At many companies, salaried employees receive a variety of benefits such as health insurance, sick days, and 401k matching. While these are available to lots of people, many tend to not use them. Often it’s because they simply don’t know the benefits available; others don’t use them because they feel that using sick days is bad or that they don’t have the money to pay a doctor’s co-pay or contribute to a retirement fund. Whatever’s stopping you from using your benefits, now’s the time to realize that they are there for you to use and count as a part of your salary.
Know Your Benefits
Take the time to read through your benefits and speak with an employee in the HR department so you know the extent of your benefits. You should be aware of all co-pays and restrictions of your health insurance, how many sick and vacation days you receive, and any other benefits your company provides that you may not know about. HR is there to help you, so ask them any questions you have and make yourself aware of what’s available to you.
Get Regular Check-ups
Preventative health care is a necessity and can keep you from having much bigger complications in the long run. You should go to the doctor and dentist at least once a year to ensure that there are no minor problems that could turn into major ones without the proper care. Most health insurance includes preventative care because it’s cheaper for the company to keep you healthy than it is to fix you after the fact.
Sick? Stay Home!
If you’re not feeling well, you should utilize the sick days you have available to you. Going to work when you’re ill can spread the disease around the office and can prolong your own sickness, which actually causes more lost time and money for the company than if you take a sick day. Don’t put others at risk and muddle through your day when you feel poorly. Instead, stay home, rest, and get yourself well and healthy so you can do your job.
Retirement Fund Matching
If your benefits include 401k matching, take advantage of it as much as you can. The opportunity to save twice the amount you put in for your future can propel your savings goals forward, allowing you to retire comfortably at the end of your career. If you make good choices and max out your savings, you can even retire earlier than others because you don’t have to worry about waiting for social security to kick in, giving you more time to enjoy a carefree retirement.
Your benefits are there for you to use and enjoy, so don’t waste the opportunities they give you. Know what’s available to you and use them to keep yourself healthy and get yourself prepared for your future. If you take advantage of your benefits, you’ll actually be saving your company money in the long term and be giving them better work from a productive employee. Using your benefits helps both you and the company, and there’s no reason not to, so what are you waiting for?
Mary Clarkson writes articles for several business sites and suggests that employee benefits management is essential for getting the most out of your benefits.