Do These Things to Maximize Your Employee Benefits Before the New Year


The end of the year is approaching quickly, which means it’s time to make sure you are taking full advantage of your employee benefits before time runs out. Many workplace benefits have use-it-or-lose-it deadlines or contribution limits that reset each year, so it’s important to review your benefits package and take action before the new year starts.

Spend your FSA funds

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars for qualified healthcare or dependent care expenses. The catch is that FSAs often have a use-it-or-lose-it policy, meaning any unused funds at the end of the year are forfeited. Calculate your anticipated expenses for the rest of this year and the beginning of next year while there is still time to incur more costs. If you have money left in your FSA, stock up on eligible expenses now before the year ends.

Max out HSA contributions

Much like an FSA, a health savings account (HSA) allows you to contribute pre-tax dollars for medical expenses. The advantage of an HSA is that unused funds roll over year to year. For 2023, the annual contribution limits are $3,850 for individual coverage or $7,750 for family coverage. Confirm what you have contributed to date and, if possible, bump up your monthly contributions through the end of the year to hit the annual maximum.

Use remaining flex time

Before any year-end resets hit, make sure to use any remaining flex time, work-from-home days, or paid time off afforded by your employer. Schedule appointments, knock out lingering tasks, and request days off if allowed under your company policy. With potential schedule changes coming as the year wraps up, now is the ideal time to take advantage of flex time while you still can.

Review retirement savings

Most companies with 401(k) plans have limits on annual employee salary deferral contributions, with the 2023 maximum being $22,500 if you are under 50 or $30,000 if 50 or older. Log into your retirement account and identify gaps between your current savings rate or annual contributions and the legal limits. If you have room to save more before Dec. 31, contact your HR department to increase your deferral percentage.

Check your benefits for other perks

There may be other employee perks or discounts that you have not taken advantage of yet this year. Revisit new hire paperwork or your employee handbook and read through all available programs. Look closely for things like gym memberships, continuing education reimbursements, commuter accounts, employee assistance services, tuition discounts, and more. Learn what is available and use relevant services before Jan. 1 when eligibility may reset.

The end of the calendar year is the ideal time to maximize workplace benefits that have expiration timelines or annual limits. Review all available programs and take appropriate steps to utilize them fully now so that they do not go to waste. A little proactivity this month can add up to major savings and optimized offerings to carry into the new year.

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