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For many in the workplace, the end of the year marks open enrollment, a season where employees can make changes to their elected benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, and more. However, for many transitioning military professionals, this period may be confusing. 

Below, we’ve provided an overview of typical benefits packages that companies usually have in place, including PTO, health insurance, and retirement options. 

Vacation, Holidays, and Time Off

On average, you can expect to accrue vacation and sick days on a per month basis, with most companies offering 7-14 days of vacation a year.

In addition to vacation days, most companies also observe certain standard national holidays throughout the year. Click here for a list of typical holidays that most companies observe

Health Insurance Plans

Health Insurance is a very important component of a company’s benefit package. There are a number of different types of health insurance plans available in Corporate America and it can be somewhat confusing for transitioning military accustomed to the military’s TRICARE system.

When you are evaluating a company’s health insurance plan, there are three critical components that you should understand: the type of plan, premiums, and copays. The overall cost of different healthcare plans can vary widely, but understanding the following terms can be useful when wading through a company’s healthcare insurance plan. Read more about the different types of health plans, premiums, and copays

Retirement Options

A 401(k) is the most common type of retirement savings program offered by companies, and has all but replaced the traditional pension plan. A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that allows a worker to save for retirement while deferring income tax on the saved money and earnings until withdrawal. The employee elects to have a portion of his or her wages paid directly, or “deferred,” into his or her 401(k) account. In participant-directed plans (the most common option), the employee can select from a number of investment options, usually an assortment of mutual funds that emphasize stocks, bonds, money market investments, or some mix of the above. There are maximum contribution limits. For 2021, the maximum contribution to a 401(k) is limited to $19,500 for individuals under the age of 50.

Some companies will match a percentage of your contributions to your 401(k) program. A common employer matching formula is 50% of 401(k) employee contributions, up to a certain contribution limit (typically a maximum of 6%). Learn more about retirement plans and other benefits.

Along with helping military veterans understand civilian benefits, we have put together a comprehensive list of transition resources to help you through every aspect of the transition process, including step-by-step information on planning your transition and finding a career, and even resources for spouses and family members.

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