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Low-Cost​ Benefits to Offer Your Employees

low cost benefits to offer your employees
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There are many low-cost benefits you can offer your employees. One of the most important ways to retain your staff is by offering good benefits. As a small business, you may not be able to offer the same benefits as large companies. However, you may be able to offer some benefits and perks as your small business grows. There are some low-cost options. 

When looking at offering low-cost benefits for your employees, focus on options that can enhance employee engagement and job satisfaction. 

Flexible Work Hours

Now more than ever, potential workers are searching for more flexibility in their work hours.  “People are not going to return to work the way they have in the past,” says Kristin Kelley, chief marketing officer at CareerBuilder. “Flexibility is the new norm and expectation from employees—we’re going to see this trend continue in the months ahead.” 

New research from CareerBuilder found that jobs allowing employees to work from home full or part-time saw seven times more applications than in-person roles last month.

Can you add some type of flexibility for your workers? Even offering remote opportunities can be a valuable benefit.

If your employees need flexibility this is a great low-cost benefit option to add if you can. Some people would give up a lot to have a flexible schedule. 

Consider investing in a time tracking app for small business like ezClocker which keeps customer information and schedules appointments and tasks for your employees. It will also help manage your employee’s timesheets instead of manually tracking their time. You will be able to track their flexible schedules easier. They can clock in and out from their phones anywhere and there is a GPS so you can verify their location. 

Paid Leave

Most employers offer their employees some type of paid leave. Employers offer different options such as vacations, holidays, sick days, or personal time. 

Time off is vital for your workers so consider what you can offer to be competitive. If you can’t offer medical insurance or FSA, then consider extending your paid leave. After insurance, many employees want paid vacations and holidays as one of their top benefits. A good vacation plan can retain top employees. 

Consider implementing a plan where those who have more seniority get more vacation days. If your business is able, consider offering all national holidays off as well.

Need an Affordable Time Off App for Your Employees?

Flexible Spending

Flexible spending accounts (FSA) allow employees to contribute to an account with pre-tax dollars meaning employees don’t pay taxes on this money. You may be able to get your employees a credit or debit card to use for medical expenses. However, they may have to submit receipts to show proof of purchases.

Here are the different FSA accounts:

  • Medical expenses – This type of account will pay for anything your insurance doesn’t cover such as co-pays, deductibles, and prescriptions. It even covers some over-the-counter products like bandages, blood pressure machines, etc. There is also an online store where your employees can purchase products. There is a period in which your employees have to use their funds, but you may be able to extend it or allow them to carry amounts over $500. 
  • Dependent care – An employee can contribute up to a certain dollar amount to pay for dependent care. In most cases this means daycare expenses for children under 13, but some plans allow for adult care.  
  • Health premiums – This can be used when employees have no insurance coverage. 
  • Adoption – In some cases, the employer can offer FSA to help cover adoption expenses. 

Research different FSA plans to see what fits best with your budget and your staff. 


There are different options for offering retirement. The most common one is 401(k), which you match up to a certain percentage they contribute with their pre-tax dollars. You will not manage the account, but you will work with an investment firm who will do this for you. There are other plans like IRAs you can offer if you can’t match their contributions. 

You may also be able to receive tax breaks for having a retirement savings plan. 

Professional Development

Employees want more growth and development than most businesses offer. Now more than ever, it is easy to schedule webinars and online training platforms. It is understandable that you may not have time to research training for your staff and even pay for it. Encourage your workers to research low-cost options and give them a budget. For those that want to move up as you grow, this could be very valuable for you.

Tuition Reimbursement 

If you are able to give tuition reimbursement, consider offering this for school or training programs. You can put stipulations to this as well. For example, you can specify the type of college courses or programs which would help your business. You can also state on your policy that they must take approved coursework and they must pass the class to get reimbursed. Research best practices and policies to help you offer the best plan. 

If you follow guidelines by the IRS, you can also receive tax breaks on college tuition reimbursement. 

