Expats can cash in on some exotic benefits

By Financial News
Expats can cash in on some exotic benefits

Expats thinking of employee benefits generally look at health care, retirement plans and the cost of housing, but in some countries, they are missing a trick because local traditions can cover some exotic claims.

Some of the more esoteric and more unlikely add-ons came to light when consulting firm Mercers compiled a Worldwide Benefit and Employment Guidelines for 2012.

One of the biggest incentives for employees in Hungary is the MKB SZEP voucher card that cuts the cost of hotels, dining out and leisure. At 300,000 Hungarian Forints (€1,100 or US$1,360), the card is a valuable benefit – but is taxable.

A top benefit in Nigeria is a home generator, including maintenance costs, to make up for problems with the country’s intermittent electricity supply.

A long goodbye for faithful servants

Long service awards in Australia are often long leaves of absence that can add up to 13 weeks off on full pay after 15 year’s service. The long goodbye does not stop there – every extra five years in the job tots up to another extra four weeks off.

Apparently, some big British companies are offering staff ‘botox time’ for cosmetic surgery and beauty procedures.

In China, newlyweds get three days off  to celebrate getting hitched, but some more generous employers offer extra days off for ‘mature’ couples, which generally means being over 25 for men and 23 for women.

If someone works for a French company for two years, they can take an unpaid year off to start their own business. Should the new enterprise fail, the employee is entitled to go back to their old job at the same salary as when they left.

Days off keep on coming

When most parents find work a haven from children, the Greeks do things differently. Widows and single parents can take an extra six days of paid leave a year if they have children under 12, and for mums or dads with three or more children, the entitlement rises to eight days.

Portugal is one of the best countries to live in for public holidays and extra leave.

The country has 14 public holidays and employees can claim a block of 15 consecutive days if they get married. Those caring for sick relatives can take 15 days off paid – and if the needy are children or grandparents the entitlement is 30 days paid leave.

Sweden grants extra paid leave to workers on their 50th birthday, their wedding and appointments with a doctor.

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