As a small business owner, time is your most precious resource. It’s not just about keeping costs down but making sure the things you spend money on are correct. That’s why small businesses look for ways to keep their employees happy while saving money at the same time.

With so much competition in almost every industry, companies need to find ways to put their unique mark on things and make employees want to work there over anyone else’s company. Small business employee benefits are one of the best ways to do that.

Traditionally, more giant corporations offer their employees a wide range of incentives such as healthcare, dental insurance, and even retirement plans. However, if you own a small business with fewer than 50 employees (or will be hiring no more than 49 workers in the coming year), you may think these kinds of perks are out of reach. Fortunately, due to U.S. legislation and other factors such as cost of living rates in your area, there are several advantages available exclusively to small business owners that might not immediately come to mind when thinking about employee benefits packages.

Popular Employee Benefits

The following is a list of widespread employee benefits in the United States:

Health insurance

Health insurance coverage is one of the most common benefits offered to employees, and it pays for medical care and other services related to an employee’s health. Health insurance plans may also cover dental, vision, and prescription drug costs.

Life insurance.

Life insurance pays money to your beneficiaries if you die or are disabled by an injury or illness. It can also pay off certain debts or help pay for funeral expenses if you die suddenly.

Disability insurance.

Disability insurance replaces some of your income if you can’t work because of an injury or illness.

Paid time off (PTO).

Paid time off includes vacation days, sick days, holidays, and personal days off from work that you can use for vacations or other reasons without losing pay from your employer. Some employers offer additional paid time off as part of their benefits packages to encourage employees to take time off when they need it most, such as after giving birth or caring for a sick child. Paid sick days are another form of paid time off that allows employees who are ill not to come into work while still receiving pay from their employers.”

401(k) retirement plans.

These plans allow employees to set aside money before taxes are taken out and invest it in stocks or bonds. Some companies match part of your contributions with their contributions, but this isn’t required by law. The money grows tax-free until you withdraw it in retirement—at which point it is taxed as income at ordinary income tax rates (which could be higher than those currently paid on capital gains).


  • Financial planning resources
  • Professional development
  • Fitness or healthy lifestyle incentives
  • Employee assistance programs (mental and emotional wellbeing)
  • Identity theft protection
  • Childcare benefits
  • Student loan repayment benefits
  • Home office improvement incentives for remote workers
  • Sign-on bonuses

Employee Benefits Structures

In general, employee benefits fall into two categories: organizational-oriented and consumer-oriented.

Organizational-oriented benefits

The first type of employee benefit structure is organizational-oriented, and this type of structure ties the benefits to the organization rather than the employee and their family. Examples of organizational-oriented benefits include:

  • Group health insurance: This traditional benefit provides medical coverage for employees and their families. It can be purchased from an insurance company or self-insured by the employer.
  • A retirement pension or 401(k): Retirement plans encourage employees to save for their retirement and provide financial security when they retire. Retirement plans can include both defined contribution plans (which provide a fixed amount each year) and defined-benefit plans (a fixed monthly payout).
  • A formal wellness program: An employer may offer a voluntary wellness program, which encourages workers to participate in activities that promote good health, such as receiving regular preventive care or participating in exercise classes. These programs typically offer incentives such as lower insurance premiums or gift cards to encourage participation.

Consumer-Oriented Employee Benefits

Consumer-oriented benefits are specifically designed to help an individual employee’s financial situation. These benefits may not be required by law or company policy, but they can still benefit employees who want them. Examples include:

  • A reimbursement plan like a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA)
  • A health savings account (HSA)
  • Allowances for wellness activities