Bye-Bye Benefits

It's true that generous employer perks are among the many casualties of the unemployment crisis. But on the bright side, most of us won't miss the cushier ones. After all, how many out there got to take advantage of expense-account first-class travel or company-aided adoptions?

A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that perks such as paid family leave, education reimbursement and stock options have been on the decline and probably won't make it back to 2007 levels any time soon.

Still, some of the more popular benefits that have been cut in the last couple of years, such as 401(k) matching contributions, are gradually being restored, albeit at reduced rates. For example, some companies are matching employees' 401(k) deposits but at half the rate they used to.

When the labor market gets tight and companies have to compete for the best employees, they use generous benefits to do so. But with unemployment at 9.7% and holding, employers can offer far less and still have their pick of top candidates.


Benefits on the Endangered Species List:

Education Reimbursement and Training: The number of companies offering them is shrinking, and those that do are cutting back. For example, employers that would have paid almost 100% of the cost to get a masters degree are capping reimbursements at a mere $2,500.

Adoption Assistance: Surprisingly, 20% of all companies that offered extended benefits once covered at least some adoption expenses. That number is now 10%. It's one of the first benefits to go and will be one of the last to come back–if it ever does.

Lavish Parties: Many people don't consider this a benefit, but a good holiday party or summer picnic can be a nice perk. It's estimated that 87% of all businesses have cut down on their holiday parties, and 15% have gotten rid of them altogether.

First or Business Class Travel: With the difference between first class and coach amounting to thousands of dollars, many companies that routinely sent executives by first class are cutting them back to business class, while those who flew business class are roughing it back in coach.

Flexible or Remote Work Arrangements: Advancements in technology and telecommuting lead many to believe that more companies are allowing employees to work from home, but it's the employees themselves who are rejecting this benefit. They worry about losing their jobs if they're not in plain sight of their supervisors every day. Also, with a reduction in staffs, offices are no longer overflowing as they once were.

There is one group of perks that's on the rise: Those that incur low or no costs for employers, like group discounts at Target or Dell or group auto, home and life insurance programs. Hey, if they can't pay you more, at least they can help you save money.

Next: Your Boss is Paying You an Extra $8 per Hour >>


Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Editor

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want.  Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets.  Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.

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R.MCKENZIE

WHERE IS THE LEFT WING TEACHERS UNION IN ALL THIS???

April 10 2010 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

Of course the toilet is backed up Bullwinkle. Your full of sh*t and wouldn't know which end of the plunger to use anyhow.

April 09 2010 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
a. c. liles

Because of Obamacare, most companies will begin offering the absolute minimum health insurance in 2014. You can also kiss retiree health benefits goodbye. It is already bankrupting many old line companies. Most corporate benefits will be extinct or severely reduced within five years. Most people will be grateful just to have their jobs and the companies know it. Reading these posts show the low state of employer-employee relations.

April 09 2010 at 9:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris

folks, it is true that many employees, even white collar workers have never been offered some of the benefits listed above (adoption or travel or paid family leave). but here are two things to think about. If you didn't go to college and get a degree and you don't have any highly valuable skills then it's stupid to hate those that have done better (better benefits) than you. it's isn't their fault you didn't reach for those types of jobs. someone who works at a corner convenient store should not expect to make the same living as someone who went to law school or became a nurse. in fact it's been my experience as a college grad that did work as office manager in a few organizations that the VP's and CEO's may make big bucks and perks but they are sometimes the unhappiest people because all they do is work. anyway, secondly, many of these perks are just like the entitlement programs the govt wants you to be dependent on. the best case scenario is that people would start having to take some responsibility for where they are in their lives (or what they don't have). stop buying boats and houses you lose as soon as you miss a paycheck and start saving for your future, don't rely on others.

April 09 2010 at 2:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

Alex...
You do not fit into the catagory to which I was refering! While you are obviously better educated than I, considering your field, you are a "WORKING" stiff like myself. You do not sit at a desk all day yapping on the phone, doing power lunches, and deciding who to screw over next to make yourself look important. Like me, your services and skills are necessary. You don't have the luxury of working from home like the useless executives. Those people who are "educated professional types" wouldn't be caught dead taking the s**t you and I do. Those that decided that your lunch be taken out of your pay are probably the ones that made that policy during their 2 hour "PAID" lunch. You are a working person, not a desk jockey. You get your hands dirty with pride and are to be commended. Hypothetically speaking, if you were needed for an emergency that required your expertise thousands of miles away, you wouldn't think that you should be entitled to get there using "FIRST CLASS" accomodations. You would be honored to travel with the rest of us in coach! Am I right?

April 09 2010 at 1:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carol

All anyone needs are the same benefits that Congress gets. Think about it.

April 09 2010 at 1:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ed Baggett

My father worked for 40 yrs. for an Electric & Gas Corp. When he retired in 1967, he lived another 30 yrs. on his pension & social security and excellant medical benefits. He paid very tiny co-pays when he had several serious surgeries & my mother as well. His job was "blue collar" but he reaped the "golden years" for benefits. I'll never come close to these freebies & many of the workers now never will either........

April 09 2010 at 12:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bruce

Do you want benefits at work? Collective barganing. Fair and equal treatment. Meatcutters, Grocery clerks, short haul truckers all used to earn "the Prevailing Wage". What was that? It is the wage that Gov't workers, technicians receive; and those much maligned union freeloaders get.

You want benefits, earn'em.

April 09 2010 at 12:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chimp

Cindy you are full of CRAP. I worked 30 years at GM and those lazy fat general foremen made a hell of a lot more than I ever did. They had plenty of chances to join a white collar union and never did because GM always gave them extra from what the union fought and sometimes went on strike for. You and your husband never paid the two hours of wages ever month for dues and now you want to whine about it. I don't feel sorry for you at all.............

April 08 2010 at 9:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pd39

Mike, you are a racist azzhole, typical of the union you are so proud of. I worked for UAL for 38 years, was forced by the union to buy "shares" of the company "if I wanted to keep my job" in the early 1990. Shares I couldn't sell without UAL and union approval. After 9/11 I was offered early retirement "to save the company."

Less than one year after I took retirement UAL declared bankruptcy. I lost 38 years of retirement, all my stock options, and most of my 401k. If I hadn't invested outside the company I'd be living on the streets today.

You union mindset is sickening, and just plain wrong. Unions have been a parasite on the working classes for the last 50 years. All the wrongs they were originally started to correct are now covered by federal and state labor laws. Union officials are nothing more than petty politicians, concerned only with keeping their cushy positions and the worker bees ignorant and enslaved.

April 08 2010 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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