Negotiating employment benefits: Don’t be afraid to ask
Emma Oliver, an Associate in our employment team, looks at how best to negotiate employment packages:
What’s up for negotiating?
Any benefit that an employee feels would improve their work capabilities can be negotiated. This can range from travel concessions and commuter benefits to health and wellbeing perks, such as discounted gym passes.
Being able to work both inside and outside an office setting is important to many employees. In fact, employees requesting flexible working is a statutory right after 26 weeks of employment, which can include requesting a different working pattern to that already proposed or agreed. Employees should be encouraged to submit flexible working requests where they have considered the impact of their request on the business, and have suggestions of how to reduce any negative impact. Where the impact is positive for both the employee and the business, there is very little scope for an employer to refuse a request. Asking for mobile phones and laptops to help facilitate agile working is a great idea. Most employers would prefer to be asked about schemes such as flexible working, rather than have candidates reject an offer because he or she thought such options weren’t available.
Maternity pay is another statutory right (subject to certain eligibility criteria). All employers must offer Statutory Maternity Pay to those eligible, but more businesses now offer an enhanced package that allows for increased pay whilst away from work. Gaining clarity on the benefits available is vital, as once an employer knows what the prospective employee is seeking, they can work with her to ensure the benefits suit her and the business. Many employers offer ‘family friendly’ policies, which can include the ability to take unpaid leave where necessary.
The negotiation process can seem intimidating, but it is perfectly normal and largely expected by employers. As long as requests can be justified, they should be considered without issue.