In the 19th and 20th centuries employers became benefactors and welfare managers as providers of employment.
Large employers facilitated major employee benefit programs to attract and retain employees with the core skills employers needed to run their business. Generous benefit schemes included housing, medical, education, car and travel allowance.
Those who enjoyed these benefits were employees that had special and scarce skills that were not available in the labour market. Where there was an abundance of the required labour in the market, benefits were scaled down and sometimes not proffered to employees It makes business sense to offer benefits to attract and keep rare talent. Is it ethical to give benefits to one set of employees and not others?
Can employees demand that employers provide benefits apart from a fair wage? Indeed, are benefits part of wages? As an employee should you manage and treat your employment benefits and wages separately?
While it is nice to have all
the tangible benefits like house and car, what about the intangible benefits
like experience, exposure and the privilege of an occupation? While many people
measure the attractiveness of a job by its benefits structure, many people make
do with lesser or without benefits if what they earn enables them to advance
their own position and personal circumstances in life.