Employee benefits and (especially in British English) benefits in kind (also called fringe benefits, perquisites, or perks) include various types of non-wage compensation provided to employees in addition to their normal wages or salaries. In instances where an employee exchanges (cash) wages for some other form of benefit is generally referred to as a ‘salary packaging’ or ‘salary exchange’ arrangement. In most countries, most kinds of employee benefits are taxable to at least some degree.
Examples of these benefits include: housing (employer-provided or employer-paid) furnished or not, with or without free utilities; group insurance (health, dental, life etc.); disability income protection; retirement benefits; daycare; tuition reimbursement; sick leave; vacation (paid and non-paid); social security; profit sharing; employer student loan contributions; conveyance; domestic help (servants); and other specialized benefits.
The purpose of employee benefits is to increase the economic security of staff members, and in doing so, improve worker retention across the organization. As such, it is one component of reward management.
The term perks is often used colloquially to refer to those benefits of a more discretionary nature. Often, perks are given to employees who are doing notably well and/or have seniority. Common perks are take-home vehicles, hotel stays, free refreshments, leisure activities on work time (golf, etc.), stationery, allowances for lunch, and—when multiple choices exist—first choice of such things as job assignments and vacation scheduling. They may also be given first chance at job promotions when vacancies exist.