Better yet, a prospective employer might throw in stock options, a pension or matching contributions to a 401(k) plan. One response from the employee could be, "Great! Thank you so much!" Another (and better) response could be: "Thank you. Can I please obtain copies of those benefit plans so I can evaluate your offer?"
All plans are not the same. The devil is in the details. Questions need to be asked and answered. For example:
--"What would be my contribution be to the health insurance expense?"
--"Is there a family plan for the health insurance?"
--"Does the company contribute anything toward the cost of my dependents' health insurance?"
--"What is the annual deductible for the health insurance and what will my copays be?"
--"When will my health insurance start?"
--"Can I please review a benefits booklet?"
The answers to these and other questions could make a significant financial difference and, of course would be a factor if you are choosing between two or more jobs.
Even with simple benefits such as vacation, sick days, or Paid Time Off, the language in the policy may determine if time not used is paid at the time the employee leaves the company. Commission and bonus plans can be the trickiest of the benefits, since a simple phrase in the descriptions of these plans can determine if you must work through a certain time in order to be paid the commission and/or bonus you believe you have earned.
It is important to know how much you can contribute to your 401(k) plan and what, if anything, the company matches. If stock options are offered, you should read up on the company's stock options plan to know what you are getting and what it may cost. You also will want to figure out when the stock options vest (when you actually become the owner, since there usually is a set amount of time in years before you can do anything with the options).
Most benefits are described with details in a written plan. Ask your potential employer for copies and keep the copies at home in your compensation file. The terms in the plan may surprise you. But if you know in advance what you are or are not getting, you can best evaluate your job offer. You should have a plan document or policy for every benefit you are offered. In this instance, getting to know your benefits may mean dollars in the bank.