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Learn2 Choose Employee Benefits (continued)
Step 4: Consider a more complete plan

If your business can afford the basics comfortably, it's time to move on to additional perks. This is when taking a close look at the people you will (or already) employ really comes into play. But again, it's ultimately up to you to decide what's important to you and what's right for your company. The following outlines some of your choices:

Life insurance. A relatively inexpensive option, employer-paid life insurance is especially important to older employees as well as those with children. This is one of the most popular "extras" employers offer.

Dental insurance. Only about one-third of America's workforce receives dental insurance, and the number is even smaller for small businesses. That said, group dental insurance is cheaper than individual plans, so it can be an appealing option.

Retirement plans. Workers, even young workers, are increasingly interested in retirement plans. And offering a plan based on employee contributions (like a 401K plan) could cost relatively little--unless you provide matching funds. However, you'll probably need advice from a lawyer and/or accountant about tax issues, and you'll need to budget some administrative time to select and administer a program.

Disability insurance (long- and/or short-term). If an employee is unable to work due to illness or absence, disability insurance pays a portion of their salary. Their condition doesn't have to be work-related (that's covered by workers' compensation insurance). In states where providing insurance isn't legally mandated, it's a relatively inexpensive way to give employees an added sense of security. On the other hand, only about one-fourth of all U.S. workers receive this benefit.

Day care and other family benefits. Only a tiny percentage of small businesses provide benefits regarding day care, adult dependants and spouses, but they are tax deductible. And since workers don't often expect this type of benefit, it could just set you apart.

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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