what can I negotiate other than salary?

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

I probably wouldn’t be the only one interested in hearing what people have successfully negotiated for other than money.

I‘ve been in a few situations, both at my current and at former jobs, where I was told a raise or bonus wasn’t possible (bad economic climate, general salary structure, etc.), and I keep wondering what, then, would be creative things to ask for — especially if you‘re not high up enough to ask for something big like a company car, etc.

A few things that worked for me have been “I‘d like to go to this one big industry conference“ or “I‘d like to do two weeks of paid professional training per year” (which I suspect were granted because the money comes from a different budget than salary). I‘m sure many of your readers have been successful negotiating other non-salary things and I‘d love to hear which of their ideas I might be able to copy.

Readers, what have you successfully negotiated that wasn’t money, and how did you do it?

{ 195 comments… read them below }

  1. UKgreen*

    A few years ago I was denied a pay rise, but managed to get my employer to pay for two training courses (about £850 each) and give me a few hours study leave each month to complete them. Quite a good deal, as I used the skills I’d gained to leave and join a company that actually paid its staff better!

    1. Silence Will Fall*

      I did a similar thing. The company already had a tuition reimbursement system in place, but I was able to negotiate attending one class per semester during working hours (approx. 4 hr/week). It allowed me to finish my degree and build some new skills. It also put me in a much better position to leave a few years later.

    2. Kuddel Daddeldu*

      Same here.
      During my career, I had negotiated
      – a better laptop
      – equipment for my work-from-home location (waaaaay before Covid)
      – an executive-MBA-like course at a very prestigious US university (total expenses in the same ballpark as 4 months salary+benefits, plus the time spent, fully paid)
      – a signing bonus
      A coworker negotiated an annual unlimited national railway ticket as his girlfriend at the time lived 500km (300 miles) away; 3.5 hours by high-speed train each way every weekend.
      Often, any kind of one-time expense is easier to get than a raise, as it does not establish a new baseline for the next rise (but for that very reason also less valuable to you).
      Negotiating for something that your manager can claim also benefits the company is often quite easy and still make your workday better.

    3. On Fire*

      My employer has paid for a lot of training, including my professional credentials and membership in my professional organization. If I ever leave here, that’s something I plan to negotiate for in my next job.

    4. Midlife Newbie*

      This is a great idea! We recently had our PTO decreased (grr) and I’m going to pitch this idea to my boss.

  2. HoHumDrum*

    – vacation days
    – remote work/flexible schedule
    – recognition of one’s work for a professional conference board and ample time allowed to do that work
    – bringing dog to work

      1. Bunny Girl*

        Saaame. That would make me the happiest. I know having a dog at the office can cause some problems but my dog is one of the biggest joys in my adult life and I hate spending so much time away from him.

      2. Ask A Manatee*

        Multiple times I’ve successfully negotiated for more PTO by first asking for a raise that I knew wouldn’t be approved, then settling for my “second choice” of more PTO. Which of course is what I really wanted.

    1. Sloanicota*

      A delayed start date! That wouldn’t work for everyone, but it was what I wanted most. I negotiated a month off between jobs and it was amaaaazing.

    2. The Person from the Resume*

      – remote work/flexible schedule
      That’s what I was thinking. Influenced by company culture obiously, but something that would be important to me.

      – vacation days
      I hae never done this as lifelong federal employee, but I have heard mention of it. (I now get a very good number of vacation days due to my tenure.) To this I feel like you need to work in place that doesn’t have set PTO schedule (which concerns me) or you need to neogiate yourself up the a higher tier when you would otherwise not meet it.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I have never successfully negotiated vacation days TBH, in part because it would probably annoy everyone else if someone who just started had a non-standard number of days – but I have seen it done once where there were graduated PTO days by years of service, and the applicant negotiated to skip the first year. They had a good reason, which is that they used to work at the same org in another capacity so they asked for their seniority to “count.”

        1. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

          I recently started a new job. At my previous position I had 4 weeks vacation. As a new hire I would only be entitled to 2 at my new job. I decided to be a bit more flexible on the salary and got 4 weeks instead

      2. Fed Employee*

        Assuming US federal employee, but you could get a time off award. It wouldn’t be permanent, but it would help you out in a given year.

