When you’re negotiating a contract for a new job, salary is a main conversation point, but there are many things to negotiate besides salary. As employees continue to put a higher value on wellness, balance, and the ability to work from home, there continues to be more to negotiate.
It all comes down to what you value most. Are you willing to take a job with a lower salary if you are able to work remotely? Are you willing to work longer hours so long as you have extra vacation time? Are there any make-or-break benefits that could prevent you from accepting a job offer?
This post will cover what else to negotiate besides salary. While not all of these extras or benefits will apply to you, it’s important to go into a job offer meeting knowing what to negotiate besides salary, what’s most important to you, and what you’re unwilling to give up.
Things to Negotiate Besides Salary
The next time you need to negotiate a new job or promotion, look beyond your paycheck to additional benefits and wellness opportunities. There are many other things to negotiate besides salary, including paid time off, health benefits, and flexible hours.
Before you begin your negotiations, take the time to think about what you value most from your employment. What added benefits would make the job more worthwhile? What could help you do better work? What might mean more to you than a pay raise?
What are the circumstances surrounding the new job or promotion? Are you taking on more responsibility? Will you need to travel farther to get to work and therefore have more transportation costs? Do you need to relocate in order to take the position?
So, what should you consider? Here are 10 non-salary benefits to negotiate. We’ll discuss each of these further below.
- Vacation time
- Paid time off (PTO)
- Health benefits
- Remote work
- Flexible hours
- Fewer hours
- Car or transportation allowance
- Wardrobe allowance
- Moving costs
1. Negotiate Vacation Time
Can you negotiate vacation time? Is vacation flexible beyond the legally required vacation by state? Absolutely! Vacation time is negotiable; job offers are often designed to entice employees with additional vacation time.
Is vacation time important to you? Do you value your time off, or are you passionate about traveling? If this is the case, you may want to negotiate additional vacation time, even if it comes at the expense of a slightly lower salary.
What to Consider When Negotiating Salary and Vacation Time
Vacation time isn't always as transparent as it seems on paper. Ask clear questions during your negotiations to ensure you will actually be able to take all of your allotted vacation time.
Unfortunately, in many workplaces, there’s a toxic culture around taking vacation time off. Even though you have a lot of vacation days, it may be frowned upon to take them by the employer or your teammates. Even if vacation is encouraged, if your workload and the demands of your job don’t afford you the ability to take these days off, are they really of any value?
Ask specific questions about when and how you are able to take vacation days. How many days in a row are you able to take off? How much advance notice do you need to give before taking days off? What happens if you don’t use all of your vacation days before the year ends?
2. Negotiate PTO
PTO, paid time off, is not the same as vacation days. Vacation days are for specific time off that allows you to take a break from work, whereas paid time off includes vacation as well as a number of other reasons you might need time off. PTO might include time off for illnesses, doctor’s appointments, children’s sick days, snow days, balance days, mental health days, etc.
When you are negotiating a new job, paid time off in addition to vacation days may be important to you, especially if you have children, sick family members, or other extenuating circumstances.
How to Negotiate PTO Days
Ask specific questions about what is and isn’t included in your paid time off. What is the office culture like around time off, and how flexible is it to take a day off should you become sick or have a family emergency? What is the policy around taking a day off, and what is required for making a time off request?
Ask if the company offers any other paid time off programs, such as balance days, mental health days, or parental leave.
3. Negotiate Health Benefits
Health benefits are a big piece of the puzzle when negotiating a new job. Research your options and learn what is typically offered in your industry. Negotiate benefits that are most important to you and your family, if that applies.
Prepare specific questions in advance about health benefits to negotiate. For example, what is covered? Do you need to pay for part of your healthcare plan? Do you have provider options, or is there only one insurance company used by your employer? Is dental included? Is your family included within your plan? Is travel insurance covered?
4. Negotiate Remote Work Arrangements
After a few years of being forced to work remotely due to the pandemic, many employees don’t want to go back to the old ways. How important is it to you that you are able to work from home either partially or completely? Do you have a strong preference about whether or not you work from home or are able to work remotely from anywhere in the world?
If remote work is important to you, ensure you make this a priority when you are negotiating a new job. Would you be willing to work for slightly less or significantly less if you didn’t have to go into the workplace? Consider all of the costs and benefits involved, including your own work-life balance, home office costs, and how much it would cost you to commute to work if you had to.
How to Negotiate Remote Work
When negotiating remote work, explain how working remotely can mutually benefit both you and your employer. By working from home, you will save time on your commute, you won’t need to take time off for bad weather or if your children are home from school, and you’ll be able to work in the ways you are most effective at your job. Your employer will also save money as they don’t need to pay for office space for you.
5. Negotiate Flexible Hours
Flexible hours may be extremely important to your lifestyle. Flexible hours are an invaluable benefit for people who have children or are caring for another loved one. They also give you freedom to design your workweek with more work-life balance.
The ability to work when you work best has an added benefit for both employees and employers, as you’ll be able to work at times that suit your working style. Let’s face it; some people are early risers and can get straight to work in the morning, while others don’t hit their stride until the evening or into the night—looking at you night owls. 🦉
Depending on your request and what the business allows, negotiating flexible hours can mean a number of different things. Some businesses will only allow an hour or two of flexibility, while others may offer you total freedom to work at the hours that best suit you, so long as you are able to complete all of your work.
If flexibility is something you value, ensure you lead with this as one of your top negotiating points. If you feel like you are being offered less than you deserve salary-wise, negotiating flexible hours may be a compromise that works for everyone.
6. Negotiate Fewer Hours
If work-life balance is a top priority for you, you may want to negotiate a shorter workweek. Negotiating fewer hours can be a mutually beneficial arrangement if you don’t mind taking a pay decrease or if the business only has a limited budget for the position.
A shorter workweek could mean only working four days a week instead of five. For example, you might have a schedule of Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday instead of the traditional five day workweek. Another option for reducing your hours might be to start an hour or two later each day or to end your workday earlier to be able to enjoy more of your evening.
💡 Learn more: The Benefits of Work-Life Balance and How to Maintain it.
7. Negotiate Technology
Remember there are technological services and items to negotiate in a job offer. What technology requirements do you have for completing your work? When negotiating a new position or promotion, you might want to consider asking for a company computer, phone, or paid service.
This might be for the devices themselves or a company plan that pays for services, such as cell service, data, or other subscriptions that would contribute to your work. If you already have a company phone or computer and are currently getting a promotion, this may be the time to negotiate a new one.
8. Negotiate a Car or Transportation
Do you have a long commute? Are transportation costs high? If transportation is eating into your budget, it might be something you want to negotiate with your employer.
Depending on your role, the driving demands of your job, and how far you need to commute to work, you may be able to negotiate a company car.
9. Negotiate a Wardrobe Allowance
If your job role requires you to be client facing, whether in person, at events, or running sessions digitally, you may be able to negotiate a wardrobe allowance.
Consider the needs of your role and what you currently have available to wear professionally. While this may sound like a small point to negotiate, if your role requires you to wear suits or fancy outfits and you don’t already have them, this could cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Ask what’s required of the role first to determine what you might need to negotiate.
10. Negotiate Relocation Moving Costs
Does your new job require you to relocate? If this is the case, negotiate relocation and moving costs. What will it cost you to relocate in terms of transportation cost, moving cost, and additional rent and housing costs?
If the job does not offer any compensation for relocation, carefully consider all of these costs and include them in your decision making, as they can add up quite quickly.
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