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What are employee benefits?

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Quick Answer

Employee benefits are perks or forms of compensation that are in addition to regular wages. Some types of benefits are required by federal or state law.

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What are employee benefits?
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Full Answer

All businesses in the United States are required to provide worker's compensation to employees who are injured on the job. Federal law also mandates that employers pay Social Security taxes at the same rate paid by their employees. Up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave must also be provided to employees who have or adopt a child, have a serious health condition or have to care for an immediate family member with a serious condition.

As of March 2015, the states of California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and the territory of Puerto Rico require businesses to provide disability insurance to their employees in the form of partial wage replacement for injuries or illness not related to work.

Other employee benefits are usually voluntary or have widely varying regulations between states. Some examples are unemployment insurance, health coverage, paid vacation time, pensions and 401k contributions. Companies that recruit high-demand, high-salary candidates may also have benefits at work such as free meals and day care.

Meal and rest breaks are not required by federal law and not all states mandate them either, so some employers may treat them as a benefit.

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