Money Isn’t Everything – Negotiation Trainers Share Contract Advice Beyond Just Salary

Anyone who has just won a new contract – whether it be a job offer or a fresh promotion – has dealt with the excitement of the new opportunity mingled with the subsequent nervousness and confusion of negotiating the terms of the contract. These jobseekers are often so focused on negotiating salary that they forget to analyze the rest of their benefits package, from paid time off (PTO) to health club stipends. With a contract negotiation training in their back pocket, employees can leverage their talents to receive benefits that extend beyond just a good salary figure. Use the following benefits as inspiration for your ideal compensation package while developing your own negotiation strategy.

Flex Time

Asking to work a schedule different than your 9-5 colleagues isn’t unheard of nor totally out of the ordinary. Flex time isn’t about working fewer hours than your colleagues; rather, it’s about developing a schedule that is optimal for both your work and your life. You know yourself and your work habits better than anyone. If you know you work more productively at 7 A.M. before your colleagues get in, there’s likely no rational reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to get out the door by 3 P.M. In this case, the negotiation tactic is to prove to your employer why flex time would make you a better, more productive employee for the company.

Additional Vacation

One negotiation strategy for getting more out of your contract’s benefits is establishing early on how much you value your own personal time. State your need for a robust PTO (Paid Time Off) package in order to achieve your desired work-life balance. While finance departments can hamstring hiring teams with tight, inflexible salary bands, there are often less restrictions of vacation or paid-time-off policies. If you don’t feel the salary number offered suitably compensates you for your time, simply ask for time back instead. It’s hard for an employer to argue that an extra few days of holiday time would hurt their business more than it would help to have a relaxed, happy employee.

Comp Time

Many occupations require employees to work “busy seasons,” while work slows down during other times of the year. If you anticipate that for weeks or months of the year, your job or contract will demand working heavy overtime hours, negotiate “comp time,” which stands for “compensated time.” This is the time you get back in the form of PTO in exchange for extra hours worked. With the hours you accrue, you can cash in your overtime as a much-needed vacation to recharge once the heavy workload has slowed down.

Family Leave

The US continues to be one of the few countries that do not federally mandate paid maternity leave. However, that doesn’t mean your employer won’t take your family’s needs into consideration. If you plan on starting or growing your family, make sure you are clear about your expectations for both maternity AND paternity leave. Family leave can even extend to caring for relatives during a period of transition, such as an elderly parent or grandparent. Similar to vacation and flex time, negotiating these leave privileges involves establishing how security in these areas of your life will render you a better employee.

Commuting and Travel Compensation

Traveling to and from work can significantly eat into your wages, especially if you live outside the city where your office is located. If you don’t have an option to work remotely for some or part of the work week, try to negotiate compensation for commuting expenses. Successful negotiations have even resulted in employees being compensated for the purchase of a bike in lieu of commuting compensation. Even if your employer cannot compensate you directly, corporations are sometimes permitted to work out special rates with municipal commuting authorities that can then be extended to their employees.

In addition to daily commutes, if your job requires a lot of travel as a part of your work, train yourself to ensure that your negotiated contract clearly outlines how you will be compensated not only for plane tickets and hotels but also for gas usage and mileage put on any personal vehicles.

Training and Professional Development

If you are scoring promotions and job offers, you are clearly already finding success in your job. However, it is important to look at your own long-term career development and the professional skills you want to learn throughout your lifetime. If you can make the argument that learning a skill, taking a course, or getting a degree will benefit your employer as much as it will your career, you can often ask for sponsorship from your company. Maybe your employer will even sign you up for a sales or contract negotiation class, which you can put to use when looking for your next promotion!

Health Club Benefits

Numerous studies are now linking employee health with productivity and job satisfaction. Healthier employees require less sick less often, and also feel more energetic and content, thus allowing them to produce their best work. Ask your employer for reimbursement or stipends for joining a gym or participating in wellness events. Additionally, suggest to your employer that they sponsor health and wellness team events, like a team yoga retreat.

There are infinite details you can negotiate in your contract beyond the typical salary package. No matter where you are in your career, you can benefit from applying keen negotiation tactics to your contract negotiation. Not only will a successful contract negotiation result in more benefits and compensations for you as an employee, but it will also earn you respect and prestige from your employer – after all, if an employer has already extended you an offer or promotion, it means they value your talent, experience, and contribution.


Specialists in the corporate business negotiation market, The Negotiation Experts offer instructive advice on their site via articles, Q&A’s, book reviews, case studies, and negotiating definitions.