Comparison of five popular employee benefits for 2024

Employee benefits are particularly important for companies to distinguish themselves as an attractive employer, they serve as a motivational tool and are helpful in retaining employees. Companies have a wide range of interesting employee benefits to choose from, which is why we have selected five employee benefits that are particularly popular with employees and applicants. We present and compare these five popular benefits in this guide.

The comparison includes the most popular benefits for employees, from benefits in kind and meal allowances to mobility benefits such as the job ticket or mobility budget. The comparison also provides an overview of the various providers and benefits apps.


  1. What are employee benefits? Definition and examples
  2. Choosing the right employee benefit for your company
  3. A comparison of five popular employee benefits
  4. The alternative: more flexibility and free time for a better work-life balance
  5. Criteria that should be considered when comparing employee benefits
  6. When are employee benefits tax-free?

What are benefits for employees: Definitions and examples

Employee benefits (also known as employee offers, employee advantages, corporate benefits or fringe benefits) are additional perks or services that companies offer their employees to improve their job satisfaction, motivation and loyalty.

Employee benefits are usually granted in addition to salary and companies often offer different benefits at the same time, from which employees can choose the one that suits them best. Employee benefits can cover a wide range of areas of life, including health, pension, working hours, training, food, childcare or mobility.

For these reasons, employee benefits are important today:

-> Demographic change has fundamentally altered the labor market.
-> Employee benefits are a key tool for companies to present themselves as an attractive employer.
-> Employee benefits therefore play a crucial role in employee recruitment and retention.

Five of the most popular employee benefits are compared here.

Choosing the right employee benefit for the company

Before companies select a suitable benefit and a suitable provider, they should consider which benefits suit their employees and the company's mission statement.

These are suitable benefits if the focus is on utilizing tax allowances or optimizing net wages

Benefits to promote the health of employees

  • Health budget for various health and preventive services
  • Health promotion, e.g. through cooperation with health insurance companies
  • Company fitness or sports offers, e.g. gym memberships
  • Company bike, e.g. as a bike lease or e-bike lease

Benefits to strengthen the team spirit

  • Regular team events
  • Meal allowance to encourage employees to eat lunch together in the office

Benefits for employees to promote sustainable mobility

Benefits to support flexible working models

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Five popular employee benefits compared

Non-cash benefits (Sachbezug)

Employee benefits in kind are particularly attractive for companies. To qualify as a benefit in kind, employers must grant their employees the benefit in kind exclusively in the form of benefits in kind and not as a cash payment. In addition to lunch vouchers or meal vouchers (see below), examples of benefits in kind include vouchers and cash cards that are only valid for the purchase of goods or services.

Since 2022, three types of voucher cards have been recognized for tax purposes

  1. Voucher cards for a limited network: e.g. for specific stores, retail chains or regional city cards
  2. Voucher cards for a limited range of goods: for a single product category, such as fashion, cosmetics or fuel
  3. Voucher cards for a specific purpose: e.g. for lunch or for company health measures

Good to know: Benefits in kind that are considered to be courtesies can be granted tax-free up to an amount of 60 euros up to three times a year and per employee. This applies insofar as they are not intended as remuneration for a specific service or activity by the employee. Examples of tax-free gifts are small presents or vouchers for special occasions, such as birthdays.

Prepaid credit cards

Companies can grant their employees tax-free benefits in kind using so-called benefits-in-kind cards. Employees receive a prepaid credit card that is topped up by the employer with up to EUR 50 per month and can be used at corresponding partners. Since 2020, legal requirements have stipulated that non-cash benefits cards are limited either to a specific region or to a single acceptance partner.

Providers of prepaid credit cards and non-cash benefits cards:

  • Belonio
  • cadooz
  • Edenred
  • Givve
  • Guudcard
  • Sodexo
  • Spendit
  • VIMpay
  • yourbenefit

Vouchers for employees

Alongside prepaid credit cards, vouchers are an easy way for employers to offer their employees non-cash benefits. Here too, a monthly exemption limit of 50 euros applies or, in the case of gifts, an exemption limit of up to 60 euros per occasion. The vouchers must be restricted to a specific product range or to a limited number of points of acceptance. Employers can provide their employees with a wide range of vouchers, such as vouchers for supermarkets, petrol stations, online shopping providers or travel.

