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Chapter 7:

Benefits & Perks

Next: Getting Started

Health Insurance

Medical Insurance

Medical insurance is provided in the US via Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO. The company pays 75% of the premium and the employee pays the other 25%. Open enrollment is in November every year, with new coverage beginning December 1. Marriages and domestic partnerships are covered equally.

Each pay period, you’ll see a payroll deduction for medical insurance:

If you’re based outside of the US and pay for private health insurance, you can request reimbursement for 75% of your insurance payments. That expense is capped at the amount Basecamp pays per employee on the US employee group plan. Ping Andrea for details.

Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is provided in the US via MetLife. The company pays 100% of the premium. Open enrollment is in November every year, with new coverage beginning December 1. Marriages and domestic partnerships are covered equally.

Vision Insurance

Vision insurance is provided in the US via MetLife. The company pays 100% of the premium. Open enrollment is in November every year, with new coverage beginning December 1. Marriages and domestic partnerships are covered equally.

Life Insurance

Basecamp offers a $400,000 life insurance/AD+D policy to all employees through MetLife. It’s fully funded by Basecamp, so you pay nothing! The policy is effective on Day 1 of employment, and it’s terminated on your final day of employment. Open enrollment is in November every year, but employees are auto-enrolled during that time.

Retirement Plan

Our 401K for US employees is through Vanguard. Basecamp matches 100% of what you contribute, up to 6% of your salary. You are eligible to enroll in the 401K plan with your first paycheck.

For international employees, Basecamp will also match what you contribute to a retirement plan in your home country, also up to 6% of your annual salary. In these cases, Basecamp will pay you directly via your monthly invoice. It’s up to you to invest that payment and maintain administration of the retirement account and its taxes.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

The FSA is an account where you can set aside pre-tax money for out-of-pocket medical expenses, such as prescriptions, over-the-counter medicine, vision care, etc. You have to decide up front how much money you want to put in the account, and the max is $2,750/year. There is a separate type of FSA for dependent care (child or elder care), and the max for that plan is $5,000/year or $2,500/year if you split this with a partner. This is an entirely optional program. Open enrollment is in December every year, with new coverage beginning January 1.

Vacation Time

Basecamp offers 18 days of paid time off plus 11 local holidays every year. We ask that you track your time off so we can properly compensate you for unused time. Your vacation time is prorated based on your start date during your first year at Basecamp. Your vacation time rolls over year to year, with a maximum bank of 27 days. If you are terminated or resign from Basecamp with vacation days in your bank, you’ll be paid the monetary equivalent for those unused days (based on your salary).

Sabbatical

In addition to annual PTO and holidays, every three years employees may take a 30-day paid sabbatical. Give your team a heads-up preferably three months in advance so they can coordinate. If you’re terminated or resign from Basecamp with an unused sabbatical, Basecamp will pay you the monetary equivalent of those unused days only if your unused sabbatical was earned within the previous 12 months.

Sick Time

We don’t offer a bank of sick days nor do we ask you to track your sick days. However if you’re unexpectedly away from work due to illness or injury for more than 5 consecutive work days, you’ll transition from sick time to Personal Leave. Basecamp does not pay out for unused sick time upon resignation or termination, since we have no sick time bank.

Your manager will check in with you if you’re consistently taking 3+ unplanned sick days per month. Excessive use of sick time may result in disciplinary measures. If you have a medical condition you know will take you away from work regularly, please work with your manager for accommodations.

Personal Leave

If you are unable to work for more than 1 week because of illness or injury, let your manager know as soon as you can. You can take four weeks off at 100% pay. If after 4 weeks, you’re still unable to work, Basecamp will pay you 70% for an additional 8 weeks. Your medical insurance will remain in force throughout your Leave. If after 12 weeks, you still cannot work, talk to your manager, and we will discuss what comes next on a case-by-case basis. You may be asked to provide medical documentation to support your request for Personal Leave, and Personal Leave is limited to one instance of leave per 12-month period.

Summer Hours

We work 4-day work weeks from May 1 through August 31 every year. An employee who has just been hired may have to complete a training program per their team lead to be eligible. When a holiday occurs during summer hours, you can take the holiday off or your normal summer day off. Any additional days off would count as vacation days.

Day of Service

Basecamp also allows a Day of Service. You can take one day off every year to volunteer for a charitable or community organization of your choice. No need to use a vacation day or personal day, just let your team know you’ll be out. Basecamp does not pay out for unused Days of Service if you resign or are terminated from Basecamp.

Disclaimer on Scheduling Time Off

The only time we ask you not to schedule discretionary time-off is during a CODE. At Basecamp, we assign a CODE when urgent work needs to be done. We have three levels of criticality. A CODE RED is an emergency, a CODE YELLOW is less immediate but still critical, and a CODE LAUNCH is called when we’re in the final stages of launching a new product. If we’re in the midst of one of these and you can delay your vacation or sabbatical until after the code has ended, please do.

Family Leave

If you are the primary caregiver of a new child, you can take up to 16 weeks leave at 100% pay. If you are the secondary caregiver of a new child, you can take up to 6 weeks leave at 100% pay. You may choose to take an additional 8 weeks leave unpaid as the primary or secondary caregiver.

Some states require us to provide additional benefits.