      3. Sbc*

        I negotiated leave time when joining the federal government…opm has a program where prior work experience can count towards your years of service for leave accrual, but not all agencies will allow it and it has to be worked out before you start. In previous jobs I have negotiated job title and start date.

  3. lblakely*

    When I took my current job, I negotiated for additional PTO — essentially jumping from what we give entry-level people to someone who has been at the company for 4 years. People I work with have also negotiated for equity in the company, which I’ve been told is easier for the company to agree to then a raise or a bonus in a lot of cases!

    1. Hlao-roo*

      I have also negotiated for extra vacation time. I had 15 vacation days at the job I was looking to leave, and the company I got an offer from started people at 10 vacation days. I told the HR recruiter “I have 15 vacation days at my current job; would it be possible for you to match that?” The recruiter responded “let me check” and got in touch with me the next day to say that yes, I would start with 15 vacation days.

      1. kendall^2*

        I did this also!

        It was my first time negotiating, and I was really excited it worked, even though in retrospect, it wasn’t a big ask.

      2. Just Another Cog*

        I got extra PTO, too. I had worked for the competitor for a lot of years and had 21 days of PTO. New employer would have started me at their standard 10 days for a newbie, but I asked for a PTO and salary match and they were able to make it as if I was a 10 year employee with 24 days off. I would have never even tried to get more than the ten days if I hadn’t been a reader of this blog.

    2. Zach*

      I’m assuming you’re talking about an established company that’s publicly traded, but just in case, do be careful with requesting equity in lieu of a salary increase. Startups love to offer stock options and equity as a big incentive, but there is a huge chance (pretty much like 99%) that they will end up being worth nothing unless you’re working at a unicorn startup that ends up becoming the next big thing. Definitely don’t turn them down if they’re part of an offer or raise, but consider them to be worth $0.

      Again, if you’re at a company with publicly traded stocks, that advice doesn’t apply as those stocks are actually worth money.

      1. Jiminy cricket*

        Also, be 100% sure you know the tax implications of those options. You may owe taxes on them at unexpected (to the layperson) times.

        1. cabbagepants*

          Curious if this is a non US thing? I’m in the US and while holding stock did add a few forms to my tax return, the taxes were still due on the typical schedule.

          1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

            I think Jimini meant that they may be taxable even when any (book) profits are not realized, i.e., you have not sold any stock so there’s no money from them in the bank. So you might have to pay real taxes on some “virtual” money.
            I’m by no means a tax expert, but I fared quite well to expect that practically anything to do with money may have tax consequences so if substantial money is involved, I’d get advice and/or read up on the matter.

          2. Cookie monster*

            I suspect it is because the granted shares are reflected on your W2 as pay, even if they are restricted and unvested, so you owe taxes on them as if they are salary but can’t actually exercise them until they vest which could be years (and also they could be worthless by then)
            I see it a lot on the W2s of big tech people (Google, ebay, amazon) as part of my job. for those companies it certainly is of value, but I can imagine for a less established company it could just be that you pay extra income taxes and then the co goes under and your options are worth nothing.

            1. Jiminy cricket*

              Yes, thanks, Cookie Monster and Kuddel Daddeldu. That’s what I meant (as a non-tax expert who has been surprised). It’s not that the taxes weren’t due in April, but that they were due before I saw any money in my bank account. So good to get solid advice early!

    3. Waiting on the bus*

      Vacation days is the one thing I’m always told is non-negotiable. I wonder if that flat refusal to talk about vacation day has a business reason or is just for the principle of the thing. Surely a higher negotiated salary is more expensive to the company in the long run than an additional vacation day or two?

      1. dot*

        I think it must be a principle thing, at least for a lot of places. I had an offer completely withdrawn when I tried to negotiate more vacation days (I wasn’t asking for a crazy amount or anything, I think they were only offering maybe a week and it would be like 5 years before I got any more). Ultimately was probably a bullet dodged.

        1. Agile Phalanges*

          I, too, got an offer rescinded after I asked for more vacation. I was leaving a job I’d been at for 13 years and had 5+ weeks of PTO (plus I think more company holidays than the potential new company). They were offering two weeks to start.

