10 Things Besides Salary to Negotiate at Work


Fringe benefits. Aren't they great? And one of the best things about being offered a new job is the leverage to negotiate your benefits package, which is often worth thousands of dollars. So don't leave money on the table — here are 10 things besides salary to negotiate at work. (See also: How to Negotiate Higher Pay at Your Next New Job)

1. Retirement Plans

Your company should already have detailed retirement plans in place, but in a few cases, you might be able to negotiate contributions to your 401(k). If your company's plan is unsatisfactory, you may also be able to negotiate higher salary or other perks in lieu of 401(k) matching.

2. Bonuses

Bonuses are subject to an employer's discretion and are generally performance based, but you can establish an expected yearly bonus range up front and negotiate what percentage of your salary to expect. Conversely, if you're risk averse, you might consider negotiating a higher base salary instead of a bonus.

3. Additional Performance Compensation

Though you are a salaried employee, if you're in any type of position where your job is to generate new business, you can discuss additional compensation for bringing deals in the door — such as commissions, for example. The amount can be equal to a percentage of the total deal amount — perhaps 1% or more. If you're confident in your sales ability, you may even choose to take a lower salary for such an agreement.

4. Non-Compete Clauses

Some employers add non-compete clauses in their employment agreements. Watch out for the wording of these, because they can prevent you from leaving and immediately going to work at a competing firm, for yourself, or engaging in side work while with the company and for a specified time frame after. In some cases, this can even extend for one or more years after your departure. Non-competes can also prevent you from taking your clients and contact lists with you.

5. Paid Vacation, Holidays, and Sick Days

There are no laws mandating paid vacation, holidays, and sick leave. These are considered fringe benefits and are an agreement between you and your employer. Chances are, your employer has outlined the standard vacation and sick leave limits for all employees, but you can still negotiate additional vacation and sick days if you don't feel the offering meets your expectations.

6. Flex-Time

More and more companies are recognizing that the majority of work responsibilities involve work that can be completed without your physical presence at the office, so negotiate reduced office hours. Substitute them with telecommute hours. You can ask for compressed work days or set days where you don't come into the office at all.

7. Higher Salary to Opt-Out of Health, Dental, Vision, and Life Insurance

You are not required to participate in the company health benefit plans, but if your company has one in place, great — you have a choice. Should you decide to participate, it'll cost your employer a monthly amount — let's say equal to 100% of your monthly payment. So, if you're paying $250 per month, your employer is also paying $250 per month. You can speak with executive officers and negotiate a salary increase if you elect to not participate in the company sponsored health plan.

8. Professional Development, Tuition Reimbursement, and Memberships

Companies encourage professional development, as well as joining professional groups and organizations because these activities support your efforts to network and bring in new business. Display your interest in participating in such activities and discuss initiation fees and annual dues. Do the same for independent study and continued education courses you're interested in taking.

9. Transportation and Meal Plans

Ask for a weekly transportation credit and/or meal plan to help you cover the cost of being an employee. These expenses are tax-deductible for self-employed individuals, but come out of your pocket as an employee. After all, your boss is likely writing off a portion — if not all — of her expenses. Don't be afraid to casually mention how many companies offer transportation programs and meal plans.

10. Reimbursement of Expenses

If you travel or entertain clients for work, your company will reimburse you for your expenses, but take it a step further by asking for a company credit card if you'll have recurring outlays. This way, you won't have to wait until the following month to be reimbursed.

Have you negotiated these or any other forms of non-salary compensation at work? What was your strategy?

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Guest's picture

Love this - a lot of companies can be on a tight budget, so they won't budge in salary; however, negotiating a few more vacation days can more than make up for it. People tend to forget that everything is up for negotiation - great article.

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