Work Smarter//

20 of the Best Job Perks and Benefits Millennials Have That Their Parents Didn’t

These benefits make it possible for employees of all ages to bring their whole selves to work.

SFIO CRACHO / Shutterstock
SFIO CRACHO / Shutterstock

The US unemployment hit 3.6% in October 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicating a promising time in the job market.

With increasing job selection, millennials on the hunt for employment have an opportunity to survey a company’s benefits when deciding between jobs, instead of accepting their first offer.

There are several workplace benefits that can set a company apart from its competitors that weren’t available 30 years ago.

Unpaid parental leave wasn’t required in the US until 1993. Today, mothers and fathers are being offered weeks and even months of paid leave to spend time with their newborns. “Fur-ternity” leave for new pet parents was probably never even considered decades ago. And with rising student loan debt, companies like PWC and IBM are helping employees repay their college debt.

Below are some of the best work perks millennials have today that their parents didn’t.

Breast milk shipping

Companies like Twitter, IBM, Zillow, and Goldman Sachs are providing reimbursements for new mothers to pump and ship their breast milk while at work.

‘Fur-ternity’ leave

Companies including Mparticle, BrewDog, and Nina Hale have introduced pet leave, or “fur-ternity leave,” to employees so new pet parents can work from home.

Some companies also allow bereavement time after losing a pet. Mars Petcare offers flexible working and says that can extend to “pawternity” as well as pet bereavement. VMware offers flexible days for pet bereavement, and its Palo Alto campus is dog-friendly.

Four-day workweeks

At some companies, the 40-hour workweek is a relic of the past. Microsoft, Shake Shack, Basecamp, Uniqlo, and Wildbit have all experimented with a shorter, four-day workweek, Lisa Eadicicco reported for Business Insider. 

Perpetual Guardian, A New Zealand company, experimented with a four-day workweek and reported employees were more productive and less stressed, according to Fast Company.

Treehouse, a technology education company, implemented a 32-hour workweek in 2006 and said employees became happier and more productive, according to The Atlantic.

Nap time

Companies including NASA, Samsung, Google, and Huffington Post have nap pods at work for sleeping breaks, Forbes reported in 2018. 

“It’s clear there’s a difference between generations,” Christopher Lindholst, CEO and cofounder of MetroNaps, told Forbes. “Millennials have a more flexible attitude to execution of responsibilities and are more open to ‘sleeping on the job’ facilities that boost performance than their predecessors.”

Student loan repayment programs

Companies like PWC, First Republic Bank, Penguin Random House, Peloton, Honeywell, and others are helping their employees pay off their student loans, according to Nitro, an online guide to paying for college. IBM offers free financial counseling and student loan consolidation and refinancing options.

A 2017 study by Oliver Wyman surveyed over 3,000 households with a bachelor’s degree or more and found 45% of employees say student loan repayment is the most desirable benefit offered by a company, placing it above retirement contributions and health insurance.

Reproductive egg freezing

Tech giants Apple, Uber, Alphabet, Yahoo, and Microsoft cover at least some of the cost for employees who choose to freeze their reproductive eggs.

Facebook first started to cover the cost of egg freezing in 2014 after a female employee with cancer told COO Sheryl Sandberg she couldn’t afford to freeze her eggs.  

Paid paternity leave

New fathers are finally receiving equal recognition for parental leave. Several companies have jumped on the paternity leave bandwagon in recent years, including DocuSign, now offering six months of paid leave for all caregivers, and Goldman Sachs offering five months. 

Other notable companies offering paternity leave are Twitter, IBM, EtsyNetflix, and Sweetgreen. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation foundation started offering parental leave lasting 12 to 52 weeks starting in 2015; but in 2019, the organization cut its offered leave in half and instead offered an additional $20,000 to employees.

Expanded parental programs, including money toward adoption

Estée Lauder began an expansion of its family-related benefit package in May 2018. The package includes 20 weeks of paid parental leave regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation. The program also allows parents who are trying to adopt to seek $10,000 toward the process.

Estée Lauder offers $20,000 for fertility treatments. It also offers in-home backup child care and elder care.

Paid gender reassignment surgery

Companies including IBM, Goldman Sachs, and Starbucks offer to cover employee gender reassignment surgery, a procedure that can cost more than $100,000. 

“The approach was driven not just by the company’s desire to provide truly inclusive coverage, and by powerful conversations with transgender partners about how those benefits would allow them to truly be who they are,” Starbucks vice president of benefits Ron Crawford said.

Free food

Major companies born in the age of the internet offer free food to employees at the office. Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Airbnb, and Google offers free meals and snacks throughout the day.

Paid and encouraged travel

It’s almost expected that a hospitality service like Airbnb would cover $2,000 a year in travel expenses for every employee, but other companies are encouraging exploration and travel as well.

Software-maker Qualtrics gives each employee $1,500 to spend on experiences every year.

Extended bereavement leave

In 2017 Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced Facebook’s paid bereavement leave program would extend time off up to 20 days to grieve the death of an immediate family member and up to 10 days for extended family members.

Fitness at work

Gym memberships in major cities don’t come cheap. So, companies offer opportunities for fitness and wellness at their offices. 

According to Glassdoor, Salesforce has a fitness center in its Salesforce Tower in San Francisco that offers workout classes along with massages and a nutritionist. Google’s Mountain View headquarters has fitness and wellness centers. 

Personal care on site

Trying to find a hair appointment that fits your schedule during a busy work week is nearly impossible. Tech company Genentech offers haircuts at the office. 

Free housing

Work benefits aren’t always exclusive to full-time employees. Facebook offers a housing or a monthly housing stipend to its interns.

College tuition reimbursement

Several companies offer to pay for schoolingStarbucks offers full reimbursement to employees who get an education through Arizona State University’s online program.

Remote work

Major companies allow employees to work remotely, a popular work perk among millennials. About 43% percent of Americans worked from home at least once in 2016, according to Gallup.

Business Insider’s Rachel Premack reported in 2018 that GitHub, Cisco, SAP, UnitedHealth Group, and Kaplan all offer remote positions. 

Game breaks

It can be hard to stay focused 40 hours (or more) per week.

For workers who benefit from a quick, fun break: Adobe’s Utah office has an indoor basketball court and rock wall, and AppDynamic’s San Francisco headquarters has shuffleboard, ping pong, foosball, and arcade games, according to Glassdoor.

Sleek office spaces

The 61st floor of Salesforce Tower in San Francisco has an observation deck with 360 degree views of the city and workspace for employees.

Some offices offer outdoor spaces: Facebook’s Seattle office has fire pits and an outdoor patio, while Gap’s San Francisco office has a terrace facing the Bay Bridge, according to Glassdoor.

Complimentary theme park visits

Employees of The Walt Disney company get complimentary admission to any of Disney’s theme parks, as long as they’ve worked at the company for two weeks.

Originally published on Business Insider.

More from Business Insider:

Stop trying to make your employees happy — fulfill them instead

American workers say jobs should do more to help them cope with mental health issues like depression and stress

I didn’t take maternity leave as a self-employed worker, and I regret it

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