If you're still in the process of choosing benefits offered through your employer, be on the lookout for some new offerings that can help you save big bucks on expenses you may have been handling on your own for years.

Helder Almeida, ThinkStock

From pet insurance to protection against identity theft, voluntary benefits are becoming a more common option at workplaces in New Jersey and across the country.

"Benefits such as discounts on car or home insurance are far more common, and newer benefits such as group legal that provides access to legal services for home closings or speeding tickets," said Rich Fuerstenberg of human resources consulting firm Mercer in Princeton. "You would select it, and it's usually employee-pay-all, and you usually get immediate access and you just pay through a payroll reduction."

Among the more serious extras are coverage policies for accidents and critical illnesses. Designed to help ease the burden on employees who can't cover outrageous sudden costs, these plans generally provide a lump sum to the employee in the event of certain emergencies.

Fuerstenberg noted employers are also launching benefits that wouldn't be attached to one's annual enrollment ballot. They're improving parental leave measures, he said, and some are offering help with student loan repayment as an incentive to recruit workers.

"Certainly employers are recognizing they have a very diverse workforce to deal with, ranging from millennials all the way through baby boomers," Fuerstenberg said.

When choosing which extras to take on, Fuerstenberg said it's important to "read the fine print" and know what you'll get in return for what you're putting out each paycheck.

"Many of these benefits... are not terribly expensive, but in current times every penny in your paycheck helps, so look before you leap," he said.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

 

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