          I didn’t negotiate the salary amount at all, but asked if they could increase the PTO by one week (from two to three, so I was still losing 2+ weeks of time off per year). They said they’d look into it, and called me back the next day to say the offer was being rescinded.

          That job gets reposted every six months or even more often. Not sure if they have that much turnover or just aren’t finding anyone and keep refreshing it. But glad I don’t work there either way!

      2. Frank Doyle*

        Told by whom? I’ve negotiated additional vacation days with every single job offer since my first one. There’s no way I’m going back to one week of vacation at this point in my life/career.

        Unless you mean negotiating with your current job for vacation in lieu of a raise — I’ve not done that, but I can’t imagine it would be a big deal.

        1. Ellen*

          my last (bad) old job would happily have offered me 12, 14 weeks a year, I suppose, but I could not get them to approve me having 4 days in a row off with 7 month’s notice, and it is a use it or lose it company. be careful what you negotiate for.

        2. Waiting on the bus*

          During job interviews by the hiring managers. All places had a more generous amount than a week though, to be fair.

          Every place I ever interviewed for flat out said that “this is the amount of vacation days, take it or leave it” but was then open for salary negotiations.

          One place went through the trouble of coming up with a complicated “guaranteed raise by X after the probationary period, bonus structure of Y after a year” when my salary requirements were above the current budget for the role. I would have been fine with the high end of their salary offer along with a few additional vacation days but was told that vacation days are non-negotiable. They had to come up with a completely unique salary structure for me; I always wondered how that could have been the better solution for the business.

      3. StressedButOkay*

        My work couldn’t give me a raise last year due to financial hardship but when I countered with a request for more PTO, they immediately gave it to me. I was bumped up to our max number of days, a few years ahead of schedule. I’m not sure the reaction if I had asked for more than that but it’s certainly one of the things that, for me, has always been on the table to ask for.

      4. Ally McBeal*

        I’ve never heard of PTO being non-negotiable, and I’ve worked in both for-profit and non-profit entities.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          It’s been non-negotiable everywhere I’ve ever worked.

          About the best I could try to negotiate for is another week’s worth of pay and being able to take a week of Unpaid Time with Management Approval. But I’d still incur an occurrence towards job abandonment.

      5. The Person from the Resume*

        Many companies have a set number of vacation days for everyone or for everyone at a certain tier. I am sure pay systems are set to only give certain number of acation days based on the tier/catagory an employee is in. I am sure it more possible to neogiate yourself up to a higher tier than to get some extra number of days. And some companies may have a policy of sticking to their vacation policy and not deviating from it.

      6. former professor*

        I absolutely negotiated vacation time (I work for a small business), and in fact made it clear that it was more important to me than salary. In addition to 4 weeks vacation (company max) plus 5 paid holidays and 5 flex PTO days, I can take up to 2 weeks of unpaid vacation annually. (I was coming from academia, where extended time off is a big upside of the job for most faculty and the biggest thing besides tenure that I was giving up.)

      7. Ridiculous Penguin*

        I was able to get $20k more in salary when negotiating but was told that “no one [had] ever been able to get more PTO” so I didn’t push it. But between admin time, vacation time, and paid holidays, I get 32 days, so really it’s not too bad.

      8. *kalypso*

        Depends on the role – if they have to cover you when you’re not there, more vacation means having to also have enough people available to cover the extra time. If you don’t need 1:1 cover, you can delegate an important meeting every now and then or your job can wait a few days as long as deadlines are met, you can swing extra time without it affecting the business unduly.

        Like if you work on a line, someone needs to fill that spot on the line regardless of whether you’re there or not, and that’s either someone working an extra shift or someone paid to float/cover. If you work in an office and if you’re not there, anything critical gets done by your neighbour and anything else waits for your return, the business can offer you a few extra days without having to staff them.

    4. Olive*

      I negotiated additional PTO… and then less than a year later, the company bumped everyone’s PTO up by a week, so I ended up with the same amount as everyone on my level.

