Job Perks That Are Worth A Pay Cut

careers with perksThis article originally appeared on

By Jessica Hanley

Some jobs are famous for their perks: CEOs get to use the corporate jet, Google employees can see a chiropractor on site, and snowboard company Burton gives employees a free season pass to a nearby resort. But you don't need to be the boss or work for a cutting-edge company to qualify for valuable job perks. Take a look at four careers with average salaries--but big benefits.

The following jobs offer perks that can save you money, create opportunities for further earnings and add to your bottom line.

1. Career: Teacher

Perk: Summer and holiday breaks

Teaching is a rewarding career that requires a bachelor's degree and a state teaching credential. Teachers are responsible for fostering children's academic, emotional and social growth. They help students establish healthy relationships and academically prepare for future schooling and careers.

While you can't put a price tag on emotional fulfillment, the other major perk of teaching--time off in the summer and holidays--can lead to more money in the bank:

  • Summer school. Teachers can enhance their base salary by teaching classes over the summer. Depending on the school or program, teachers can earn between $1,500 and $3,000 through additional summer teaching.

  • Tutoring. Teachers can also use their time off to tutor students. At $30 to $100 per hour, tutoring can be quite lucrative.

  • Save on child care. Teachers with children of their own can save on child care by staying home with their children during summer and winter holidays. According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, daycare for preschool-aged children ranges from $371 to $1,100 per month. With three months off, teachers can save as much as $3,300 in child care expenses.

Teacher perks can add up to $3,000 per year to the median annual salary of $51,660 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Median annual salary: $51,660

Adjusted annual salary: $54,660

2. Career: Retail salesperson

Perk: Store discount

According to the BLS, over 4 million Americans worked as retail salespeople in 2010. Retail salespeople are employed across industries, with the majority working in clothing, department, building materials and general merchandise stores. Many salespeople work part time, which enables them to attend school or care for their children.

While retail salespeople earned a below-average median income of $20,670 in 2010, many enjoy store discounts.

  • Store discounts. The majority of retail salespeople are entitled to discounts on products sold by their employer. Discounts vary by company, but large retailers Gap Inc. and Macy's are reported to offer employee discounts between 30 and 50 percent. For someone who spends $3,600 per year on clothing, these discounts can save $1,080 to $1,800 per year.

The ability to work part time is another advantage of retail employment. Working part time allows employees to continue their education, thereby increasing their earning potential for the future.

Median annual salary: $20,670

Adjusted annual salary: $22,470

3. Career: Flight attendant

Perk: Free air travel

Flight attendants are responsible for the safety and comfort of passengers on commercial airplanes. They are required to have a high-school diploma and FAA certification, and many airlines prefer to hire flight attendants with a college degree. According to the BLS, flight attendants earned a median income of $37,740 in 2010, but the perk of free travel can be worth even more.

  • Free airfare. Flight attendants and their immediate families often receive free air travel from the airline they work for, as well as discounts on other airlines. For a family of four who travels by plane four times per year, this perk translates into savings between $3,200 and $6,400 per year. Savings are even greater for international flights.

  • Expenses while working. Working as a flight attendant often requires overnight stays away from home, and airlines typically pay for flight attendants' hotel rooms and meal expenses. Expensed meals can save a flight attendant between $20 and $50 per week, which translates to $1,040 to $2,600 per year.

Median annual salary: $37,740

Adjusted annual salary: $46,740

With discounted air travel and covered expenses for work travel, flight attendants' effective annual salary can be as high as $46,740.

4. Career: Child care worker

Perk: Free child care

Child care workers are employed in a variety of settings, including private homes, daycare facilities and small child care centers. Training requirements vary from place to place; in some cases, a high school diploma may be sufficient while other employers may require college coursework in early childhood education. Many child care workers run small daycares out of their own homes, which requires a license in most states.

Though annual salaries for child care workers aren't high, workers with children of their own experience a worthwhile perk: free child care.

  • Free child care. The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies reports that the average cost of center-based daycare in the US is $11,666 per year per child. Child care workers running their own centers can include their own children for free, and many larger daycare centers also offer free or heavily discounted care for employees' children.

Taking child care savings (for just one child) into account, the effective median salary for child care workers increases from $19,300 (BLS) to $30,966. In addition, child-care workers don't have a second commute between daycare and the office.

Median annual salary: $19,300

Adjusted annual salary: $30,966

The bottom line? When evaluating a job offer or potential career path, make sure to take perks into account. With value ranging from a couple thousand dollars to more than $10,000, some job perks can more than compensate for modest salaries.

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Employers figure out all kinds of goofy ways not to pay you, commission, free perks, low hourly wage, salary and very long hours. Whatever the case, it is usually tilted in their favor. I wouldn't take a free perk as use that as a reason to work after of all things a PAY CUT. If they don't want to pay you, that is the main factor. Perks are just that, perks, doesn't pay your bills.

December 05 2011 at 5:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LOL I work at a daycare. When I had my daughter, she went to the infant room until I could make other arrangements. I got half off. Think that sounds good? I only got paid minimum wage. I worked IN the infant room. I supplied all her bottles, formula, wipes, diapers, EVERYTHING. (Not that they would have supplied anything for me, anyway.) So I was making about $5.25/hr BEFORE taxes to watch my own child.

December 05 2011 at 1:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You're kidding, right? What's next -- an article on how awful it is to be a billionaire?

Shame on you and the creeps who pay you to lie to the people like this. You'll get yours.

December 04 2011 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked retail and we were UNION as well. That meant, on top of making minimum wage, we had to pay into a corrupt union (not all are, but UFCW is AWFUL) who was working FOR the company rather than the employees. To the point that our union reps "negotiated" for us to have a MAX salary of $11.35/hour.

As a part-time worker, I could qualify month-to-month for medical coverage, if I was given enough hours. We only were given enough hours about half the time, so every other month I had no medical coverage, not that it was any good anyway.

The 20% discount I received (30% in December) was all well and good, but it didn't make the job worthwhile. We worked with a skeleton crew most of the time. This was for a drug store that was open 'til 10PM, and after 8PM there would only be one cashier/CSR and one store manager (who would be busy in the back until closing) in the store. So the entire store was manned by one person until closing, which of course opened us up to lots of theft late at night.

On top of all this, we were open 365 days a year and employees were required to work AT LEAST Thanksgiving OR Christmas, often both.

I have a LOT of respect for people who can work retail long term. The company does not care about the employees in big corporations and a lot of times the customers treat them as second class citizens. But again, the discount is NOT worth the fact that even working full time (most places DO NOT hire full time employees) you don't make enough to live on.

December 04 2011 at 11:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I was a retail manager for 20 yrs. Worst job in the world. Long hrs, low pay, no appreciation from superiors, crappy employees, and customers that steal and complain all day.

December 04 2011 at 11:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For me after a layoff, the main perk I was looking for was health insurance. While I was working, I got it for $100 a month single. I looked for jobs paying 70% less for the health care. Now I'm paying $1100 a month for retiree insurance just for me. Ugh.

December 04 2011 at 10:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Correction:I would not prefer a pay cut. The best part was working in the baby department, that I did myself, they refused to give me help, I was paid twice what one person was paid, they just cut my hours and days to where I almost had nothing, then had other people, as a group, do it in double the time they gave me, yet called me slow.

December 04 2011 at 9:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Free travel does not appeal to me at all. Travelling can be a dangerous, a headache, and good luck with those bed bugs.

December 04 2011 at 9:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved doing the whole Baby department all by myself - 2 pallets of diapers and wipes, 2 pallets of baby food with baby hba and 2 pallets of baby furniture, yet when they made it too extreme they where inhumane, it never was fast enough, they wanted it done in an hour and a half, on to the shelf.

When it was someone else it took 4 people 4 hours to get it done.

December 04 2011 at 9:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That would be far better than, working at a Target Department Store, far better than working for nothing and feeling abused.

December 04 2011 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SLM8421's comment

Did you work for Walmart by chance???

December 04 2011 at 11:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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