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Chapter 8:

Benefits & Perks

Next: Getting Started

Since the majority of Basecamp employees work in the US, this section is written with that as the default. Some benefits don’t make sense in other countries, like private health insurance in other first-world countries with a well-functioning, national health care system. We will try our best to provide comparable benefits and perks outside the US as it makes sense, though.

Benefits

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.

Employee-portion of medical insurance premium per pay period

Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is provided in the US via MetLife. 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.

Employee-portion of dental insurance premium per pay period

Vision Insurance

Vision insurance is provided in the US via MetLife. 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.

Employee-portion of vision insurance premium per pay period.

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.

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 $2,650/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. This is an entirely optional program; if you don’t think you’ll use it, you need not sign up. Open enrollment is in December every year, with new coverage beginning January 1.

Basecamp offers 18 days of paid time off plus 10 local national holidays every year. We ask that you track your time off so we can properly compensate you for unused time, but the company doesn’t monitor that tracking. We do ask that you check with your team before taking any extended absence, so they’re not left in the lurch. Your vacation time is prorated your first year working at Basecamp. If you start mid-year, you should take about 9 days off.

In addition to annual PTO and holidays, every three years employees are encouraged take a 30-day paid sabbatical. Just give a heads-up preferably three months in advance so we can coordinate the work-load accordingly.

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!

We don’t track sick days. If you’re under the weather, take the time you need to feel better within reason. Basecamp recognizes, too, that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Consider taking a mental health day every now and again when you’re feeling overwhelmed or mentally fatigued. If a day or two won’t cut it, we’ll work with you to find a way to reduce the burden of your work at Basecamp on your overall mental health. We really do want your work at Basecamp to be the best work you do in your life, and we appreciate that that’s not possible if you’re uncertain about your health.

Your outlets at Basecamp if you’re feeling your mental or physical health is taking a toll on your work? So many to choose from! We have Carecamp, a project in Basecamp dedicated to discussing all aspects of self-care. You can go to your manager at any time or during one of your regular 1:1 meetings. You can go to Andrea at any time, who with your permission can work with your manager to help you. Additionally, your manager should check in with you, proactively, to periodically make sure you’re doing okay.

Personal Leave

If you are under treatment or recovery for a serious medical condition and are unable to work for a week or more because of it, let us know and you can take four weeks off at 100% pay. If after that, you’re still unable to work, Basecamp will continue to pay you 70% of your pay until you’re better, up to twelve weeks off. These days are an emergency reserve, separate from your vacation/sick time described above. If after this period of time, you still cannot work, talk to your manager, Jason, David, or Andrea, and we will discuss what comes next on a case-by-case basis.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Basecamp’s EAP is through ComPsych, and it provides a confidential avenue for you to get assistance with issues regarding behavioral and emotional health, family, legal, financial, wellness or other personal matters. When you call or email our provider, you’ll be connected to a certified clinician 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, but 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.

Summer Hours

During summer, we work 4-day work weeks, aka “summer hours”. Summer hours are in effect from May 1 through August 31 each year. (An employee who has just been hired may have to complete a training program per their team lead to be eligible). Summer weeks are 4-day work weeks, so when a holiday occurs over summer, you can take the holiday off or your normal summer day off. Any additional days off would count as vacation days.

Family Leave

If you are the primary caregiver of a new child, you can take up to 16 weeks leave at 100% paid salary. If you are the secondary caregiver of a new child, you can take up to 6 weeks leave at 100% paid salary. You may also choose to take an additional 8 weeks leave unpaid as the primary or secondary caregiver. This time is meant for bonding with the new child and should commence from the date of birth or placement.

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.

If the loss in your family is especially traumatic and you know you’ll be away from work for a while, please talk to your manager to discuss that special case.

Retirement Plan

Our 401K for US employees is through Vanguard. Basecamp matches dollar-for-dollar up to 6% of your salary that you contribute to the plan. For instance, an employee who earns $100,000 can contribute any amount towards the 401K, however Basecamp will only match the first 6% or $6,000/year of those contributions. You are eligible to enroll in the 401K plan with your first paycheck.

