Life After Pitt: Benefits

Congratulations on securing a job!  It’s important to consider not just your new salary, but all of the benefits offered with your new job.  Let’s look at some of the standard benefits you will need to make decisions about.

Time Off: Vacation Days; Sick Days; Paid Time Off (PTO).  First, you’ll need to find out if your job comes with separate vacation and sick time off or if it lumps those together into Paid Time Off (PTO).  With vacation and sick time separate you’ll choose which type to use based on the circumstances.  With Paid Time Off, it doesn’t matter if it is for a vacation or because you are sick, it all counts the same.  You also want to confirm which Federal holidays you receive and any holiday days you might receive.

Health Insurance: This is a broad area that can include dental coverage, vision coverage, and overall medical coverage.  You will be probably be faced with at least a few options that vary in terms of monthly costs and coverage amounts.  You can pay less per month with the idea that if you need medical coverage you will pay more out of pocket at that time.  Or you can choose to pay more per month for reduced out of pocket responsibility.  Take some time to consider all of the plan options and solicit help from family members, mentors, and friends for assistance.

Life Insurance: Your new employer might offer a life insurance policy automatically or you may have the ability to add it to your benefits and pay separately for it.  You may not be thinking much about life insurance at this stage of your life, but it’s important to see what is offered and how much plans might cost you.

Retirement Plans:  You’ll need to know how your new employer contributes to your retirement plans.  There are many different forms this can take from a traditional pension that pays you a monthly income when you retire to an employer matching retirement account where your employer contributes to a retirement fund that you spend once you are retired. 

Spending Accounts: Medical, Daycare, Parking, etc.  If you have regular spending on any of these areas it can save you money by having a spending account.  These accounts draw a specified amount from your pay before taxes so you save the tax deduction.  However, you are strictly limited to spending on that particular area, such as daycare or medical expenses.

Relocation Assistance: Your new employer might offer assistance for your moving/relocation expenses.  This might be a lump sum that you can use however you want, or it might be reimbursement for moving expenses.

Get Help!

Most often all of these benefits will be managed by the Human Resources department.  There are experts in Human Resources whose job is to help you navigate and utilize these benefits.  Email them, call them, schedule meetings with them and be sure to get help.

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By Ryan Sweeny
Ryan Sweeny Associate Director