As full-time employees, nurses are eligible for a variety of benefits that, when broken down into monetary value, can make a substantial difference in salary. From medical benefits to paid time off, these benefits make an already attractive job even more desirable. Depending on the employer, some benefits do not apply until nurses have worked 90 days.
Full-time registered nurses are eligible for comprehensive medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance. Malpractice insurance may also be provided. Many employers provide life insurance and long-term care insurance programs as well. Insurance plans and costs vary by employer.
Nurses accrue vacation time with each hour worked. The average nurse receives two weeks of paid vacation time per year, according to PayScale. Available vacation days often display on pay stubs to ensure nurses are aware of the vacation time earned. Depending on the employer, vacation time may expire. Other nurses may be compensated monetarily for the value of the vacation hours not used.
Registered nurses do not need to use vacation days if they must serve jury duty. They are also eligible for overtime pay when they work on scheduled holidays.
Average sick time for nurses is about 40 hours per year. Short-term disability is often available and pays two-thirds of a nurse’s salary . Some employers pay short-term disability for an average of up to 26 weeks. In some locations, short-term disability is provided by the state. For example, California offers a state plan that covers the majority of California employees who are unable to work for eight days straight.
Long-term disability is available for nurses who have worked in the same hospital for a predetermined number of continuous years. Long-term disability pays 60 percent of a nurse’s salary up to age 65.
Hospitals often pay 100 percent of tuition reimbursement for registered nurses who seek continued education in a specialized area. Some employers set a predetermined amount for tuition reimbursement. Others reimburse for tuition on a sliding scale based upon the grades nurses earn in each class.
Nurses are also eligible for retirement packages, such as 401k or 403b. Nurses can determine how much money to deduct from each paycheck that will be deposited into retirement funds. Depending upon the employer, some organizations match the contribution. For example, a hospital may contribute 50 cents for each dollar a registered nurse reserves for retirement.
2016 Salary Information for Registered Nurses
Registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $68,450 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, registered nurses earned a 25th percentile salary of $56,190, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $83,770, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 2,955,200 people were employed in the U.S. as registered nurses.