What Are Fringe Benefits? All You Need To Know 2023

fringe benefits
Image by katemangostar on Freepik

Employers provide employees with fringe benefits, also known as optional benefits, as a complement to their regular compensation. Fringe benefits can be a powerful tool for attracting, recruiting, motivating, and retaining a high-quality workforce. They can be either taxable or nontaxable. This article will go through fringe benefits, including instances and benefits.

What are Fringe Benefits?

Fringe benefits are additional benefits provided to an employee in addition to their base compensation for performing a specific activity. Some fringe benefits, such as social security and health insurance, are mandated by law, but others are supplied freely by the employer.

Free breakfast and lunch, gym membership, employee stock options, transportation benefits, retirement planning services, childcare, education help, and so on are examples of optional fringe benefits.

One of the benefits of fringe benefits is that they are tax-free for the employer if certain conditions are met. Beneficiaries of fringe benefits, on the other hand, are compelled to include the fair value of the benefits in their annual taxable income.

In most cases, the employer is the one who provides fringe benefits, even if the actual provider is a third party. This is due to the fact that the employer is the one who pays for the benefit supplied to the employee. Similarly, even if the benefit is extended to other family members, the employee is usually the recipient.

Making Sense of Fringe Benefits Tax in the United Kingdom

Taxes might be perplexing, but they don’t have to be with the correct help. To put it simply, fringe benefits are taxable. An employer will deduct the applicable tax from an employee’s wage via PAYE (Pay As You Earn).

The price you pay (as an employee) is frequently determined by the value of such perks and fringe benefits or the expense of delivering them. They may, however, be free from taxation in certain circumstances.

We recommend speaking with your HR department for a complete breakdown of the taxes on any perks and fringe benefits you receive as an employee.

How Fringe Benefits Work

The numerous fringe benefits provided to employees differ from one company to the next, because the employer can determine which benefits will be granted to employees during a certain period. During the recruitment process, employees are given the opportunity to select the fringe benefits that they are interested in.

Whether it is a company automobile, an employer-paid gym membership, or financial support, the employee is free to choose the solutions that provide the most comfort in their current position in the firm. Employee discounts, gifts, and no-additional-cost services may also be provided by retail employers.

Although the purpose of offering employee fringe benefits is to assure their comfort at work, it also helps the company stand out to future employees. Employers in highly competitive markets may find it difficult to retain top personnel based just on salary. Fringe benefits are supplemental compensation.

Providing staff with distinctive fringe benefits helps the organisation distinguish out from the competition. It increases the likelihood of attracting high-value and bright personnel from schools or competitive organisations.

Types of Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits are classified into two types. Some benefits are mandated by law, while others are supplied at the discretion of the employer.

#1. Fringe benefits required by law

The mandated fringe benefits are meant to give employees with medical care, alleviate economic burdens if they lose their jobs, and provide them with retirement income to maintain them throughout retirement. Some of the mandatory fringe benefits that employers must provide are as follows:

Health coverage

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes this fringe benefit. It mandates employers with more than 50 employees to furnish healthcare plans, and employees must have health insurance coverage. The health insurance policies cover visits to general care physicians, specialists, and emergency rooms.

Unemployment insurance

Employers are required by the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) to pay a federal and state unemployment tax to the Department of Labour, which provides wages, training, and career assistance to employees who become jobless through no fault of their own. Such benefits are intended to give temporary monetary support to unemployed persons who meet the act’s standards.

Medical leave

Businesses with more than 50 employees are obligated by law to provide family and medical leave to employees who have been with the company for more than a year. Medical leave is unpaid, but it is protected, and it can last up to 12 weeks.

Worker’s compensation

The Department of Labour administers the worker’s compensation benefit to federal employees who are injured on the job or contract an occupational disease. Medical treatment, wage replacement benefits, rehabilitation, and other benefits are provided to employees. Compensation requirements differ by state, therefore injured workers should contact their state’s worker’s compensation board.

#2. Fringe benefits not required by law

The following benefits are supplied at the discretion of the employer. Most of these benefits are taxable on the employer’s side, with a few exceptions. These are some examples of fringe benefits:

  • Stock options
  • Disability insurance
  • Paid holidays
  • Education reduction
  • Retirement planning services
  • Life insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Commuter benefits
  • Achievement awards
  • Fitness training
  • Employee discounts
  • Meal plans

Why Employers Offer Fringe Benefits

Employers invest in fringe benefit programmes for a variety of reasons, including:

#1. Talent Acquisition

Employees will frequently provide distinctive fringe benefits to attract specific categories of new candidates. Consider more technologically advanced companies. They are more likely to supply iPads, business laptops, or mobile phones to staff. A fitness company, on the other hand, is likely to offer gym memberships or clothing discounts.

