By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
Contract vs Benefits Eligible Roles
When you're looking for work, it's important to know what salary range you have in mind. As you are initially searching for jobs, a key factor in deciding which jobs to pursue and which to pass on will be what you will earn.
If you are looking at contract positions, the salary you will receive is the same as your base salary. Usually, you are paid a set amount for each hour worked with no additional benefits. Consequently, contract positions often have a higher hourly rate knowing that each contractor will have to cover their health insurance and other additional benefits that may be included in other job offers.
However, If you are in a benefits-eligible role, you will receive additional value above and beyond your base salary rate. Let's consider what factors may be included in your total compensation package.
While I feel comfortable discussing various financial and insurance concepts, I do not currently hold a license or any certification that deems me inherently qualified to give financial advice. The information provided here is intended to be used for educational purposes only.
Sometimes, the core challenge is knowing how a system generally works, the terms used to describe what you’re asking about, and where to go for additional help. My goal for this article is to share information to guide you as you navigate the murky waters of job searching. I hope my personal experiences can help you cut a path through the wilderness as you try to figure out your next steps.
Feel free to take my recommendations or not. Whatever you do, double-check my facts--and everyone's purported facts, for that matter. This is your life, and you will care more about your financial and healthcare decisions than anyone else. Use this information as a starting point for further research as you ultimately decide what’s right for you.
Your Work Income
First, let’s look at a high-level, generalized overview of the money you may receive:
Employer Money You May Recieve For A Specific Purpose
In addition to receiving money in the form of a check or payment payable to you, you may also receive money earmarked for a specific purpose.
Insurance and Benefits, At Least Partially Employer Paid
In the United States, many people obtain different types of insurance through their employers. Employers often pay administration costs of the plan and help cover some of the costs.
Access To Purchase Additional Benefits
Many employers offer the option for employees to purchase additional benefits. These can include vision insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability, enhanced disability coverage, supplemental life insurance, spouse life insurance, child life insurance, accident insurance, condition-specific health insurance, a legal protection plan, or orthodontic benefits.
Companies may also offer a variety of perks. These can include items you can purchase for a lower cost or resources you can take advantage of that you might otherwise pay for elsewhere. These could include an onsite gym, onsite daycare, free parking, entertainment discounts, stamps, bus passes, use of the company van, cell phone plan discounts, or reduced entry fees for area attractions.
Perks can also be anything that makes work easier, more engaging, or more pleasant. These could include shift bidding, flexible work arrangements, remote work, work-from-home days, summer hours, four-day workweeks, onsite flu shots, overtime opportunities, or company events.
Employers also often pay you for specific hours when you do not work. Here are a few standard categorizations for different types of paid time off: paid time off (PTO), sick time, vacation time, paid holidays, floating holidays, volunteer time, bereavement leave, jury duty pay, or military leave.
Instead of having a specific number of paid days available for sick or vacation time, some companies have unlimited time off policies. In most cases, instead of earning and then choosing to use paid time off, you work with your manager whenever you want to take off. In general, as long as you are performing your job to an acceptable level, you can take time off.
The Salary Question: Revisited
Remember, when a recruiter asks about your salary range, there is a lot more going on than just your base salary. Overall, I suggest giving a salary range instead of a set number to account for possible differences in company-offered benefits.
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7-time layoff survivor Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady, waxes poetic on layoffs, job transitions, & career resilience.