Companies that are trying to recruit career employees have learned that in addition to pay, other benefits are generally needed. While this was not true prior to unionization in the 1930s and 1940s, it common now for full time employees. In addition there are Federal and State laws in effect that can also affect available benefits, such as over time pay and certain other work condition requirements.
As stated in other sections, companies differ vastly when it comes to offerings. Some offer little more then 5 paid holidays and workers comp (state required accident insurance) up to generous paid vacations, retirement and other perks. If a benefit is important to you, get it in writing and understand all the conditions that require. Not to accuse recruiters of lying, but what you think someone said does not mean that is what they said.
You might have started truck driving as a single person and you are now married and kids are being added to the mix. These life changes require you to consider your total benefits package. As your experience grows, you may opportunities to work for other companies that offer better benefits then what you have now. However, before you jump from one company to another consider what you may be giving up (dispatch seniority, higher pay rates for years with the company, etc) for what ever new benefit you might be offered.
However, understand that when companies offer a benefit, make sure you know the parameters. Companies provide differing levels of benefits. Some benefits are paid for by the company. Some are partially paid for, as the company pays the basic and you pay for enhanced coverage. Other benefits may be offered at discounted group rates but without any company contribution to the costs.
Most serious companies now offer some amount of paid vacation time for full time drivers. Normally one week is the minimum but you may not qualify for it until after 6 months or, not uncommonly, after 1 year. Many companies (but from all) now provide two weeks, but again the qualification period may be only after starting your 2nd, 3rd or 4th year with the company. Vacations generally have to be taken the year after completing the qualifying for it. So during your 2nd year with the company you will get the one week you earned the prior year. Vacation pay may be calculated by taking your annual earnings and paying you proportionally. Others have a set rate. The set rate could also be higher for more seniority drivers.
If a company recognizes and pays for Federal Holidays is vary subjective. The Federal government has 12 key holidays, although most USA employers only provide for 10 paid days off. Many (smaller) employers will provide for about 5 of the major ones as the only paid days. For Over The Road drivers, at some point you are going to be on the road during at least some national holidays. Depending on the company, you may be paid for the day in your paycheck when it occurs (assuming you were forced to sit because you could not load or unload) or you will be given an extra day you can take off during the year (a flex/personal day). Not all companies even pay for holidays, they just give you the opportunity to not have to work.
With the amount of information available on line about different plans, there is no reason for me to discuss this. Also with all the rapid changing conditions, by the time I finished typing this, it would be changed. The important part is to understand what the company pays for. Just you. You and 1 or 2 dependents? Do you have the option to pay for additional coverages? Health insurance packages have many options so read them carefully.
Again, this is covered a lot in the news. Your coverage may include family members and if you have kids you will want to be certain to Orthodontics and Braces coverage, even if you have to pay the extra premiums yourself.
Short Term Disability
Short Term Disability can provide an income in the event you are disabled and can not work because of an accident. Short Term Disability will generally not pay over 1 year but policies vary greatly. Short Term Disability may pay your full [expected] salary while others pay only a portion. Truck driving is a hazardous job. If given the opportunity to get disability pay, it is strongly recommended, even if you have to pay the premiums. Every year, drivers are injured when opening the doors to their trucks from cargo falling that has shifted during transit.
Long Term Disability
Long Term Disability
Long Term Disability Pay will pay you a salary replacement in the event you have a more serious illness or injury. These can pay as little as 50% to 75% of your lost salary but that is better then nothing. Depending on your job, Long Term Disability may be more important (flatbed, heavy haul, specialized, etc) exposes the driver to more hazardous conditions. However, just the fact that you are spending all day on the road (accidents happen!), you are routinely getting in and out of the truck cab, hooking and unhooking trailers and being around moving equipment unloading and unloading cargo, you are at more risk then an office job.
What would happen to your family if you were killed or died suddenly? Many people understand the importance of life insurance to provide some security to their family in the event of the loss of life. Life insurance is not as common in trucking, but it may be available through a group plan with the company and you should strongly consider it.
Repeating comments that I have already made: different companies will offer vastly different benefits (or even none at all) and you will want to get information in writing. Some benefits require premiums to be paid and you should know what, if anything, the company is paying. Trucking is hazardous work and having medical insurance, short and long term disability insurance is strongly recommended.