Are You Getting All Your Employee Benefits?

Publisher’s Note: This post appeared as our Labor Day 2023 story from Penny Wasem. It contains helpful information about employee benefits.

Labor Day, observed annually on the first Monday of September, is the celebration of the social and economic achievements of American Workers. According to the U. S. Department of Labor, the holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.

When the holiday was first proposed, it was suggested that the day should be observed with a street parade to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, and then followed by a festival for the workers and their families. Many now celebrate the day with parades and picnics, and feel it is the unofficial end of the summer.

Whatever you are doing to celebrate this Labor Day, take some time to review your paystub as well as the benefits offered by your employer, and make sure you are having your money work harder for you.

Employer-Sponsored Financial Benefits

Retirement Plans

Does your employer offer a 401k, or other retirement plan? Do they offer any matching? Very few are saving enough for retirement, and unless you work in the public sector, most companies do not offer defined benefit retirement plans. Make sure you are contributing to your defined contribution retirement plan, at least to the extent to receive the employer match. For example, if your company will match the first 3% of your contribution to a Simple plan, 401k or other deferred compensation plan, make sure you are making that 3% contribution. Otherwise, you are turning down free money.

FSA | HSA | HRA Plans

Does your employer offer a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA) or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)? These are pretax ways to save money for expenses. Not only are you saving money for expenses that you are likely to incur, but you are reducing your tax liability as well, which means more money in your pocket. While HSA money rolls over from year to year, FSA and HRA plans are use it or lose it, so only contribute amounts to these plans that you are likely to spend within the year.

Insurance Plans

Review your insurance benefits. Do you have vision or dental benefits? Make sure you are aware of what your plan offers and use these benefits. Most plans will cover your basic annual or bi-annual eye exam and semi-annual dental cleaning, but often these benefits are not being used. What other health benefits are offered? Keeping yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy will help you be more energized and productive, both at home and at work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, benefits amount to 29.5% of total compensation. Unused benefits amount to leaving nearly 30% of total compensation on the table, leaving employees unaware of the full value of their compensation package.

Take the Labor Day Quiz

Where was the first Labor Day parade?
a. Washington DC
b. Chicago
c. Philadelphia
d. New York City

Which state was the first to make Labor Day an official holiday?
a. Oregon
b. Hawaii
c. New York
d. Ohio

Labor Day marks the end of ________ season.
a. Hamburger
b. Pizza
c. Nacho
d. Hot Dog

Which President signed the bill making Labor Day a Federal holiday?
a. Grover Cleveland
b. Theodore Roosevelt
c. William McKinley
d. Benjamin Harrison

Name the first national labor federation in the U.S.?
a. United Steel Workers
b. National Labor Union
c. Knights of Labor
d. American Federation of Labor


1. D  |  2. A  |  3. D | 4. A |  5. B

The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional for your specific situation.

Filed under: Dollars & Sense, Histories & Mysteries, Life, News
Profile photo of Penny Wasem, CPA, CFP, PFS, owner of Lifetime Financial Planning Solutions in Lancaster, Ohio.

By Penny Wasem, CPA, CFP, PFS

Penny L. Wasem is the owner of Lifetime Financial Planning Solutions, LLC. A summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University, Penny earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with focus in accounting and mathematics. She serves on the board of The Fairfield Medical Center Foundation, is a member of the Investment Committee of The Fairfield County Foundation and has been active on many non-profit boards in the community. Penny lives in Lancaster with her husband Eric Hubbard and is parent to Clark and Olivia Hubbard.