      I’m not… complaining. I mean, I’m glad that everyone got the better amount of PTO. But if I’d known, I’d have negotiated something else instead!

  4. Abogado Avocado*

    I am eager to hear what non-traditional items people negotiated for. My experience is rather traditional. While working a non-profit, I negotiated for training, which was wonderful for establishing contacts in, and learning more about my profession. Those contacts also paved the way for service on national boards and for requests to apply for jobs that were step-ups in position and pay.

    1. Olive*

      I negotiated for not-travel. I had in my contract that I was only required to travel a maximum of 4 weeks/year in a role that usually required extensive travel with little notice. I had some unusual skills for that department that made this possible – if I’d been early in my career, it would have been a hard no.

  5. ICodeForFood*

    I was once offered a job, and I negotiated for additional paid vacation time, because I had three weeks of paid vacation at my then-current job. The new employer wanted me badly enough that they “ran the numbers” and then offered me the job with three weeks paid vacation instead of two, and I accepted the new job.

    1. Beth*

      This is probably the #2 item I’ve heard of being negotiated — usually on the grounds of “My current job gives me x amount of PTO, and I want to start at that level here and not go back down to something smaller than x.”

      I recently used it for negotating in place, as it were — my current company has one of those “unlimited PTO” deals that are actually savagely limited under unwritten and unspoken rules. When we actually had to talk about it, I emphasized the fact that my previous job had given me 4 weeks at the time I had left it, and I was not going to accept less than that, especially given I’ve been 12 years at my CURRENT company and am now in a senior position.

  6. AnotherSarah*

    Higher moving expanses reimbursement, with fewer rules (original required a limit on how many pickups moving truck could do; I had stuff in multiple locations). This was after I got them to the max salary I knew they’d do.

    1. Bug*

      I have done something similar: asked for moving expenses and instead got more $$ which was better in the long run. It’s worth asking.

  7. GovernmentPolarBear*

    If you’re starting any job with the Government of Canada, the salary appears to be fixed according to the negotiated union contract, however depending on your experience, and how badly the manager needs you, you may be able to negotiate the Step level that you start at. Most new jobs start at the Step 1 salary for that position, but if you already have 2 years of experience doing exactly the same work (or sometimes equivalent), you can ask to start at Step 3. Managers in some departments may have discretion about how to interpret “experience” for this purpose.

    1. Fed Anon*

      You can do something similar in the US Government. Additionally, you can try to negotiate for your previous experience to count as “equivalent” to years of service in the gov, such that you accrue vacation faster (or have to serve fewer years before you begin to do so). The OMB keyword you’re looking for in that case is “creditable service.”

      The position I’m currently in didn’t agree to negotiate this with me, but it’s possible and worth asking about. I suspect they had budget constraints.

      1. Also Fed Anon*

        I was able to successfully negotiate for this when I was a new US fed gov employee. It put me into the next annual leave earning bracket, so well worth the ask in my case.

    2. CG*

      This can be true for the U.S. government too! (For U.S. federal jobs, try to negotiate grade first, then step, though, if there are multiple grades in your ladder.)

    3. Hungry Magpie*

      Yes, I did exactly this! The basis of my argument was that I had (provincial) regulatory experience, and would they consider those years of service for the steps rather than starting me on Step 1. It worked and I started at the step (7) that was just a little higher than my provincial salary (though I had to provide them with proof that that’s what I was making – fair enough!). It’s an over $20K difference from what they originally offered and I’m so grateful to my ex-federal friends for giving me the push to negotiate! Just FYI to anyone who does this, it only works for salary grid, not years of service for vacation time (alas).

    4. Kate*

      Yup! But note that this only works if you are an external candidate coming in, not an internal one. If you’re internal and changing classifications, for example, you would need to break service (which comes with its own consequences, especially on pension) and negotiate in as an external. It’s doable with a motivated manager, but complicated.

      1. spiriferida*

        There might be exceptions to this – in my case, there’s provisions that the union has negotiated, though they’re dependent on particular circumstances. If someone is hired to the same/a similar job title but at a higher grade/rate, the people who were already working there are able to reopen negotiations around their ranking.

