Many employees are willing to have their net salary topped up with benefits instead of receiving a purely monetary salary increase, which usually doesn’t leave much after taxes and social security contributions have been deducted. Here are the best benefits as an alternative to a salary negotiation.
Willingness to forego a salary negotiation
Many employees are willing to forego a higher salary in exchange for certain benefits. This is confirmed by several surveys, including a Kienbaum study. Almost 4,800 employees in Germany, Austria and Switzerland were surveyed. 11 percent were willing to forego a higher salary in favour of social benefits.
Another survey by Kienbaum shows the willingness to forego from the perspective of about one hundred companies. There are also age-specific differences here. According to the survey, the willingness to forego a higher salary is highest among 18- to 29-year-olds, at 13.4 percent. The figure for 30-39 year-olds is 11.1 per cent. Workers aged 40 to 49 and older have 10.5 percent.
The most popular benefits: flexible working hours and home office
The list of the most popular benefits is headed by flexible working hours, which 70.8 percent of the respondents named. This is followed by home office (54.9 percent), company pension scheme (45.6 percent), company car (31.5 percent) and own parking space (25.3 percent).
Interest in environmentally friendly means of transport is also on the rise. For 26.7 percent of those surveyed, a public transport ticket, for 18.7 percent a company bicycle or e-bike is an attractive benefit.
A study by Capital shows the most original fringe benefits. Creative ideas include game rooms, research trips and preventive cures. But company child benefits and holiday camps for children are also worth mentioning.
3 tips for really ingenious benefits
Employees who travel to work by public transport appreciate a job ticket as a benefit. Employers can list the ticket as a wage component on the wage tax statement or tax it as a non-cash benefit. In the first case, the employee must declare the job ticket in the tax return and subsequently expect a lower commuting allowance. If, on the other hand, the company taxes the job ticket as a non-cash benefit, the employee can claim income-related expenses.
2. Travel allowance
A travel allowance is also very well received. Companies can pay a lump sum of 0.30 euros per kilometre of distance between home and the place of work in addition to the employee’s salary if the employee travels to work by private car. This allowance is tax- and social security-free for the employee, while the employer pays a flat-rate tax of 15 per cent on the amount.
For employees with a double household, the company can finance the trips home. Other benefits in the area of travel expenses include petrol vouchers or a fuel card with a certain monthly budget. Permission for the employee to use a company rail card privately is also a possible benefit.
3. Company bicycle
A company bicycle is an attractive benefit for all those who travel to work neither by public transport nor by car. With this means of transport, there is no tax on private use. If it is an e-bike, employees may “fill up” on electricity tax-free.
Many employees long for a longer break from the daily work routine and would like to relax extensively on a four-week summer holiday, for example. Companies that are flexible and generous in their holiday planning benefit from well-rested employees who return to work with renewed motivation.
5. Days off
Additional days off are also well received. Bridge days in particular lend themselves to being given as a gift, because on these days there is often less going on anyway. The odd day off is also popular as a reward for the successful completion of a project. Some companies go one step further and offer a four-day working week with full pay.
6. Workplace health promotion
Companies can choose from a variety of measures in workplace health promotion, ranging from fitness offers to supplementary health insurance, but also including these options:
- Tax-free subsidies for courses supported by statutory health insurance funds (e.g. yoga, autogenic training)
- Health check-ups
- Company doctor
- Ergonomic workplaces
The provision of rest rooms and bedrooms also falls within this area.
7. Day care contributions
Companies can support employees with children by paying for daycare contributions. In addition, subsidies are available for short-term and emergency care of children under 14 or sick relatives. Grants are also available for extraordinary events such as illness, death, fire or floods.
8. Further training
Company-funded training, such as coaching and language courses, can also be considered as a benefit if it is related to the job or future responsibilities. If there is a professional connection, the costs can be covered free of tax and social security contributions.
Vouchers as BenefitsIn the case of vouchers, companies must observe the monthly tax-free allowance of 44 euros so that the benefit in kind remains tax-free for the employee. Otherwise, the entire amount is subject to tax. Companies must tax these benefits in kind at a flat rate of 30 per cent.
10. Prepaid credit card
More flexibility is offered by a prepaid credit card or non-cash benefit card, which the company loads with a fixed amount each month. The employee is free to decide what he or she wants to use this credit for. Payment must be made via the credit card, not in cash. The credit balance is subject to a flat-rate tax and social security contributions.
11. Recreation allowance
Each employee may receive an annual recreation allowance of up to 156 euros, which may be paid either in cash or in kind. In addition, a recreation allowance of 104 euros for the spouse and an allowance of 52 euros per child are possible. These recreation allowances must be paid by the employer either within three months before or after the start of the leave. It is possible to pay the recreation allowance as an additional benefit to the holiday allowance.
12. Old-age provision
For old-age provision, the company may make tax-free contributions to a pension fund or direct insurance. These contributions may not exceed 8 per cent of the contribution assessment ceiling for pension insurance.
13. Bring a dog
Office dogIt is a relief for dog owners if they are allowed to bring their dog into the office. A four-legged friend at work can also increase the satisfaction of colleagues and help them to relax. However, the dog must be trained in such a way that it disturbs work processes as little as possible.
Certainly not every one of these 13 benefits suits every employer. However, the right mix helps to reward employees appropriately for their good work and to motivate them.
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