they have a possibility to negotiate pay and benefits.

If you go to an interview prepared with analysis of what the average pay is for a job with the level of experience you bring to the table you stand to have more leverage in negotiating benefits. Are there other benefits that you don’t have to accept? How do you approach an employer to negotiate your current or future benefits?

  • Health benefits package: It is hard to beat a better premium for insurance than one through a corporate health plan. However, you do have the option of an external policy such as with a spouse’s employer. There may be room on the table for a higher salary option if you opt out of having health insurance as a benefit.

Small business owners are more likely to accept this arrangement due to the high cost of employee insurance. Insurance is a highly costly benefit to offer an employee and not all do. However, if there are no other options and you need a family plan, the cost are typically the same as it for one person coverage.

  • Commission and bonuses: If you enter a level that is commission only, request rewards once you hit target sales and be sure to have in writing the amount and when you can expect the bonus. Other options large corporations offer to employees is to give each employee annual bonuses from the profit made the previous year. Christmas bonuses are often a benefit added to an employee package.

If one of the benefits is a 401 (k), you may negotiate matching funds or additional contributions by the employer instead of a higher salary. Once again, whatever you agree on, be sure you get all the details in writing and be very clear as to what goals must be reached to receive the funding.

  • Paid and unpaid leave: Having sick days is a bonus within itself but having the option as a new hire to negotiate how many you can earn, with pay, is always an option to add to your benefits if there isn’t much leeway in your salary. Some larger companies are willing to negotiate with new hires on paid sick days and vacations day rather than increase a pay rate.

If this is an avenue you are willing to travel, then it is best to request the increase in the very beginning, such as three weeks paid vacation instead of two, for instance. One other option is the request for the allotment of sick days and vacation days to increase sooner than the standard rate.

Paid vacation time off is an important benefit to have under your belt. Another option is to increase the time annually that you get for paid vacation time.

  • Revolving work schedules: Alternative work schedules and arrangements are the new “in” thing as a benefit, such as working remotely from home. By having the option to telecommute one or two days per week not only saves in traveling expense, but it’s also an excellent way to add to your salary without actually costing your employee extra in income.

Taking advantage of the option to telecommunicate gives you more free time or work time that you would typically be driving and idling in high traffic congestion.  Another “new” strategy is working four-ten hour days instead of the traditional five days- eight hours per day. Having three day weekends is a great perk to have with any job.

Negotiating alternative work arrangements with your employee benefits gives you the chance to spotlight how these perks would not only help you but the employer as well. Bring to light the idea of you coming in an hour later than your co-workers gives you less time stuck in traffic and more time available to be productive.

  • Paid continuing education and training: If you have a lot of college under your belt, then odds are you have a hefty student loan debt,too.Many large firms will offer to pay your college debt if you agree to a work contract agreeing to work for their company for a given amount of years. This perk is very popular in the medical field.

If the information isn’t already part of your employment package, ask whether the potential employer would be interested in providing financial support for you to advance your education or to obtain certification in training modular in your industry. As mentioned above, many will agree to pay the cost, but you must remain employed for a required time-typically one year- before becoming eligible for this benefit.

The best time to inquire about this perk is if you are already pursuing a college degree or training. If the company doesn’t offer any educational incentives, you should still bring it to their attention if it is something that would benefit the company.

  • Cost of living increase: This is a critical negotiating factor if relocating is on the table. Do your homework to put together the cost of living analyze comparing where you are currently living versus where you will be relocating for the company. You should also request a yearly cost-of-living increase. If you hold an upper management position, many businesses offer corporate housing and paid expenses in replacement of an increase in salary.

Read: How to negotiate your employment contract extension


The best tool you can walk into an interview with is knowledge. Do your homework and have your numbers organized to show what you want and why you feel you deserve the request.One thing is sure, if you don’t ask for more, odds are your potential employer is not going to make the offer.

The better you know the company and what assets you have to offer, the better your chances are of receiving a better employee benefits package. Remember not to sell yourself short and accept the first offer presented to you; there is always room to work with for both parties to meet in the middle.

Hansica Kh.