    5. Joielle*

      Yep, similar in US state government. In my state, most everything is laid out in bargaining agreements and based on years of service (especially salary and vacation/sick days) but it’s possible to negotiate your years of service based on previous experience. We can negotiate separately on telework since that’s up to each agency’s discretion. For government jobs, I’d recommend looking at the bargaining agreement that the job is in for a better idea of what’s negotiable and what’s not.

  8. Pop*

    I haven’t had to negotiate this because it’s standard at my workplace, but in a future workplace I will definitely be bringing up a flexible schedule. I am fine mostly working 9-5 but I have a toddler and the ability to take her to doctors appointments or sign off for a few hours as needed is seriously vital for caregiving.

    1. Delta Blues*

      Yes. Flexibility during the day as it’s reasonable is amazing for any kind of caregiving.

  9. Justme, The OG*

    In the “before times” I negotiated a flexible schedule. Salary was fine but I’m a single parent who has an active kid and I wanted to make sure I could take her to extracurriculars.

  10. Clefairy*

    I’m moving out of state in August, which I’ve been planning for about a year- for my current job, which I’ve only been at a month, I went in knowing I wouldn’t accept the position (hybrid in State A) if they wouldn’t be ok with me going fully remote to move to state B later in the summer. I was up front through the interview process, and they liked me enough to make it work. Hybrid work is a big part of the culture (everyone is in office Monday, Wednesday, and if you feel like it Friday) so I’m doing that while I’m still in state A, which has been great for building relationships before I move away!

      1. Clefairy*

        OMG mine too! I feel like Clefairy never gets love, glad to meet a fellow pokemon fan of taste lmao

  11. Justin*

    -Travel (specifically that I’d need X amount of notice and couldn’t do it on certain days, though the latter has never been asked of me)
    -A title change, eventually (I got a raise regardless, but I was doing more work than my title suggested)
    -Seats in the office that would allow me to concentrate better

    1. Prospect Gone Bad*

      TBH I hate the title negotiations I’ve seen. Yes, it’s good for the person themselves, but screws up the organization chart IMO in general as well as other people they work with. I’ve worked in mostly midsize and small companies where people 100% negotiated titled and it leads to too many weird situations, like me having a lower title than someone who does basic paper pushing despite me managing a team of experienced SMEs. Then outside people go to the person with the inflated title, get frustrated and confused, then come to us, afraid to ask “why does your Director not know basic stuff about the industry?.”

      I’ve also noticed that people who negotiate a title tend to then think they are the thing they are called and it stunts their growth. Have seen it in basically every case of an inflated/negotiated title. “I’m the VP of Technology.” Great! But everyone knows more than you because you stopped growing and learning and trying the day you got the title prematurely.

      I will preemptively agree with people that it doesn’t need to be that way, but it is that way. I think people are driven by future rewards. People push back on that online but forget their own argument. Promises of future rewards are fine. It’s when managers promise them, knowing they won’t deliver, that we have the problem

      1. Prospect Gone Bad*

        There is a definite point where it can actually hurt you. It can help if your career is stagnant and you are early career. But if you’re doing individual contributor work at a satisfactory or level or slightly exceeding expectations and your company called you Director or VP of thing, future employers are going to smell BS and wonder what else the candidate is fudging or wonder if their judgment is off. I’ve worked with people with inflated job titles and rarely seen it actually help anyone unless the title was fitting and warranted. In which case the person didn’t need to negotiate. I’ve also seen it hurt people in the sense that I’ve seen people jump between multiple “Director of Strategy” type roles that are sort of vague with a fancier title than the work involves, and you wonder why the person can’t keep a job for more than a year

        Last comment on this topic becuase I wrote one above too:-). I just think people should focus more on actually becoming what they want to become, and not simply being called it

  12. JAnon*

    At one new job, I negotiated for more PTO to be in line with what I had at the job I was leaving.

    In my first role, my responsibilities kept expanding but I was at a small non-profit so more money was always hard to get. I ended up reworking my job title and description, taking it to my manager asking for those changes. He then took it to the VP, who agreed. I could not get more money but the jump in title helped me get a new role at a new company with a significant bump in pay.

