In 2022, flexible benefits are an asset for companies to hire and retain top employees. After all, attracting and retaining talent is not an easy task these days.

There are several ways to compensate employees. And there are components that are increasingly valued by people. Thus, it is crucial to know what can be offered in addition to the salary. While it is clear to everyone what food allowance and health insurance are, there are components of compensation beyond salary that are not so clear. And that's what we're going to talk about here.

What are flexible benefits?

Flexible benefits are nothing more, nothing less, than compensation in addition to the salary that companies make available to their employees.

In essence, we are talking about complements to the employees' salary package. These complements provide more liquidity to employees and can contribute to improving their quality of life. And for the company, many of these benefits have a reduced impact in what comes to finances.

Employees can access certain services and products through flexible benefits in a more financially efficient way than accessing them on their own. Within this universe are, for example, insurances. Companies can provide their employees with better insurance coverage and at lower costs than when privately negotiated. Health insurance and life insurance are two of the benefits you can give your employees, and they are usually highly valued.

But there are other benefits, as we'll see later. ‍

Why are flexible benefits an asset when retaining talent?

We live in a job market where employees are highly qualified. Therefore, in some professional areas, it is normal for employees to have more options and constantly look for better working conditions. But when companies offer identical pay, flexible benefits can captivate employees. And the more diversified the offer, the more likely flexible benefits are to be a deciding factor between two job opportunities.

Currently it is possible to offer a salary package where the base salary is lower but, in the end, the actual remuneration is higher.

In addition to this type of salary components, there are other ways to attract talent. There are candidates who prefer to manage their schedule and have more days off, others who prefer to have a cell phone and a company computer. Solutions can be endless.

The different types of flexible benefits

Benefits applied to work and rest days 

There is a false idea that flexible benefits always have a monetary value. In fact, people are giving more and more importance to benefits that allow them to better manage their time.

For companies, this type of compensation requires good human resource management. In addition, they have to implement systems that allow employees to carry out their tasks outside the office (remotely).

In this field, companies can give employees:

● Flexible working hours

● Additional vacation days

● Rest days on specific dates, such as birthdays, holiday eves, etc.

● Possibility of remote work


A few years ago, few companies in Portugal offered health insurance to their employees. However, this is a reality that has been changing. Health insurance is one of the most appreciated flexible benefits, and it is decisive in a candidate's decision to accept a job offer. After all, having the possibility to use the private health system in Portugal is a great advantage. And as private health insurance is of significant value, employees highly value this flexible benefit.

Of course this is a high expense for companies. But, as the contracts with insurers encompass multiple beneficiaries, the cost per insurance policy per employee drops considerably.

If you still feel that this option is out of your budget, you can and should check the difference between a health insurance and a health plan. After all, a health plan may suit your company's benefits strategy better.

Within the insurance area, there is also the possibility of providing employees with life insurance. With a lower cost for companies, this type of insurance is also highly valued. ‍

Meal allowance

Often seen as a given benefit, although companies are not legally obliged to grant it, the meal allowance is a pillar in what comes to complementing the salary of employees.

When paid in cash, the meal allowance is tax free (PIT and Social Security) as long as it does not exceed €5.20 per day. But the scenario is more attractive when it is made available in a meal card. After all, in this case, the maximum tax-free amount is €8.32 per day.

Childcare voucher and education expenses

Another option is to assign an amount for employees to pay for their children's day care, in case they have children up to seven years old (excluding) - the so-called childcare voucher. This amount is an important financial aid for employees and does not represent an extra cost for companies.

If the goal is to help employees reduce their children's school fees, there are two types of flexible benefits that they can grant: the childcare voucher, as mentioned above, and education expenses, for employees who have children aged seven years old or older.

Professional training

Another possibility is to offer employees a way to improve their professional training. This category is considered a professional expense and has a high potential for the satisfaction of all those involved: that of the employees, who improve their knowledge and have a boost in their motivation, and that of the company, for whom the personal and professional development of employees is a clear win.


With technological advances come the constant updates in tech products that improve professional performance. For this reason, companies can choose to make technology available, such as mobile phones and computers, and other expenses that also make sense in the professional activity.


If the company's culture is to encourage employees to save, it is also possible to define an amount for employees to invest in Retirement Savings Plans. This is a benefit that translates into an investment in a product, where employees can monetise their savings.


The examples mentioned above represent some of the flexible benefits you can give your employees. There are others, such as the transport card or health and well-being expenses.

There are many possibilities in what comes to the flexible benefits companies can offer employees. The important thing is that you know that there are other ways of attracting talent and that it is not only possible, but likely, that each candidate or employee will favour different options, because many of those depend on the moment they are at in their lives.