Families looking to recruit the best household employees need ways to attract them, especially if they’re unable to pay higher salaries. Something that often does the trick is offering creative benefits to household employees, particularly if those benefits address specific needs. Here are a few ideas.
1. Retirement Benefits
One benefit option is to offer your nanny or other employees a 401K plan. GTM’s SIMPLE 401K Plan will not only give you a recruiting advantage over other families without a 401K plan and a retention tool for your employee, but it will also help your employee build an excellent source of retirement income and experience the benefits of tax-deferred growth. Other options are the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and the Roth IRA; both are fairly simple programs to establish as an employee benefit, and therefore, suitable as a household employee benefit.
2. Educational Reimbursement
Continuing education, training, seminars, and conferences play an important role in helping promote professional growth and elevate employee performance—making the educational reimbursement benefit a win-win proposition for both the employer and employee. You may also consider paying for professional membership fees or trade journal subscriptions. Employers who offer this benefit can claim up to $5,250 tax-free for employer-provided educational assistance; graduate-level course work is also covered. The IRS does state that employers who offer tax-free educational assistance are required to have a written plan describing the terms and benefits. If you decide to offer this benefit, laying out an educational assistance plan in your employee handbook or work agreement is essential.
3. Student Loan Repayment
For those nannies or other employees that have recently graduated, many of them may have accumulated substantial debt. A benefit families may wish to offer current or prospective employees is student loan repayment. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that repayment of a student loan is considered taxable income, and at present, there’s no tax write-off for employers who offer a loan repayment benefit. Employers, however, do have some leeway on how to offer the benefit. The amount of the benefit can be offered monthly or as a lump sum, it can be capped, and it can be tied to an employee match. A waiting period is also fine.
4. Prepaid Legal Services
Some employers offer prepaid legal services as an employee benefit. Prepaid legal services may involve citizenship, divorce, adoption, and so on, and create a unique value to employees who require legal advice and representation. Employers need to clearly state in the work agreement and the employee handbook the premium requirements for prepaid legal services, and if such services are provided at the employer’s discretion.
A few other benefit ideas include:
- Provide your employees with a mileage reimbursement or a gas card to help with their commute or with transporting children.
- If your employee has their own car, provide an auto club membership or periodically cover the costs of tune-ups and oil changes.
- Establish an employee assistance plan or gift certificate to a spa/health club as a way to help your employee de-stress.
- Provide your employees with scheduled free time each week for them to make personal errands and phone calls.
If you’re looking for an enticing benefit to attract new talent, one of the benefits described above may be something to consider. If these benefits aren’t desirable or doable, that’s okay. The important thing is that you appeal to potential employees by distinguishing yourself, and there’s no one way to do that!