When you wrote about asking for a raise, you mentioned asking for benefits instead of a salary increase. Can you talk more about that? I don’t even know where to begin or what to ask for instead of money.
Thank you, Miranda
Many employers are willing to negotiate benefits as well as or in place of salary. In a down economy, it is probably easier to negotiate perks instead of cash. Here are some of the things I have negotiated for when a bump in salary wasn’t an option.
Mobile Plan. If your employer issues you a mobile phone, you may be able to convince your boss to let you use that phone as your personal cell. This can save you $1,200 or more per year. However, if you choose to go this route, you will need to treat the phone as your employer’s property and be cognizant of what apps your download and how you use it.
Flexible Scheduling or Telecommuting. A friend, who works on the Hill as an LA, negotiated a certain number of working days in the district every year. It benefits her because she is able to see her family on her trips, and it benefits her boss because she is able to meet with constituents who are not able to travel to D.C. and see the state of things on the ground.
I know other women who have negotiated work-from-home days where they can telecommute. And I’ve heard of women negotiating different hours for themselves, so instead of working 9-to-6, they work 10-to-7 or 8-to-4.
Educational Costs. Many employers offer money to help cover your student loan payment. If you work on the Hill or for the government, student loan reimbursement is available to you, though there are caps on how much you can receive.
If you would like to go back to school, some employers are willing to pay part or all of your tuition in exchange for an extended work contract. A friend who works at a trade association received 50-percent of her legal education costs in exchange for five years of work (including the four years she was going to school part-time). You can also negotiate for classes to help improve your writing, learn how to use a new technology or build other skills.
Vacation Days. For me, having an extra week of paid vacation each year is worth its weight in gold. Many of my friends have negotiated to have as much as 20 days a year of vacation.
One of my neighbors negotiated a week off at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Labor Day in addition to five flexible days. She had worked for her company for 11 years as an executive assistant to one of the senior partners. The lesson? Make yourself indispensable.
Does anyone else have examples of non-salary compensation that can be negotiated? Perhaps your industry has something specific, for example an attorney negotiating a year-end bonus. Leave your thoughts in the comments.