Consider offering training reimbursement if you don’t want to offer tuition reimbursement. You may find that is a better low-cost option for you. Also, you would have more control of the type of training classes they are taking to fit your business needs. It is important to write a policy and be specific regarding what type of training you will pay for and how they can be reimbursed. 

Make sure your policy states that they should pass their classes too. Some states and cities even offer training tax breaks, so research those options. 

Wellness for a Low-Cost Benefit

There are many options that provide wellness to your workers. For example, once a month you could bring in a masseuse to do back massages for your staff. Consider offering exercise or yoga classes if you have the space. You may even consider offering gym memberships. Some gyms give you a discount for a certain number of employees who sign up. 

Also, it would be fun to participate in fun runs or walks around the area. Wear matching t-shirts advertising your business. You could encourage everyone to count their steps and offer prizes for participating in wellness activities. 

Encourage wellness in your business. By providing access to a gym or doing fitness challenges, your workers will be thankful.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) 

EAP programs offer counselling and support services to your workers dealing with personal or work-related issues. They can be cost-effective and be very helpful for your employee’s mental health. This is a great benefit especially if you don’t have an HR person. 

Employee Discount Programs

Consider partnering with other local or online businesses to provide discounts to your staff. There are several companies who have discount programs where you can enroll. If your workers could get discounts on travel, retail, movie plans, and food, this is a great benefit. 

Coworking Membership

If your team works remotely, providing your employees with a coworking membership is an excellent way to provide them with a low-cost benefit that can improve their productivity and job satisfaction. Coworking spaces are shared workspaces that offer amenities such as high-speed internet, community kitchens, printing services, and more. Many spaces provide a variety of different options to choose from, such as business lounge memberships, dedicated desks, meeting room packages, and day offices. This flexibility ensures that your employees will find the perfect fit for their needs while still meeting your company’s budget. By purchasing a coworking membership for your employees, you are providing them with a flexible and professional workspace that can help them be more productive.

One of the main advantages of coworking spaces is the sense of community they provide. Coworking spaces are often filled with professionals from different industries, which allows for networking and collaboration opportunities. Being part of a coworking community can help employees feel more engaged and motivated in their work.

Medical Insurance

Although offering medical insurance is not a low-cost option, research different plans to see if there is something you can offer. You will need to gather information such as what you can contribute and what type of plans you would like. Even if you can’t contribute much, there may be high deductible plans which you can offer your staff. 

Here are some options:

  • Research the marketplace. Currently the government offers Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). It is for businesses with less than 50 employees. There are several flexible options you can choose from. 
  • Work with a broker. There are several insurance brokers or agents who will give you prices based upon your employee count and what you need. They research top insurance companies to find the best plan for you. 
  • Contact insurance companies directly. If you don’t want to work with a broker or the government plan, many insurance companies offer small business plans, and you pay them directly.

Other Low-Cost Benefits and Perks to Consider

There are many benefits or perks you can offer your staff that may fit your budget better and motivate your workforce. Some of these include:

  • Identity theft protections – Many businesses are helping workers protect themselves from financial losses. Find out from your employees if identity theft protection is important to them. Research business plans at major credit monitoring services. 
  • Pet insurance – There are even pet insurance programs which allow employee withholding options. It has become a great option for those who hire millennials. If your business is pet friendly, this would be a great benefit to have. 
  • Food – Keep stocked items in a kitchen like fruit, tea, and coffee. Think about letting them have a drink on Friday and celebrate the week’s accomplishments together. 
  • Music, Reading, or Movies – Consider offering a music membership like Spotify or Apple Music. You may be able to offer a Netflix plan or another movie plan. Think about offering them an Audible or Kindle package for reading. 

Final Thoughts on Low-Cost Benefits

You may not be able to offer health insurance or retirement until your business grows more. You should, however, talk to a tax advisor to find out what tax breaks you get for the plans or low-cost benefits you are considering. 

Contemplate different and creative ways to help motivate and encourage your workforce. Research best practices and consider your budget.



Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis has over 20 years of experience in business, human resource management, and leadership roles. She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, small business growth, leadership development, workplace safety and health programs, and writing business content.