実践ビジネス英語 2018/12/28
28 金 Lesson18 Office Perks (6)

Our current vignette talks about the various office perks that companies are using to attract top talent.
Two of the benefits appear quite progressive, helping employees pay for costly IVF and other assisted-reproduction treatments, and offering pet insurance to cover the soaring costs of vet care. Now what kind of perks would entice you to join a company, Heather?

Let’s see. Full-service onsite spa, in-house movie theater. Just kidding. Ah, let’s see. I would love an in-house gym. Forgive me if that too is in the realm of fantasy. But wouldn’t it be great if a company had a facility onsite where employees could get in some time on a treadmill or lift weights? Or maybe take an exercise class. Even if it was just one room. It would be like the in-house clinic at my company which lets the employees access medical services quickly and easily. How does the office perk situation in the United States compare with that in Japan?

In the U.S., benefits like stock ownership plans, gym memberships and flexible scheduling, including remote work setups, are probably more prevalent than in Japan. Student loan assistance and education reimbursement are most
welcomed by employees, as student loan balances have reached epidemic proportions.

Oh yes, I would have liked that. I didn’t have nearly as much debt when I graduated as many people do now, only about $10,000, but even so, it would have been nice not to have to repay it.

Transportation allowances, on the other hand, are a standard benefit with Japanese companies, but they don’t seem that prevalent in America. Japanese companies are ahead of U.S. companies when it comes to parental leave benefits, but American companies are vying to offer better packages, regardless of gender and beyond what’s legally required, to attract and retain top-level employees.

I’m glad to hear that U.S. companies are stepping up in that regard. In the past, American friends of mine have been shocked and envious to hear how long Japanese employees can take off from work for childbirth and childrearing. And with partial pay no less. likewise, I wish longer hospital stays with the norm for American mothers after they give birth. I needed every bit of the rest and care I got after giving birth at a Tokyo hospital. And I was still exhausted and sore when I did go home after five days. I couldn’t imagine leaving the hospital after only one or two.

Now what other perks would you like to have?

Flexible scheduling and unlimited holidays would be a pretty powerful draw. Some people might think that unrestrained vacation time would be subject to a lot of abuse.
But I doubt it. Employees would realize that they can’t go hog wild with that sort of thing. They can’t disappear for a week or two every month, for example. Not only would it get them a bad reputation. They’d never get the work done.
But it would be great to know that you didn’t have to worry about getting time off for an emergency because you’d already used it up when you’re on summer vacation. Or that you could take a small break if you found yourself really
worn out. Maybe take a three-or-four-day trip once in a while to recharge your batteries. And for working parents, flexible scheduling would be a godsend.




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