Employment Benefits Canada
employment benefits in Canada are one of the most overlooked
aspects of evaluating a job offer.
Sure a great salary is
where you main focus should be. But the benefits can add up to a hefty chunk of
change. So how do you go about evaluating what those benefit bucks are worth?
Depending on the industry and who you talk to the general
rule of thumb is that for $1 spent on wages there are from $1 to $3 spent by
employers for benefits. Since this will vary somewhat by occupation this page
will give you an approximate idea of the value of the typical employment
benefit package in Canada. I will assume a wage of $20 per hour for the purposes
of this illustration. All dollar amounts are CAD or Canadain.
Lets start with
everyone's favorite benefit; vacation accrual. The average employer will give
you approximately two weeks of paid vacation. if you earn $20 CAD per hour that
means you will earn approximately $1600. Obviously, if you work in a job where
the ability to earn more vacation time, then the value goes up. If you earn 4
weeks of vacation then the value of the benefit becomes $3200. 2098
Most employers will grant you
sick time for the occasional flu, sick child and other short lived health
crisis. If you are granted one week of sick time each year then you will have
the potential to earn approximately $800 in value. Of course, not every one will
use the whole week.
In Canada if you are
an employee who is unable to work due to illness you
are covered by Employment Insurance benefits. While the government
administers this program it is available to workers who qualify by having at
least 600 hours of employment during a calendar year. The amount of
time you can be out sick is up to 15 weeks. The maximum you can be paid is
$468 per week or 55% of your income. Based on earning $20 per hour your maximum
sick benefit would be $440 per week. Employers contribute to this as
part of an insurance pool or can 'self insure" to a greater or lesser extent.
They can exceed the minimum benefit amount and duration but cannot pay less than
the government mandated amount. UI benefits also include time off for pregnancy,
maternity and care giving of a child or dependent adult such as your parents.
I am calculating an
average benefit of $800 per year for this.
In Canada basic health
care is provided to all residents of Canada. What is not covered is
pharmacy, dental, vision and some cosmetic surgeries. Private rooms in the
hospital or faster access to the doctor can also be covered by supplemental
insurance. Employers in Canada may provide this supplemental health
insurance. There is no absolute standard for what employers pay for this
benefit. The national average cost for medical premiums paid for by employers is
approximately $250 CAD per month. If you have an employer willing to spend the
money this benefit is worth up to $3000 regardless of your hourly wage.
One overlooked benefit is
education dollars. Many employers will pay for you to keep up with current
happenings in your profession and to improve your knowledge. Of course,
healthcare workers are required to know and maintain proficiency in CPR and
advanced life saving techniques. Some examples of things paid for can include;
travel expenses, books, fees and tuition and paid time while attending the
class. Estimated value is $800-$1500 annually. Be wary of employers who
don't pay for continued education and ongoing certification. That's an
extra $800 to $1500 per year you will be paying for out of your own pocket.
IIn Canada the average
number of publicly paid holidays is 11. This adds up to approximately 88 paid
hours per year for a benefit of $1760 extra per year. Of course, many healthcare
workers wind up working the holidays for an additional premium of being paid
time and one-half for working the holiday. For some that's not considered an
employment benefit and for others it is.
There are generally two types of retirement plans. One is
the old style plan where you contribute nothing and the company puts in the
money every month to a pension plan. This is called a defined benefit plan.
only about 40% of all employers offer a defined pension plan. The majority of
these are large corporations and government employers. The more common
retirement plan offered is the 401K. These are called defined
contribution plans. In Canada an employee can contribute up to 18% of
thier base salary to a 401K. Over 80% of all employers offer a
matching amount. If you contribute they will match it up to a set amount.
the average is 5%. Based on a 5% matching contribution this benefit is
worth approximately $2080 per year.
Canada Pension Plan
Believe it or not this is an employment benefit in Canada. A percentage of your
salary is paid by the employer and you are assessed a percentage. This goes into
a fund similar to the U.S. Social Security system. Thegoal is to provide
you with approximately 25% of your average earnings during your working career.
There are some restrictions and the Canadain national average monthly CPP was
about $504 per month in 2010. In the U.S. an employer's share is about 6%
of the employees salary with the employer contributing approximately 6% .
In Canada based on available data the maximum amount an employer will pay is
about $3150 per year. Based on our hypothetical salary of $20 per hour it
is worth $2496 if the contribution is 6%.
Employment Benefits Canada Total Value
Assuming a conservative
estimate these benefits can add up to over $10,000 on the lower end and well
over $20,000 on the upper end of the scale. One popular benefit and wages
estimator site placed the median benefits at over $20,400 for a typical western
medium sized community for a registered nurse.
The next time you size up a
salary offer be sure to ask about the benefits too. Our Canadian examples
used here averaged over $13,200 to just under $15,000 CAD.