Bereavement Leave

When you lose a loved one, you can take paid time off from work for bereavement, making arrangements, settling family affairs, and attending the funeral or memorial service. Let your manager know your plans as soon as you can so they can arrange for your absence.

You can take ten days of bereavement leave for the death of a spouse or partner, child or child-in-law, parent or parent-in-law, or sibling or sibling-in-law. You can take three days of bereavement leave for the death of a grandparent, niece or nephew, cousin, or close friend. These caps are not to say you must return to work after so many days; you can use any of your available vacation time if you find you need more time off after bereavement leave. And if you know you’ll be away from work for much longer than outlined above, please talk to your manager to discuss that special case.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Basecamp’s EAP is through ComPsych, and it provides a confidential avenue for you to get assistance with issues regarding health, family, legal, financial, wellness or other personal matters. When you call or email ComPsych, you’ll be connected to a certified representative who can help you one-on-one at that time, or who can refer you to someone in your area for longer-term help. Services range from immediate or crisis mental health care to phone-help on your 401k investments to a referral to a lawyer in your area to help with your estate planning. Because we use the EAP, you also receive discounts on those referrals to professionals.

Pet Insurance

For your fur babies! Basecamp doesn’t contribute to this plan at all, but everyone gets a 10% discount on this insurance you might otherwise buy. There are no set rates, and you can visit Basecamp’s portal on Figo’s website to get your quote and sign up. There’s no open enrollment period to sign up for pet insurance.

Employee Profit Sharing

Basecamp shares 10% of its annual company profits with employees, which is distributed in shares based on tenure. Profits are distributed after the books are closed on the previous fiscal year, usually around March (e.g. 2021 profits distributed in March 2022).

You’re eligible to participate in profit sharing after two years of working at Basecamp. You’ll accrue one share per month starting on your second anniversary at Basecamp, and you’ll max out your shares at 10 years. We calculate shares based on months of tenure so there’s no unfair cliff between being hired in December vs January.

We ask that you think of any compensation from this program as not something to be counted upon, not something to be budgeted with, but as a true bonus. Year to year, profits and therefore the amount we’re able to share with employees may swing wildly or not be paid out at all.

This Program does not have any set expiration date, but the company reserves the right to amend it or cancel it at any time. You forfeit your shares in the profit sharing program if you resign or are terminated from Basecamp before the distribution date.

Employee Liquidity Pool

There are no plans to sell Basecamp or take the company public! But, in the slight chance of that happening, employees may be eligible to receive a portion of 10% of the value of the company if Basecamp is sold or made public. That 10% would be divided into shares, and shares distributed amongst employees based on their tenure at the time of the sale/offering.

Employees are eligible for shares in the liquidity pool after two years of working at Basecamp. You’ll accrue one share per month starting on your second anniversary, and you max out your shares after 10 years. We calculate shares based on months of tenure so there’s no unfair cliff between being hired in December vs January.

This Program does not have any set expiration date, but the company reserves the right to amend it or cancel it at any time. You forfeit your shares in the liquidity pool if you resign or are terminated from Basecamp before the distribution date.

Year-end Gift

At the end of every year, Basecamp gives a thank-you gift to employees. Beginning in 2021, this gift comes in the form of a cash bonus. The bonus is accompanied by a beautiful keepsake that contains ideas & inspiration for how to use your bonus, but ultimately how you spend it or save it is up to you.

Home Office Set-up

Since you work remotely, we want to make sure your home office is comfortable. You can expense up to $1,000 to furnish your home office, every three years. During your first year at Basecamp, you can expense up to $2,000.

Awair

The air you breathe in your home affects your health, productivity, and overall quality of life. We offer every new employee at Basecamp an Awair Element to monitor your indoor air quality.

Coworking Space Stipend

Basecamp will pay up to $200/month for you to use towards renting coworking space in your city. Please make sure you’re using a true coworking space that’s meant solely for working, not a club or social space.

Expense Account

If you work in the US, you should carry a Basecamp American Express card in your name. You can use the card for any work-related expenses, such as travel, software, or office supplies. If you have any doubts about whether or not to expense something, just ask. We require a receipt for all expenses of $50 or more. When you do buy something with the card, get a receipt! Take a photo of that receipt, and upload the receipt and then tag your expense in Expensify.

If you work outside the US, the same expense policy applies, but you’ll be unable to carry a Basecamp American Express card. Instead, you’ll use Expensify to manually log any expenses you incur. Andrea will be notified of your expense and will initiate a bank transfer within Expensify for your reimbursement.

Overall, we trust our employees to spend money wisely. If you’re booking a meet-up flight, you don’t need to buy the cheapest, 2-layover redeye; buy the convenient, well-priced seat. If you’re attending a conference on behalf of Basecamp, we’ll buy your meals. Just try to stay away from caviar and champagne at dinner (okay, maybe once if you have a great day to celebrate).

Speaking of conferences — try to limit your attendance at professional conferences to once a year. Don’t extend your hotel stay too far to either side of the conference schedule; you should be traveling specifically to attend the conf. Our conference budget guidelines mirror our mini meet-up budget guidelines; you can find those in Basecamp.

We don’t just make Basecamp, we run our entire business on it too. It puts all our project communication, task management, and documentation in one place where everyone can work together seamlessly.