  13. Mid-West Nice*

    When I was hiring in at my current role I had 2 offers. One offer was $10k higher than my preferred company. Went back to see what the preferred company could accommodate and they said that there was no additional salary available.
    Instead I asked if they could increase my starting vacation allotment from 3 weeks to 4 weeks per year to reflect my experience in the industry. They agreed to the increase and it has been wonderful having that extra week handy. Otherwise I would have had to wait 10-15 years to get that extra week.
    It worked out as that extra $10k at the other company would have been eaten up by additional taxes, health benefits, and travel costs/time.
    TL;DR – Traded a $10k salary offer from different company for an extra week of vacation per year at preferred company.

  14. my experience*

    I’ve negotiated for additional PTO, as well as a different title. I’ve also negotiated to add a preferred job responsibility to my role (The job description was a program management job, but I wanted to do evaluation work, so they agreed that could be 20% of my role. For me this let me use it as a stepping stone to my next career).

  15. TriviaJunkie*

    Currently looking for a new job, one thing I’m considering negotiating for is parental leave. My company’s leave is extremely generous, so I’d have to get a pretty good raise and good leave as well to tempt me away

  16. WavyGravy*

    This was a promotion so I knew what I wanted going in but:
    Better office
    Paid parking
    Access to company cc (it took about 4 months to get reimbursed so this was a sticking point)
    Ability to decline certain work
    Business development budget/support

    I sold this all as look this costs you very little but will make me stay and allows me to make more money for you (I don’t have to commute via bus, I can buy things without bugging you for your cc, etc.)

    1. JustaTech*

      Oh I never thought about asking for the company to pay for my parking!

      Years ago I successfully got myself a promotion (thanks to advice here) and my boss at the time kept saying “anything else?” after I’d asked for a promotion and a raise. (I also asked for the opportunity to manage a new person, but didn’t get that.) I kept thinking “what else is there to ask for?” The only thing I could think of at the time was WFH, which I didn’t want (mostly because I didn’t have a good setup at home).

  17. No Longer Working*

    I negotiated unique hours once, back in the 80s when it wasn’t a thing in my industry. An employer wanted to hire me for the night shift, and I actually enjoyed working nights, but it had left me with no social life when I had done it before. I was young! I wanted and needed to see friends! So we worked it out that I would work 8 hours on the night shift Mon-Thurs, and afternoons on Friday noon to 5:30. It worked out great for me.

    At another job later in life, I successfully asked to work 10-6 instead of 9-5. The building was open, I wasn’t alone, and there was a benefit to them in having someone in my department there for that extra hour, without having to pay overtime for it.

    I was always a bit of a night owl.

  18. JanieGrrl*

    I successfully negotiated for:
    Additional PTO
    Work from home days
    Paying for my COBRA before I was eligible to join the company’s plan.

    I’ve also seen people ask to bring their dogs to work, and limiting their on-call days.

  19. A*

    Most are saying vacation time, which I echo – I successfully negotiated extra vacation time instead of salary (started at the “been here for a few years” level of monthly accrual). If it’s important to you, you could also negotiate for a compressed schedule – four 9.5/10 hour days per week or something of the like for full-time positions (I work in a nonprofit where salaries are tight-ish but I have several colleagues who work 4 long days per week, or just work an 80% schedule with 4 regular days and 80% salary).

  20. Lynn*

    I feel like the approach to this question is backwards — LW what would be a meaningful change to your life and career, other than money? And then how can you quantify and specify that into something you can ask for?

    Sometimes I struggle with ambiguous open-ended questions; a few other ways to get your gears turning might be to ask yourself:
    -All other things equal, I would leave for an opportunity that had X / I am always intrigued when I hear about opportunities with X
    -I am really jealous of people who had Y
    -I don’t miss old job but I do miss Z
    -I really struggle right now with A at my job and wish it could be better
    -I really struggle right now with B in my personal life and wish it could be better
    -Longterm I would like more C in my job
    -Longterm I would l like more D in my personal life

    1. Lozi*

      I think this is great advice, and I’m going to remember it! I tend to just think “what could they give me” rather than “what do I long for”/”what would measurably improve my life or wellbeing.” Thanks for your perspective!