Flexible voucher budgets have become increasingly popular in recent years. Employees are provided with a certain amount that can be used flexibly for vouchers from various providers. The advantage is that employees can decide for themselves which type of voucher cards they use and at which providers they redeem the non-cash benefit.

Provider of voucher solutions:

  • Become1
  • Belonio
  • Bonista
  • cadooz
  • Circula
  • Emplu
  • Probonio

Health & fitness

Health measures, fitness offers, a company doctor or even dedicated rest and sleep rooms are particularly popular benefits among employees, which also benefit the company. In addition to health checks, investments in an ergonomic set-up or massages, health promotion measures also include yoga classes, autogenic training or other courses subsidized by statutory health insurance companies. Companies can pay a tax-free subsidy here.

Sports and leisure activities are also important and attractive benefits for employees. A gym membership that is fully or partially financed by the employer will please many employees and motivate some to start training in the first place.

Providers of company fitness offers

  • Urban Sports Club: With a membership, employees have access to over 50 types of sport and can therefore take advantage of a comprehensive and flexible sports program.
  • Gymondo: Gymondo provides employees with a training program tailored to their needs and personal nutrition tips.

Food & drink

Food allowance and food vouchers

Delicious, wholesome food is important to most people. Companies that do not run their own canteen can provide their employees with a meal allowance or lunch vouchers that are accepted by nearby restaurants. The meal allowance is a popular way for employers to subsidize employees' lunches. Employers can grant a meal allowance of up to €103.50 tax-free per month.

A modern version of the meal allowance or meal vouchers are digital meal vouchers that employees can redeem via an app. This means that employees can use the meal vouchers in various supermarkets, restaurants and snack bars and are not tied to acceptance partners, as is the case with traditional meal vouchers. Employees receive the tax-privileged allowance gross for net. Digital meal vouchers therefore offer more flexibility and a wider choice of restaurants and supermarkets.

Providers of digital solutions for meal allowances

Digital meal vouchers have only been around since 2016 and have become increasingly popular since then. Companies can now choose from these providers, among others

  • Belonio: Digital meal allowance and other benefits via web app. The vouchers are checked using AI, although Belonio assumes no liability for this.
  • Hrmony: Digital meal vouchers via app. Hrmony checks all receipts and also assumes liability.
  • Probonio: Digital meal vouchers and other benefits such as digital vouchers and mobility allowance via app. Probonio checks all receipts and also assumes liability for them.
  • Spendit: Digital meal vouchers via app. However, employers must check the receipts themselves.
  • Other providers: Trebono, Become1, Circula, Billyard, Salfy
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Mobility benefits

The most democratic benefits are those related to mobility, such as the mobility budget, a company bike, fuel vouchers, a travel allowance or a Germany ticket as a job ticket.

Company bike

The company bike is one of the most sustainable employee benefits and has become increasingly popular in recent years, not least thanks to the e-bike boom. This is because many people want to get around more ecologically and healthily. Employees usually receive a company bike via a company bike lease through their employer. The company bike as an employee benefit enables employers to offer their employees e-bikes and bikes as part of a leasing contract. The employer bears the leasing costs and insurance fees for the company bike. A whole range of companies now offer leased bikes. In order to find the right offer or provider for you as an employer or employee, it is worth making a comprehensive comparison of company bike providers.

Company bike providers

There are a large number of company bike and e-bike leasing providers in Germany. Here is an overview of the most common company bike leasing providers:

  • Bikeleasing-Service
  • BusinessBike
  • Company Bike
  • Deutsche Dienstrad
  • Easybikeleasing
  • Eleasa
  • Eurorad
  • Jobrad
  • Kazenmaier
  • My company bike
  • Lease-a-Bike


The 49-euro ticket is well received by German companies. Half of all DAX-listed companies now offer their employees the Deutschlandticket as a job ticket. According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), around 15 percent of the 10 million Deutschlandabos sold to date are job tickets. In 2024, the number of companies offering their employees a Deutschlandticket will continue to increase.

Mobility budget

Companies that want to offer their employees maximum flexibility with the greatest possible sustainability can offer a mobility budget. This can be used for a means of transport of choice, whether public transport, car sharing or e-scooters. The mobility budget is particularly suitable as an employee benefit, as employees can use it flexibly for all available means of transport. The offer includes not only bus and train or the numerous sharing offers, but also the Deutschlandticket, fuel vouchers and bicycle or car subscriptions. Employers always have control over their employees' spending and can decide for themselves how much money they can spend on mobility.

