History of non-wage benefits in Poland and in the world

Non-wage benefits are used by HR departments to build and support motivation and commitment. For employees, it is an addition to the basic salary, thanks to which they get even more from the employer, not necessarily in the financial form – often they are simply additional privileges, services and offers facilitating work or everyday life. Where are the non-wage benefits from?


History of benefits in the world

The first non-wage benefits appeared in North America and Europe as early as the 19th century. At that time, they took the form of loans on preferential terms or grants. After World War II, the shape of benefits in the United States was much more similar to what we know today. Due to the statutory freezing of salaries, employers could not propose an increase in remuneration. However, because they needed extra hands to work, they began to attract new employees to themselves with benefits such as life insurance or paid vacation.

History of Polish non-wage benefits

Salary supplements began to appear in the Polish People’s Republic – they were then referred to as employee privileges. Depending on the work they performed, they took different forms: a carbon allowance for miners or free tickets for train journeys for railway men. Food parcels, distributed mainly for the holidays, were also popular – for example, tea, coffee and sweets not available in the stores. Sometimes they were also shopping vouchers.

Polish benefits began to take a contemporary form about 20 years ago and are still developing. The year 2003 and the launch of the MultiSport card, the flagship product of Benefit Systems, are considered a landmark in history. The program offering access to sports clubs offered to employees of companies from year to year has gained increasing popularity.

The difference between a benefit and cash

The non-wage benefit is an independent supplement to the basic salary. Its task is to make life easier and respond to the needs of employees, and thus motivate to work and stay in the company. Non-wage benefit should not be confused with a bonus, which is recognized as a component of remuneration, and its amount and payment depend on meeting the set criteria – e.g. achievement of objectives.

The evolution of benefits has led to a huge variety of employer proposals. In many countries, a pension or insurance fund is a benefit. In the United Kingdom, paid holidays for biological regeneration are popular, while in Japan, holidays for broken hearts – for those who have experienced a painful parting with their partner. Unusual employee benefits also include a power generator offered to the people of Nigeria, or an annual vacation to start their own business for employees in France.

The most popular non-wage benefits in Poland

Tourist vouchers and shopping vouchers have been popular benefits in Poland for years. The undisputed king is the sports card. Many employers have long offered a package of private medical care and life insurance. However, the benefits market is growing rapidly and today companies are increasingly turning to the Cafeteria – an online platform where employees choose their own non-wage benefits. Available proposals may include all of the above-mentioned non-wage benefits and additional proposals, such as:

  • Tourist trips in the country and abroad
  • Tickets to cinemas, museums, theaters and philharmonics
  • Tickets to theme parks, rope parks, and zoos
  • Courses and training for children and adults
  • Gastronomy offer

and a lot more. Just like at MyBenefit Cafeteria.

It may interest you too: