How to Approach Employee Benefits When First Entering the Workforce

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What to Look For in Group Benefits Plan When Entering the Workforce

As a young Millennial or Gen Z, entering the workforce can be an overwhelming and complex experience as you try to adopt new skills that align with your job position while striking a healthy balance between your work and personal life. One aspect of newfound employment that may seem particularly confusing is navigating the world of employee and group benefits plans. Group benefits plans are typically provided with full-time employment, and it is the employer’s responsibility to make sure these benefits comply with legislation requirements and employment law. 

Benefits can be a deciding factor in accepting a job offer, but this can be difficult to gauge if you are unsure what benefits are mandatory, what is additional, and what you should consider before accepting a job offer with certain benefit plans.  

What are Employment Health Benefit Plans?

Employment health benefit plans are group insurance plans employers offer to their employees. These plans provide coverage for a range of health-related expenses, including prescription drugs, dental care, and vision care. The cost of these plans is typically shared between the employer and the employee, with the employer contributing a portion of the premium and the employee paying the rest through payroll deductions.

Understand the Types of Benefits Offered

Before diving into the specifics of a group benefits plan, it’s crucial to understand the types of benefits that can be offered and what is required by law. Statutory benefits that are legally required in Canada, as per the Employee Standards Act. The Employee Standards Act establishes the rights and obligations of both employees and employers and outlines what employee and health benefits that are mandatory. The benefits offered can differ between provinces and territories and your employer, but typically, the most general benefits required by law include the following: 

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a mandatory insurance program, only for certain industries and certain employees, that provides benefits to workers who are injured or become ill due to their job. Employers are required to contribute to this program, which is administered by the provincial or territorial government.

Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) are mandatory programs that provide retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to eligible workers. Employers are required to contribute to these programs on behalf of their employees.

Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance (EI) is a federal program in Canada that provides temporary financial assistance to eligible individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own, such as due to layoffs or company closures. The program aims to support workers while they search for new employment opportunities.

Short-term disability coverage is also part of the EI package, providing benefits to individuals who are unable to work due to a medical condition or illness. These benefits are designed to help with the cost of living expenses during the period of disability and can last up to 15 weeks.

Additional Benefits

In addition to the mandatory benefits outlined above, many employers offer additional health-related benefits to their employees, which vary depending on the employer and the industry. It is recommended before you accept a job offer that you thoroughly understand what is included for additional benefits. These benefits can consist of extended health benefits that provide coverage for health-related expenses not covered by provincial healthcare, including prescription drugs, dental care, and vision care. 

Wellness programs can also be offered within a group benefits plan designed to promote healthy living among employees by providing gym memberships and access to fitness classes and wellness coaches. Other additional benefits may be related to mental health services, such as therapy and counselling. Based on your health, for vision, mental, and dental, ensuring that your group benefits plans include these additional elements can be incredibly helpful and convenient when initially entering the workforce.

Additionally, employers in Canada also have the choice to add various types of insurance plans to their employee benefits package. These can include Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance, Critical Illness Insurance, as well as Short Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance.


Employment health benefit plans are an essential part of the compensation package for many Canadian workers, including youth approaching the workforce for the first time. Understanding what is mandatory by law and what additional benefits are available can help young people make informed decisions about their employment options. Employers who offer comprehensive employee group benefit plans are more appealing to those entering the workforce, as these benefits can provide better access to a range of health-related resources and financial stability.

At Health Risk Services, we help managers of benefits plans make strategic decisions to craft cost-effective personalized plans that can assist you and your organization with crafting comprehensive group benefits plans that will appeal to employees just entering the workforce. Whether the solution of preference for your company is adding additional support programs, renovating your existing coverage, or crafting intentional messaging, Health Risk is here to help!

To schedule your Complimentary Consultation with Health Risk Services, please call 403-236-9430 OR email: [email protected]