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Learn2 Choose Employee Benefits (continued)
Step 3: Cover the basics

For most workers, health insurance and paid time off (sick days, vacation days, and holidays) are by far the most important benefits they receive. They're also the most popular benefits provided by employers in the U.S. Keep in mind that full-time employees--especially those in professional positions--will think twice about taking a job that doesn't address these bottom-line concerns.

Health insurance. Health plans are expensive and take significant research to select and administer, but they do help keep your employees healthy--which is good for both of you. If costs seem enormous, remember that corporations get tax deductions for group health plans. In addition, businesses can buy in bulk, which further reduces costs below what employees would pay on their own.

Paid time off. If your employees are working on a day when the rest of the world is at the beach, you can be sure they're not going to get much done. In other words, don't think of paid time off as a zero-sum game. Giving your employees time off may actually increase their productivity in the end. The amount of paid time off a worker receives generally depends on length of service. In the U.S., recent hires commonly get an average of eight to ten vacation days per year (not counting holidays or sick time). Employees with up to ten years of service tend to average 14 days. In addition, employees get an average of nine paid company holidays per year.

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Step 1: Assess the competition
Step 2: Provide the legal minimum
Step 3: Cover the basics
Step 4: Consider a more complete plan
Step 5: Check out inexpensive extras
Step 6: Shop around for the best options