New Job Can Present Opportunity For More Benefits Than Just Salary

Ray’s Take: Google employees have access to free food, a bowling alley, bocce courts and a fleet of electric cars to drive during work hours. Campbell Soup Company has onsite childcare and kindergarten. Cisco Systems gives employees free acupuncture. L’Oreal employees get access to nap pods.

While most companies aren’t able to offer these fancy benefits and perks to their employees, there are many important legal and financial aspects to consider when offered a new job and asked to sign an employment contract. Contract negotiations can be difficult and stressful. Many times high-level executives use an experienced employment law attorney to assist them in reviewing these documents. You may not be looking for a job at that level yet, but the market is getting tighter shifting more negotiating strength to potential employees.

In addition to the usual salary and benefits, take time to understand your equity grant benefits. Some questions to ask are, “Is the grant tax-advantaged incentive stock options, non-qualified stock options, stock appreciation rights or restricted stock units?” “What is the vesting period for the equity grant?” “If stock options are granted, what is the exercise price?”

If going to a company where acquisitions could be possible, ask about a “Golden Parachute.” These are benefits guaranteed to you in the event you are fired as a result of a takeover of the company. If this happens, are you entitled to terminate employment and receive the golden parachute payment?

You will also want to consider certain liability protection coverage within the scope of your job. Does the company have Directors’ and Officers’ (“D&O”) insurance coverage?

One last thought as the jobs markets further tighten, there’s more to life than cash and benefits. You’ll be spending at least a third of your time working. Now may be the time to negotiate for quality of life. After all, this is not a dress rehearsal.

It’s always a good idea to get help from an experienced attorney when reviewing an employment contract.

Dana’s Take: For parents taking a break from work and recently-retired adults, it’s a tough call whether to re-enter the job market or not. Benefits can tip the scales toward work.

A non-employed spouse may return to work when a self-employed spouse needs family healthcare coverage. Consider part-time work that provides healthcare. A part-time Apple Store employee once told me how shocked he was to receive healthcare benefits. It’s rare but possible.

If a company contributes to retirement savings or matches employee savings, this could be incentive to get back in the saddle. For the recently-retired, re-entering the workforce could also mean delaying tapping into Social Security savings for a bigger paycheck later.

Whether it’s for the employee discounts or a safety cushion of savings, jumping back in the workplace can pay off now and later.

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