6 Perks You Should Be Demanding From Your Employer


It isn't just Silicon Valley that's offering employees fantastic benefits like gratis gourmet meals and scuba diving lessons. The "perks arms race" that's given rise to Facebook's latest offering of $20,000 reimbursement checks to female employees who want to freeze their eggs is trickling down to other industries and pockets of the country. (See also: The 29 Companies With the Best Maternity Benefits)

And while the perks for blue collar workers aren't exactly sensational compared to Google's on-site bowling alley and massage parlors, they're certainly a whole lot jazzier than dental coverage and a 401(k).

Read on for our roundup of some of the bonus perks enjoyed by workers of all stripes across the country. And if you're currently on the outside looking in on the fancy fringe benefits craze, maybe it's time you started demanding some extra gravy. After all, if the part-time grocery clerk is getting her tuition bill footed by her employer, why shouldn't you?

1. Beer Cart Fridays

It's Friday afternoon and there are just two hours and a small stack of paperwork standing between you and the weekend. But when you're on hour 38 of the work week, a couple more hours of paperwork can seem never-ending. Lucky for employees of Advanced Medical, a small healthcare staffing company in Port Orange, Florida, there's such a thing as "Beer Cart Fridays" to help them through.

Jennifer Fuicelli, the company's chief executive, told a local news reporter that while she knows alcohol in the workplace is taboo, she wanted to create an "unorthodox corporate culture" where employees are rewarded for their hard work at the end of the week by having the option to crack open a cold one on the company's tab during work hours. "We put our corporate culture before profits, and when you do that, profits will follow," she says, adding, "We have a very low turnover, and a very high retention rate."

2. Acupuncture, Estate Planning… and Texas Hold 'Em

Employees of DPR Construction get chiropractic and acupuncture insurance along with their medical, dental, and vision coverage. They also get a legal benefit plan, which can be used for estate and life planning, consumer protection, and family law. Now for the fun stuff: Employees can also drink wine in all 16 of the California-based company's offices — except for its Austin, Texas location, which has a saloon and hosts Texas Hold 'Em tournaments.

3. Gift Baskets and Bowling Nights

J. M. Smucker, the Ohio-based company that makes fruit jams and jellies, sends a gift basket to the home doorstep of all new hires. How's that for a warm welcome? The company, which has a roster of 4,500 employees, also organizes regular bowling nights in an effort to foster fun and socialization among coworkers.

4. Adoption Assistance and Educational Scholarships

Wegmans workers receive free adoption assistance as one of the perks of employment with the Rochester, New York based grocery store chain. The company also has a thriving scholarship program, with 26,500 full and part-time employees having been awarded $85 million in funding for higher education programs since 1984. "We believe we can achieve our goals only if we fulfill the needs of our people," says the company's site.

5. Free Coffee and Foreign Language Clubs

Starbucks baristas benefit from a free pound of coffee to brew at home each week as well as access to more than 50 programs geared at helping employees strike the perfect work-life balance. Foreign language clubs, recreational sports leagues, groups that provide resources for people interested in sustainable living are just the tip of the iceberg of offerings.

6. A Full-Service Concierge

The company that manufactures Glade, Ziploc, and Windex offers its employees a full-service concierge that'll shop around for the best auto insurance quote, pick up the groceries, and stand in line for concert tickets. It's like having a willing and able assistant to complete all of life's tiresome errands and chores in your stead. The goal, company officials say, is to provide employees with a healthy work-life balance.

Does your employer offer any unexpected perks? What should we be demanding?

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