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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 3 weeks of paid vacation, a few extra personal days to use at your discretion, and the standard national holidays every year. This is a guideline, so if you need a couple extra days, no problem. We don’t track your days off; we use the honor system. Just make sure to check with your team before taking any extended absence, so they’re not left in the lurch.

We don’t track sick days either. If you’re under the weather, take the time you need to feel better. 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 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.

Sabbatical

Every three years, employees are eligible to take a one-month-long paid sabbatical. Just give a heads-up preferably three months in advance, so we can coordinate the work-load accordingly.

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. 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 (annual = a 12 month period, not necessarily 2017 or 2018). 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, Basecamp will make a matching gift to that charity on your behalf. Basecamp will match up to $2,000 per year, per employee. If you donate to more than one organization annually, that’s okay! For example, if I give $1,000/year to the Red Cross and $1,000/year to NPR, Basecamp will match both donations, dollar for dollar. If you donate more than $2,000/year, you are officially awesome, but Basecamp will only match $2,000 of your awesomeness.

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 night on the town in their hometown), 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. When you do buy something with the card, get a receipt! Take a photo of that receipt, and send the photo to 37receipts@gmail.com. If you can’t use the Amex and have to use a personal card, send the receipt directly to Andrea 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 killer day to celebrate). Try to limit conference travel to once a year, and don’t extend your hotel stay too far to either side of the conference schedule. If you have questions 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.