  21. mcm*

    For a remote job, I negotiated for my company to pay for a coworking space. It helped to have an idea of the cost of a coworking membership in my area so I could present a “up to $x a month.” It’s $1800 a year about that I’m not paying, and really nice for me to have somewhere else to go work.

    1. t-vex*

      This is a great idea. Honestly, it’s the only way remote work could ever work for me. I hate hate hate living in the office.

      1. mcm*

        definitely same, I realized I needed to ask about this after 2020 working from home and it’s been a game-changer. A must-have for me for any future remote positions.

  22. Laufey*

    Sometimes it can be a very specific thing.

    I ride horses as one of my main hobbies. At one point when I was only riding one or two days a week, and I was trying to avoid weekends, when there were lots of kids out and harder for the trainers to schedule horses. But working my office job meant that I could only really ride after work during the week, which meant from October to about April I was already riding in the dark, under lights. While we have fancy new electric lights now, the lights at the time ran on a generator and didn’t illuminate the whole ring. The trainers had to shout to be heard, the lights made jumping difficult, etc.

    Meanwhile, I had done work on a huge project, but the revenue from that project wasn’t going to hit to the next year and so the bonus pool was short (They did end up making it up to me financially later. I work for good people). At the same time, the head of my company was super against flex time or remote work. (He got better.)

    So I asked to come in late one day a week and make up the time by either staying late that day or spreading it across the rest of the week. With the explanation that I *really* wanted to ride during daylight at some point and that during the summer it would be nice to ride with shade in the ring. It was such a win-win for both me and the office – I got to be more flexible with my ride times, I got a surprisingly large QOL boost enjoying my rides more, and the office lost absolutely nothing.

    I was maybe three years into my career, and was (and still am) a strong example of imposter syndrome, so it felt like a huge ask for me at the time. But I’m so glad I did. Now that I’m further along along in my career I can flex my schedule a lot more, including sometimes ducking out midday to meet with traveling trainers or vets, but I absolutely see it as a great non-monetary perk that has become very important to me and I would absolutely negotiate for if I ever change companies.

    I also claim credit for getting my company to go from “first Fridays of the month and on select days before holidays that we announce, you can wear jeans” to “casual Friday every Friday.” (Basically I pointed out that people got excited when they announced it, morale had taken a hit due to some poor choices made by management around the holidays (they learned from it and didn’t do it again, but we were pissed at the time), and this small thing would cost the Company absolutely nothing. I promised we were adult enough to not abuse it, and if we needed to not wear jeans for some reason (interview days, VIP clients, whatever), we would be responsible.) It was super small, but it brought us joy.

    1. maybenotrelevant*

      I used to try to ride after work. I gave up. I ride in the morning now even if I hate my alarm clock every time it goes off. Where possible I try to not schedule meetings before 10am so that I don’t have to worry about 5 extra minutes at the barn screwing my whole day.

      A friend of mine has had every job for the last 15+ years to be “I come around 11 most days. If there is a random 8am meeting that is important, I will be there. ” She does all of her riding and farm work (owns her own place) in the morning and then works 11-7 or 12-8 most days

    2. Arthur*

      I did this for my riding too! At my 3-month review in a new position, I was able to negotiate two hours of flex time each week, which I used to allow me to get to the barn in the morning to ride before work one morning/week. I started with a trial month, and didn’t specify with my manager what the flex time was for. During that month, I found that not only did my QOL improve with the extra riding opportunities, but in my entry-level job that involved frequent interruptions during business hours, having two hours a week that I was working outside of regular business hours gave me a chance to do deep work that was quite difficult during a regular workday, and ultimately helped me to my job better.

      After the trial month, I told my manager both the reason for the request and what I’d learned about the improvement in my work outcomes, and now I’m able to keep the flex time indefinitely.

      It’s been just over a year now, and the flex time is still going strong. It’s amazing what a difference two hours a week can make! The flex time has been useful to me both personally and professionally, and has also given me a lot of goodwill towards my workplace.