#2. Retention

Employees increasingly anticipate a wide choice of benefits that match their evolving requirements and lifestyles, in addition to standard healthcare plans and pensions. Meeting these expectations will allow firms to differentiate themselves in a competitive talent market.

#3. Improved employee experience

One of the primary reasons you should consider fringe benefits as an employer is that they can help improve your employees’ working experience. Some of the most prevalent sources of stress among employees, such as health care and financial security, have been shown to be alleviated by fringe benefits.

How Do Fringe Benefits Affect Taxes?

Yes, we know it’s… burdensome to talk about taxes all the time, but it has to be done. We’ll attempt to make it short and sweet. Since April 6, 2016, all employees (with a few exceptions) have been treated equally when it comes to the taxation of fringe benefits.

Employees are generally charged for the expense of providing the perk. In the United Kingdom, benefits are frequently taxed at the individual’s marginal tax rate. This tax is paid in addition to or instead of salary or wages.

Still perplexed? In general, your employers pay fringe benefits tax (FBT) for the benefits you receive as an employee in lieu of a salary or wage. In a sense, the employee does not pay the tax directly.

Pay As You Earn (PAYE) is a method by which your employer deducts the tax you owe from your wages. The amount you pay is determined by the type of benefits you receive and their monetary worth, which is determined by your employer. This tax is distinct from income tax and is based on the value of the fringe benefits supplied.

Certain fringe benefits may be tax-free provided certain conditions are met. These are favourable because they have no bearing on the employee’s pay.

How to Create a Fringe Benefits Package

Here are some components that contribute to a good benefits package and how to differentiate it.

#1. Make it count

Check that your company’s goals and benefits are in sync. You may accomplish this by examining your business plan on a frequent basis to ensure that it evolves in tandem with any changing rules or personnel requirements. Keep your benefits up to date and upgraded.

While the goal is to improve the employee experience, you also want to support your company’s priorities. Your firm can be transformed by effective reward management.

First and foremost, you should investigate employee behavior to determine what will (a) benefit them as individuals and (b) increase their productivity for the organisation. To accomplish this, ensure that you use genuine data and analytics to support your decision-making, and if you’re going to offer insurance or memberships as benefits, make sure they’re of high quality first!

#2. Think about local relevance

Be aware that there may be locational and cultural variations that must be adjusted, especially when dealing with firms with offices in multiple locations. For example, an office in the heart of the capital city will have distinct benefits than one in the middle of the countryside, five miles from public transport.

#3. Provide core security and increase employee choice

It should be highlighted that core security benefits are available to all employees. Health insurance, life insurance, and pensions, for example, are among the key benefits that provide employees with financial stability and should be offered to all.

After these necessities have been met, employees should be offered a variety of additional benefits from which to choose.

These options can be tailored to the employees’ career stage, caring responsibilities (as a parent or carer), personal aspirations (for example, educational training programmes such as e-learning or internal training days), or health or gym memberships for those who are more concerned with their health.

#4. Make sure your employees actually know about the benefits package

How can employees actually profit from fringe benefits if they are unaware of what they are receiving? Or how it benefits the company? Make sure you explain how the fringe benefits contribute to the company’s objectives. This will not only increase your employees’ enjoyment and comprehension of the benefits but will also assist them in determining how to use their benefits to their advantage.

Do Fringe Benefits Count as Income?

Fringe benefits are extra products or services that companies provide to their employees as a form of compensation. Some, like your income, are taxable. The amount of tax you pay is determined by the benefit and its monetary worth. Taxable fringe benefits include but are not limited to, company cars, lodging, and loans. We recommend connecting with your HR team to find out if your benefits are taxed.

How Do Fringe Benefits Motivate Employees?

Employees might be motivated in a variety of ways by fringe benefits. Well-being benefits, for example, could encourage your staff to take better care of themselves in order to stay happy and healthy. In another case, if an employee is given a working automobile, they can retain their personal car at home while on business visits. This is a really appealing perk for folks who have additional family members.

How Does this Benefit Affect my Business?

There are two basic reasons why firms value fringe benefits. For starters, they keep personnel motivated. Second, they aid in staff retention.

Can I Give my Employees a Discount on Products or Services?

Yes! Employers’ discounts are one of the most common fringe benefits they provide. This benefit allows employees to save money while enjoying high-quality items or services.

What Does Getting Fringe Benefits Mean?

Depending on the nature of your fringe benefits, you may not have to pay tax on them. Most childcare vouchers, canteen meals, and trivial benefits (worth less than £50 per employee) are not taxed fringe benefits. Many businesses use fringe to show appreciation for their employees’ accomplishments while also attracting more job seekers.


Employees can choose from a wide variety of fringe benefits. Employers must determine which ones they will use.

However, whatever form of fringe benefits you decide to introduce, keep in mind that they should benefit both your employees and your organisation.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *