A Short Guide to Employee Perks

Formal Education

Many employers support the development of their workforce through formal workplace training. Delivering classroom or on-the-job training helps a company twofold; increasing employee engagement/satisfaction as well as increasing productivity or the quality of product.

A rare twist on this perk is  employers agree, often on a case-by-case basis, to pay for employees to attend university part-time classes to allow them to obtain a post-graduate qualification such as the prestigious Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

Private Healthcare

Private healthcare cover gives employees piece of mind. In countries such as the USA where publicly funded healthcare is minimal, healthcare perks form a core part of employee rewards. In other countries such as the United Kingdom, private healthcare is seen as a luxury and a differentiator in competitive pay & perk package offerings.

Sticking with the UK, private healthcare has a significant cost as is usually reserved for managers or veteran employees. The offering may vary depending on the mobility of the individual. Senior executives that travel internationally on business may benefit from global healthcare plans such as those offered by Allianz Worldwide Care.

Where employers do not fund a private healthcare plan for their employee, they may still have links with an insurance provider to facilitate you obtaining a personal plan and having the cost deducted from your payslip (a ‘salary sacrifice scheme’). This can be cost effective as the employer, if large, is effectively engaging in collective bargaining to obtain a competitive quote for the insurance.

Company Car

Company car usage in Britain is actually falling¹. Despite this fact, company cars are still one of the more desirable perks offered by companies. Under a typical company car scheme, employees choose from a limited range of brand-new vehicles (all within the cost range specified in the by employer) from a single car leasing vendor. Employees tend to run these cars for 2-3 years before replacing with a new car.  Depending on the exact terms of the lease, insurance and the cost of maintenance may also be the responsibility of the leasing vendor, leaving the employee with only fuel to pay.

Company cars are treated as income for the purposes of income tax. Employees may have to declare this on their own tax return to pay the liability owing. A calculation takes place to determine how much ‘income’ a company car is worth, which is a function of the official list price of the car, and its CO2 emissions. This is why executive saloon manufacturers (E.g. BMW) prominently display this metric in their promotional materials. The lower the CO2, the less income tax employees will pay on the perk.

Employee Discounts

Retailers often provide employees with discounts when purchasing products from their brand or sometimes the group of companies their employer is part of. These discounts can extend to the immediate family, which increases the opportunity to take advantage of these offers. As a general rule, retailers of luxury, high margin products can afford to offer a high % discount than a low-margin general retailer as an example. But some retailers offer no discount scheme whatsoever!

The perks above form just a part of the overall benefits of working for an employer. Salary is primary perk, and the items above form a supplementary layer of ‘other’ perks – but also be aware of intangible perks such as:

  • Working culture and attitudes
  • Access to bright mentors & role models
  • Prestige
  • Promotion prospects
  • Safety, quality and aesthetic of the working environment


¹ Dr Abbi Hobbs and Dr Lydia Harriss ‘Peak car use in Britain’ report, prepared for the Commons Transport Select Committee in Novemebr 2013. “The report found that the key factor accounting for most of the reduction in miles by men aged 30 and over was a sharp fall in company car use, which appears to be linked to changes in fiscal policy”.


Simon OatesA Short Guide to Employee Perks

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