- Mark Blinch/Reuters
- Companies are offering unique workplace perks and benefits that weren’t available 30 years ago, perhaps to lure or cater to millennials.
- Some of the latest perks include paid time off for new pet owners and companies covering the costs of egg freezing for women.
- Student loan repayment programs are also popular among young workers, with one survey reporting 45% of employees considering it the most desirable benefit.
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The US unemployment hit 3.6% in October 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicating a promising time in the job market.
With increasing job selection, millennials on the hunt for employment have an opportunity to survey a company’s benefits when deciding between jobs, instead of accepting their first offer.
There are several workplace benefits that can set a company apart from its competitors that weren’t available 30 years ago.
Unpaid parental leave wasn’t required in the US until 1993. Today, mothers and fathers are being offered weeks and even months of paid leave to spend time with their newborns. “Fur-ternity” leave for new pet parents was probably never even considered decades ago. And with rising student loan debt, companies like PWC and IBM are helping employees repay their college debt.
Below are some of the best work perks millennials have today that their parents didn’t.
Breast milk shipping
- Tyrone Siu/Reuters
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Some companies also allow bereavement time after losing a pet. Mars Petcare offers flexible working and says that can extend to “pawternity” as well as pet bereavement. VMware offers flexible days for pet bereavement, and its Palo Alto campus is dog-friendly.
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At some companies, the 40-hour workweek is a relic of the past. Microsoft, Shake Shack, Basecamp, Uniqlo, and Wildbit have all experimented with a shorter, four-day workweek, Lisa Eadicicco reported for Business Insider.
- Mike Segar/Reuters
Companies including NASA, Samsung, Google, and Huffington Post have nap pods at work for sleeping breaks, Forbes reported in 2018.
“It’s clear there’s a difference between generations,” Christopher Lindholst, CEO and cofounder of MetroNaps, told Forbes. “Millennials have a more flexible attitude to execution of responsibilities and are more open to ‘sleeping on the job’ facilities that boost performance than their predecessors.”
Student loan repayment programs
Companies like PWC, First Republic Bank, Penguin Random House, Peloton, Honeywell, and others are helping their employees pay off their student loans, according to Nitro, an online guide to paying for college. IBM offers free financial counseling and student loan consolidation and refinancing options.
A 2017 study by Oliver Wyman surveyed over 3,000 households with a bachelor’s degree or more and found 45% of employees say student loan repayment is the most desirable benefit offered by a company, placing it above retirement contributions and health insurance.
Reproductive egg freezing
- Pichi Chuang/Reuters
Facebook first started to cover the cost of egg freezing in 2014 after a female employee with cancer told COO Sheryl Sandberg she couldn’t afford to freeze her eggs.
Paid paternity leave
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New fathers are finally receiving equal recognition for parental leave. Several companies have jumped on the paternity leave bandwagon in recent years, including DocuSign, now offering six months of paid leave for all caregivers, and Goldman Sachs offering five months.
Other notable companies offering paternity leave are Twitter, IBM, Etsy, Netflix, and Sweetgreen. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation foundation started offering parental leave lasting 12 to 52 weeks starting in 2015; but in 2019, the organization cut its offered leave in half and instead offered an additional $20,000 to employees.
Expanded parental programs, including money toward adoption
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Estée Lauder began an expansion of its family-related benefit package in May 2018. The package includes 20 weeks of paid parental leave regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation. The program also allows parents who are trying to adopt to seek $10,000 toward the process.
Estée Lauder offers $20,000 for fertility treatments. It also offers in-home backup child care and elder care.
Paid gender reassignment surgery
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“The approach was driven not just by the company’s desire to provide truly inclusive coverage, and by powerful conversations with transgender partners about how those benefits would allow them to truly be who they are,” Starbucks vice president of benefits Ron Crawford said.
Paid and encouraged travel
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It’s almost expected that a hospitality service like Airbnb would cover $2,000 a year in travel expenses for every employee, but other companies are encouraging exploration and travel as well.
Software-maker Qualtrics gives each employee $1,500 to spend on experiences every year.
Extended bereavement leave
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In 2017 Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced Facebook’s paid bereavement leave program would extend time off up to 20 days to grieve the death of an immediate family member and up to 10 days for extended family members.
Fitness at work
- Dominick Reuter / Business Insider
Gym memberships in major cities don’t come cheap. So, companies offer opportunities for fitness and wellness at their offices.
According to Glassdoor, Salesforce has a fitness center in its Salesforce Tower in San Francisco that offers workout classes along with massages and a nutritionist. Google’s Mountain View headquarters has fitness and wellness centers.
Personal care on site
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Work benefits aren’t always exclusive to full-time employees. Facebook offers a housing or a monthly housing stipend to its interns.
College tuition reimbursement
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Business Insider’s Rachel Premack reported in 2018 that GitHub, Cisco, SAP, UnitedHealth Group, and Kaplan all offer remote positions.
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It can be hard to stay focused 40 hours (or more) per week.
For workers who benefit from a quick, fun break: Adobe’s Utah office has an indoor basketball court and rock wall, and AppDynamic’s San Francisco headquarters has shuffleboard, ping pong, foosball, and arcade games, according to Glassdoor.
Sleek office spaces
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The 61st floor of Salesforce Tower in San Francisco has an observation deck with 360 degree views of the city and workspace for employees.
Some offices offer outdoor spaces: Facebook’s Seattle office has fire pits and an outdoor patio, while Gap’s San Francisco office has a terrace facing the Bay Bridge, according to Glassdoor.
Complimentary theme park visits
- Bobby Yip/Reuters
Employees of The Walt Disney company get complimentary admission to any of Disney’s theme parks, as long as they’ve worked at the company for two weeks.