Have you asked your boss these 10 questions?

7 October 2022
4 minute read
Two women sitting and drinking coffee

Can your company help you study further or offer you a housing loan? These could be benefits your employer offers! Ask your boss these 10 questions today to find out what benefits you qualify for and how you can use them to boost your health and your wealth.

1. What benefits does my package include?

In addition to being paid a salary into your bank account, your employer may offer other financial benefits to help you save for retirement or manage and protect your wealth. These differ from employer to employer, so ask for all the details including:

  • Do I have group cover and what does it include? Group cover benefits can include life and funeral insurance, disability cover, income protection and dread disease cover.
  • Are contributions for UIF and Workmen’s Compensation paid and where can I get records if I need to claim?
  • Am I and/or the company contributing to retirement savings such as a pension fund, how much is being contributed and can I increase or decrease my contributions?
  • Do you have a medical aid I can join?

2. Do you have a wellness programme?

Wellness programmes help you manage your physical and mental health. Ask your employer about any available programmes including advice or counselling services.

3. Can you help me study further?

Many employers offer study loans, bursaries and internal training to help you further your career. You may even qualify for study leave! Courses should be relevant to your industry and position, so don’t expect your employer to pay for a cooking course if you are working in a bank!

4. Can I moonlight?

Fact: Budgets are stretched! To help make ends meet many people are starting side hustles, taking second jobs or starting their own small businesses. You should find out what the company policy is on moonlighting and where there could be potential conflicts of interest. Most employers are happy for employees to earn money on the side, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your job or compete with your company. For example, if you work for a debt counsellor your employer wouldn’t look favourably on you starting your own debt counselling business as a side hustle!

5. Do you offer any transport or housing benefits?

Both of these are getting more expensive. Some companies offer support such as company transport, travel allowances and company cars. There may also be housing loans or subsidies available to staff members.

Top tip: Remember to check how these will affect your income tax as they may be classified as fringe benefits and change your tax payable and take-home pay.

6. Can I work from home?

Working from home can cut transport costs and increase your productivity. Ask your boss if the company allows staff to work from home and what the policy is. For example, can you work from home all the time or only occasionally, and do they offer technical support and pay for your internet access or do you have to organise and pay for this yourself.

7. How do salary increases work and when can I get one?

Most companies regularly review and grant salary increases (budgets allowing). Ask when this is, for example annually on 1 March, and how increases are determined. If KPIs are used to determine increases, make sure you know what your KPIs are and how you can meet them. Also find out if ad-hoc salary  increases are granted such as at the end of a particular project or when you are promoted. Don’t forget to ask about bonuses as well, including when these can be granted and how they are determined!

8. What leave do I qualify for?

There are minimum leave requirements companies must offer according to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (21 consecutive days leave) but policies differ from company to company. Find out the following:

  • Annual leave: How much leave do you qualify for and when do you have to take it. Also check if outstanding leave (leave you haven’t taken) is paid out or forfeited and when.
  • Maternity leave: How long, and is it paid, part paid or unpaid.
  • Paternity leave: How long, and when can you take it.
  • Family responsibility leave: How long, and when can you take it.
  • Sabbatical leave: Is this available, how much and is it paid, part paid or unpaid.
  • Sick leave: How much sick leave do you qualify for, and what happens if you need more sick leave than you have available (for example is this paid, part paid or unpaid)

Also check what the requirements are for leave such as a note from a doctor for sick leave.

9. What is the disciplinary process and how does it work?

Find out, just in case, so you know what will happen if an incident occurs. Your company should have this documented and available. Also find out if they offer representation or if you need to organise your own representation for disciplinary matters.

10. Do you have any social activities I can join?

You may want to play in a corporate netball or soccer league, be part of a chess club or other social event or activity. These can be a great way to network, meet new colleagues, and look good on a CV! Plus, they are often a great outing for you and your family.

Bonus question: What happens if I am injured at work?

Accidents happen - even if you work a desk job! Ask your boss how you are covered and what procedure you must follow if you are injured at work. Remember to find out what happens if you are in a car accident if you drive a company car.

Make the most of what your employer offers

Many employers offer these and other great benefits. You work hard for your employer so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask about the perks available to you.

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