Evaluating Compensation Packages

All too often, an individual's employment search leads to acceptance of the highest salary offer without sufficient consideration for the accompanying "benefits package." Medical insurance, life and long-term disability insurance, leave benefits, and retirement benefits are extremely important—and valuable—parts of the total compensation package.

Although the precise value of a given benefits package varies from employer to employer, you can get a proximate value by multiplying your annual, pre-tax salary by the percentage value of your benefits package (ask human resources staff or the hiring manager for that figure). Individuals without these benefits may suffer large income losses or incur significant expenditures over the course of a lifetime.

In evaluating an employment offer, consider each of the compensation package dimensions offered and its specific value to you. Compare what you are being offered with your needs and what you have with your current employer. Find out if a potential employer allows employees to choose the benefits that are most important to them.

Compensation Considerations

Any job is worth what the marketplace will bear. The level of demand for individuals with certain skills may vary, depending on location and/or other factors. Sometimes, the demand is more consistent and national in scope.

Work Hours

  • Are work hours flexible?
  • Is compressed work week or telecommuting offered?

Disability and Family Income Continuation

  • Does the employer provide short- and long-term disability?
  • Does the employer provide life insurance? How much?
  • Can employees purchase additional life insurance at a group discount?
  • Is travel accident insurance provided?

Deferred Income Benefits

  • What are the retirement benefits (defined benefit plan or defined contribution plan)?
  • What is the vesting schedule?
  • Are employee contributions matched and/or tax deferred?

Leave Time

  • How much paid time off is provided for holidays, vacation, sick, and personal days?
  • Are the different types of leave allotments separate or aggregated?
  • Can employees use sick leave to care for a family member?
  • Can unused leave be cashed in and/or rolled over into a 401K?
  • Is there a “use it or lose it” leave policy?

Health, Accident, and Liability Protection

  • How much do employees contribute for individual and family coverage?
  • How many choices and what kinds of plans (e.g., BC/BS, POS, PPO) are available?
  • What is the process for obtaining a referral to a specialist?
  • Is there prescription drug coverage?
  • Is there a deductible, and what portion of doctor visits and hospital stays is the employee responsible for?
  • Will the employer reimburse you for COBRA during any waiting period?
  • Is there a health care flexible spending plan?
  • Is preventive care (including immunizations) covered?
  • Are family-planning services provided?
  • Are eye exams covered?
  • Is domestic-partner coverage available?

Income Equivalent Benefits

  • Are there any child care or elder care benefits?
  • Is there a dependent care flexible spending plan?
  • Are relocation benefits (related to moving, new home purchase, house hunting, or interim living) available?
  • Does the company cover communications resources (cell phone; laptop computer; or computer, fax or electronic ink for your home)?
  • Does the employer provide additional financial resources (tax or will preparation and/or estate planning)?
  • Does the employer provide transportation benefits (car allowance or company car; public transportation subsidy; or paid, reimbursed, or subsidized parking)?

Professional Development

  • Is there a tuition reimbursement program?
  • Will the employer reimburse for attendance at conferences and workshops?
  • Will the employer pay for ASHA dues?

ASHA Corporate Partners