With the help of a mobility budget, companies can also promote environmentally friendly mobility behavior, as employees are rewarded for their choice of sustainable means of transport, such as public transport and bicycles, with tax-free benefits.

Mobility budget providers

The following providers offer a flexible mobility budget:

  • Belmoto
  • Bonvoyo
  • Lofino
  • Mobiko
  • Probonio
  • Spendit
Read now: Detailed comparison of the most popular mobility budget providers 2024

Professional development & training

Professional development is not just a benefit for employees. It also offers a very positive return on investment for employers by improving productivity, profitability and employee retention. Possible measures for professional development include, for example, directly job-related offers, business coaching or the promotion of part-time studies. Language learning offers are also very popular as a further training option. - These are not only available as face-to-face courses, but also as digital language training with programs such as the Babbel language learning platform, which also offers industry-specific language courses for companies.

With a budget for further training, companies can provide their employees with a certain amount of money that they can use to attend a job-related course, for example. In this way, employers continuously encourage their employees to work on themselves and to acquire or develop skills and knowledge that can help them in their professional career. This corporate benefit is particularly beneficial for employee retention. Companies should allow their employees to choose the type of further training they want.

The alternative: more flexibility and free time for a better work-life balance

In addition to tax-free employer contributions, companies have other options for offering their employees attractive benefits. There is also the option of more free time and a better work-life balance. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, it was clear that flexibility in terms of work location and working hours was becoming increasingly important. Flexible working hours and the option to work from home or remotely are among the most popular benefits.


For some employees, the option of a temporary leave of absence is also attractive: sabbaticals are one of the top benefits for almost one in ten employees. With a sabbatical, employees can take time out and pursue personal interests without putting their job at risk. A sabbatical can be financed through salary splitting, for example: the monthly income is paid out at a reduced rate for a certain period of employment and the missing portion is paid out over the duration of the sabbatical so that the time out is secured. Of course, employers can also opt for a subsidy or full financing of the sabbatical.

Four-day week

Employees increasingly value flexibility and work-life balance. As a result, the four-day week is becoming increasingly popular. Reforms are already in place in countries such as Belgium and Iceland, and in many companies working hours have already been reduced to four days instead of five - with the same salary. In Germany, such a model is currently only being discussed. Nevertheless, some German companies have already introduced the four-day week. The experiences have been very positive: a four-day week promises above all greater employee satisfaction, fewer sick days, consistent productivity and lower employee turnover.

International trials have also been positive: A six-month trial in the UK was described as "extremely successful", with 86 percent of participating companies stating that they were "extremely likely" or "likely" to consider retaining the four-day week beyond the trial run. A similar test in Iceland was also successful. The positive effects include a reduction in stress and burnout as well as an improvement in work-life balance.

Criteria that should be considered when comparing employee benefits

  1. Benefit portfolio: Does the provider offer the right benefits?
  2. Price of the offer: How is the price made up? For example, monthly fees, set-up fee, service fee
  3. Contract conditions: Is there a notice period? Can the benefit program be paused at any time free of charge? Are there any costs for paused or deactivated users?
  4. Ease of administration: Does the provider offer a user-friendly tool for employers to manage the benefit and their employees?
  5. Automation and integration: What integrations are possible? Can the company's own HR software be connected? Is the company's own payroll accounting program supported?
  6. Employee app: Does the provider offer a modern benefits app?
  7. Support and evaluations: What support does the provider offer? How is the provider rated in the AppStore and on Google?

When are employee benefits tax-free?

Tax-free employee benefits are benefits in kind and cash benefits that employers can grant their employees in addition to their salary without incurring taxes or social security contributions for the employees. One example of this is the 50 euro benefit in kind, which means that benefits are completely tax-free for employees and employers. Otherwise, the employer must pay a flat-rate tax of generally 25%.

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Stefan Wendering
Stefan is a freelance author and editor at NAVIT. Previously, he worked for startups and in the mobility sphere. He is an expert in urban and sustainable mobility, employee benefits, and New Work. In addition to creating blog content, he also produces marketing materials, taglines, and website content, as well as case studies.
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