10 Pharmacy Job Perks You May Be Missing Out On

There are tons of perks to being a pharmacist, some of which involve actual perks.

There are tons of perks to being a pharmacist, some of which involve actual perks.

More and more pharmacies are using non-salary incentives to attract quality staff or retain experienced workers. Whether you’re looking for a new job or have been at your job for years, you can always negotiate for some amazing benefits that may not increase your salary, but are guaranteed to boost your bottom line.

1. Student Loan Repayment

Employers have been using student loan repayment benefits to entice recent graduates for years, and because of the high cost of pharmacy school, many pharmacies are starting to jump on the bandwagon.

To qualify for most plans, you have to agree to remain at your employer for a certain time period in order to reap the full reimbursement benefit. Although most plans place a cap on how much they’ll reimburse, any reduction in student loan debt will benefit your balance sheet.

2. Relocation Benefits

Whether a pharmacist is hired for a new job across the country or transferred by his or her current employer, reimbursement of moving expenses and relocation bonuses are often used to keep strong candidates and quality employees from backing out because of the hassle and cost associated with moving.

To take advantage of relocation benefits, negotiate with your employer right when a job offer is made or when transfer discussions occur. Most employers won’t cover the full cost of a move, but some might, so don’t be afraid to ask!

3. Working Remotely

Because most pharmacists’ jobs involve dispensing drugs and interacting directly with patients, it can be hard to convince your employer that working from home can benefit the pharmacy.

As telemedicine and mail-order pharmacy continue to expand, however, there are increasing opportunities for pharmacists to work remotely. Those involved in research may be able to write from home, and even retail pharmacists may be able to check e-mail or voicemail before heading into work.

4. Vacation Time

As raises and bonuses become more and more scarce, employers are looking for other ways to reward staff. If you have children, hobbies, or a bad case of wanderlust, conditions are ripe for you to negotiate for additional vacation time in lieu of a monetary raise or bonus.

With ever-increasing pharmacy workloads, actually finding the time to take that extra vacation is another story.

5. Employer-Matched 401(k)

When you’re paying off debt or supporting a family, saving for retirement can be tough. Many employers offer 401(k) matching, meaning that if you contribute a certain percentage of your pay, your employer will contribute a matching amount.

A common employer matching formula is to match 50% of employees’ contributions up to the first 6% of their salary. As a pharmacy employee, you’d be wise to contribute whatever amount is required to max out your employer match to help your retirement savings grow.

6. Professional Development

Before you empty your own coffers to attend a pharmacy conference or continuing education class, ask if your employer would consider reimbursing you for the costs.

The levels of reimbursement vary from employer to employer, but you may be able to save $1000 or more on lodging, registration fees, meals, and transportation the next time you attend a conference.

7. Health Savings Accounts

If you’re raising a family—and even if you aren’t—think about how much you spend on eyeglasses or contact lenses, OTC medicines, and co-pays in a year. Some employers allow employees to set aside a portion of their pre-tax income in a Health Savings Account to pay for non-covered health care expenses, thereby lowering employees’ taxable income.

8. Family Care Accounts

Daycare for children or disabled family members is expensive, but making pre-tax contributions to a Family Care Account can help save you a little bit of money at tax time. If you’re caring for children or disabled family members, you should consider asking if your employer has—or would be willing to start—a Family Care Account program to assist with daycare costs.

9. Employee Assistance Programs

Employee assistance programs connect employees to services in their community for anything from tax advice, to marriage counseling, to legal services. These programs are typically confidential and often offer a limited number of free or low-cost sessions with professionals in your community.

Before you start paying out-of-pocket for professional services, contact your employee assistance plan to see if it can save you some money.

10. Sign-On Bonuses

Sign-on bonuses usually require a pharmacist to agree to work at a company for a certain time period in exchange for a lump-sum payment at the onset of employment. Although sign-on bonuses are waning in popularity, some pharmacies or health systems may still offer them for difficult-to-fill positions.