For international employees, Basecamp will also match 6% of your salary. In this case, Basecamp will pay the employee directly via invoice. It’s up to the employee to invest the money properly and maintain administration of the retirement account and its taxes. Basecamp will begin funding international employee retirement accounts on January 1, 2019.

Employee Liquidity Pool

If Basecamp is ever sold or part of an IPO, tenured employees will be eligible to receive a portion of 5% of the value of the company. That 5% would be divided into units, based on the number of employees we have at the time. People who were Basecampers for less than 1 year would receive 0 units, someone employed 1 year would receive 1 unit, and so on, until you’re fully vested at 5 years for 5 units.

Perks

Fitness Allowance

Basecamp will pay up to $100/month for your gym membership, yoga studio membership, or whatever activity you do to stay in shape. If it’s not organized fitness, that’s okay, too. You can use your stipend to pay for race registrations or even new outdoor running shoes. The only catch is that you can’t “save up” your stipend. Sorry, but no saving 9 months worth of fitness benefit, and buying a new bike; this benefit is meant to promote regular activity for you.

Wellness Allowance

Every month, you can expense up to $100 towards a service or experience that enhances your overall mental well-being. For some people that might mean a monthly massage. For others, that could be alternative medical treatments like acupuncture or reiki. You could also use the stipend to defray your existing talk therapy co-pays, go on a wellness retreat, take a meditation class, attend a religiously-affiliated retreat, or book a service at a spa that is more relaxing to you than a massage like a pedicure or facial. Basecamp does not want to limit what is healing to you, so get creative with your self-care! If you have questions about what qualifies here, feel free to ping Andrea.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Allowance

Fresh, organic, local fruits and vegetables are great to have on-hand, so we’d also like to offer a CSA membership to you. Finding a local provider will be up to you, but you can expense the cost of a seasonal or annual CSA share as an employee benefit, up to $1,000/year. That stipend is prorated in your first year at Basecamp, depending on the month you start. If there aren’t any CSA shares nearby, feel free to use your stipend on farmers market foods or even fresh fruit and veg at your favorite grocery store.

Continuing Education Allowance

If you’re interested in taking classes that you feel improve you professionally or personally, you have a $1,000 annual stipend to do so. This stipend is also prorated in your first year at Basecamp, depending on the month you start. Some people take classes directly related to their career, while some take photography lessons or learn a musical instrument. It’s up to you; the point is to learn something that you feel enriches you as a person and employee.

Matching Charitable Gifts

When you donate money to a 501(c)(3) charity (or its equivalent if you’re outside of the United States), Basecamp will make a matching gift to that charity on your behalf. Basecamp will match up to $2,000 per year, per employee. The first $500 you donate in a year, Basecamp will match 2-to-1. After that, Basecamp will match 1-to-1 for a total of $2000 in annual matches. For example, if you give $500 to NPR, Basecamp will donate $1000 as a matching gift. If you donate another $1000 to Children’s Hospital, Basecamp will match that $1000, and you’ve reached your cap for the year.

This stipend is prorated in your first year at Basecamp, depending on the month you start.

If you donate more than $2,000/year, you are officially awesome, but Basecamp will only match $2,000 of your awesomeness.

Basecamp also allows a Day of Service. You can take one day off every year to volunteer for a charitable organization of your choice. No need to use a vacation day or personal day!

Basecamp Holiday Gift

Every year, at the end of the year, Basecamp generally gives a thank-you gift to the employees. Employees who have been at Basecamp for one year or less get one gift (last year: a “staycation” in their home towns), and longer tenured employees get a more elaborate gift (last year: a paid vacation). We switch up the delivery of these every year, so you’re always in for a nice surprise.

Practical assistance

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.

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 can’t use the AmEx and have to use a personal card, send the receipt directly to Navid for reimbursement.

Basecamp has no expense policy. We trust our employees to spend money wisely. If you’re booking a 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, sure, Basecamp will 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!

If you ever have questions about conference travel or need guidance about what “spend it wisely” means, just ask!

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.