Benefits Can Be More Important than Cash for Small Business Employees

by | Nov 6, 2019 | Employee Benefits

It’s not an across-the-board finding, but if you ask employees of small businesses how they feel about their benefits, you may be surprised to learn that 87 percent of them would accept additional benefits over a pay raise.

That’s just one finding in a QuickBooks Payroll study that also found the top choice of employees, at 38 percent, for that additional benefit substitution is an extra week of paid vacation.

That’s not to say that they wouldn’t appreciate “fun” benefits, such as free food and drinks, remote work options or flexible work schedules, according to the report; in fact, they say such perks “make them feel more supported and understood in their workplace than companies without these offerings.”

But don’t expect them to hang around long if they’re not happy with their benefits package. Not only do 39 percent of respondents say they’re not satisfied with what’s on offer at their current employer, 35 percent of those who looked for a new job in the past year did so in search of better benefits.

Twenty-nine percent of workers said their companies only provide the bare minimum, and 41 percent said they wouldn’t want to work at a place that provided no benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation and sick days, retirement plans or dental insurance.

And while 66 percent of workers reported getting health insurance benefits, 41 percent of workers said their employers didn’t offer them retirement benefits, such as 401(k)s or pensions. Older workers (39 or older) were more likely to get retirement benefits than younger ones, too, at 45 percent compared with just 34 percent.

Some benefits are more prevalent than others. A surprising 93 percent said they get at least one benefit from their small employer, but what they get and how much of it varies widely; while 57 percent said they get paid time off for vacations, just 48 percent get paid sick leave and 37 percent get paid personal time.

Small business employers considering whether or which benefits to offer might want to keep the following in mind. While 61 percent of small business employees say they feel cared for when companies offer such things as flex time and remote work, 26 percent of employees said they would recommend their company to others if they were offered the right benefits package. Another 21 percent said a great benefits package is what makes them love their job—and that’s not something to ignore in a tight job market.


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