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Best employee perks

By Candace Corner
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( -- When you're on the lookout the next career move, a lot of factors play into deciding which job could be the right fit for you. In addition to being something you love, you probably wouldn't mind a generous salary, flexible hours and a few more perks.

Although salary is one of the biggest issues for job seekers, it can pay to take a closer look at the perks many companies are offering. Once considered an exclusive benefit for upper-level management and senior positions, perks are now spread across all levels of employment, from CEOs to fast food workers.

In this post-9/11, post-Katrina economy, companies are looking to find new ways to recruit workers and keep existing employees happy and productive, even if they can't afford to give them a raise.

According to the 2006 Benefit Survey Report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), here are the top benefits based on employee levels:

Executive-level employees

  • Cellular phones: 84 percent
  • Relocation expenses: 71 percent
  • Supplemental life insurance: 68 percent
  • Middle-management employees

  • Cellular phones: 67 percent
  • Supplemental life insurance: 61 percent
  • Relocation expenses: 55 percent
  • Non-management employees

  • Supplemental life insurance: 58 percent
  • Supplemental long-term disability insurance: 42 percent
  • Supplemental medial insurance or reimbursement: 29 percent
  • The list of job perks isn't limited to these examples. Incentives that were unheard of in the '90s workforce are now standard at some companies, who are extending benefits beyond healthcare and retirement plans. The inclusion of on-site services such as manicures, laundry and daycare are enabling employees to cut their errands in half. Massage chairs, yoga classes and even napping have been encouraged to cut back the daily errands and reduce workers' stress levels.

    According to a survey by the Massage Therapy Journal, more than half of the companies that offer massages have added the benefit in the last five years. A company named MetroNaps has taken on-the-job dozing to a futuristic form with pods that, while currently are limited to a space in the Empire State Building and on-site leased locations, enable a place to crash at work without requiring employees to be hunched over their desks or holed up in their cars.

    With all of the advantages out there, job seekers should be aware of the perks that could best improve their lifestyles. Here are just a few of the great perks out there and some of the companies that offer them:

    Tuition reimbursement: Gap Inc., Verizon Wireless; Northrop Grumman

    Fully paid luxury retreats for all employees: Homestead Technologies, Inc.

    On-site daycare: AFLAC; Memorial Health; Bright Horizons; Quad Graphics; Walgreens

    On-site fitness center: CA, Inc.

    On-site massage: People's Bank

    Dependent care reimbursement: Black & Decker

    Reimbursement for buying a hybrid: Bank of America Corporation; Timberland

    Sleep breaks at work: Kaye/Bassman; Le Gourmet Gift Basket

    On-site concierge service for everyday errands: Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital

    On-site cafeteria with discounts on the healthier choices: The Regence Group

    Paid rent/mortgage for one year tax free (to one lucky employee as a bonus):

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