  23. BeckaBeeBoo*

    Things I’ve successfully negotiated, or others I have worked with have negotiated for in lieu of salary raises (Note, I work in the nonprofit field):
    *More PTO
    *a 4/10 work schedule (work 10 hours M-TH, get every Friday off)
    *Higher percent of medical benefits covered for dependents (from 50% to 75%)
    *Higher company match on retirement plan
    *paid time off to volunteer/sit on Boards of other organizations
    *Paid conferences
    *Work paying for single rooms instead of requiring I share a room (single rooms should be the norm though BTW!) when traveling
    *Paid time off during slower season to attend certificate or other learning program
    *Student loan repayment support
    *Company cell phone and company paid plan (instead my using my own and getting reimbursed for part of my bill)

  24. Snubble*

    In my industry pay scales are generally VERY rigid, so salary is known to both parties from the moment you apply. Working patterns are the big target for us. Senior management generally will agree on nine-day fortnights, where they’ll make up 7.5 hours over the course of two weeks and take a day to balance it. I’ve negotiated for that even when I was the department admin, it’s quite well-established as a working pattern. People work early mornings so they can clock off at 3 and go get the kids, or limit the amount of overnight and lates they’ll work.
    Besides that, annual leave can be a target – not so much how many days you get, which is usually an organisation-wide policy, but when and how much at a time, and whether you can carry days over at the end of the year. Two weeks is the normal limit for continuous leave, but when people have family in other parts of the world that they want to visit without spending the whole time on planes and jet leg, getting prior agreeement for three weeks can be a perk.

    1. Snubble*

      Oh – part-time! No use to me personally as I need the full-time salary, but for people whose finances allow it, applying for a job advertised as full-time and negotiating it down to 27 or 30 hours a week is a common tactic. It doesn’t usually work the other way around, because part-time positions don’t have the funding to be increased to full-time, but 80% of a salary for 80% of a person is sometimes acceptable to employers.

      1. BubbleTea*

        The place I used to work at offers this as standard – they recruit most roles as full or part time and applicants are asked what hours they’d prefer once the offer has been made. They’re very family friendly, but you don’t have to have family reasons.

      2. Cedrus Libani*

        I have a friend who did this recently – he wanted a 3.5 day per week schedule, and he was willing to take a proportional pay cut to get it. It took several failed negotiations, but he did eventually find a taker.

  25. Cat Lady in the Mountains*

    I’ve negotiated PTO, flex scheduling, remote work/relocation, access to meetings/strategy conversations that my role wouldn’t traditionally have, title changes (not title bumps – just changes that would better position me to get a higher paying job in the future), more resources for my team, professional dev opportunities (both conferences etc. and more informal things like “I want to connect with Person CEO Knows and I need an intro), better office space, other types of leave beyond traditional PTO (like non-vacation PTO for volunteer opportunities that relate to my position/field), time-and-a-half comp time for evening/weekend work.

  26. Sometimes I Wonder*

    As a shop steward I negotiated contracts, so I’ve negotiated everything and I know, deep in my self confidence, that everything is negotiable. As an individual at non-union jobs, I’ve negotiated additional paid vacation, flexible hours, paid training (both the training cost and the training time), reimbursed educational expense (tuition & books, didn’t have to be job-relevant), paid supplies (I am a notary, they pay for my seal and my journal), and additional retirement plan contribution.

  27. M*

    Schedule: in a place that was running 7 days, nobody wanted to work Sundays. I negotiated having a consistent schedule where I got Friday and Saturday off because I took the Sundays. I was pretty much the only one with a set schedule.

  28. bamcheeks*

    Biggest one was paying for my ongoing postgraduate professional training, which was probably about £8-12k. The same company later paid for a day’s childcare for me when I had to change my working day to cover an event. I don’t think either of these things was supposed to be done according to company policy– the latter definitely wasn’t, and I got a, “We’ll pay for this THIS time, but never again” from Finance — but I had very irresponsible bosses who liked saying yes because it was easy and I certainly was not above taking advantage of that.

    Not exactly a negotiation but in my last two jobs I’ve applied for a full-time role and then asked if I can be 0.8 when offered the job, and that’s been accepted both times.

  29. BellyButton*

    Development (training/education), conferences, and fees/membership into a professional organization. It benefits you and the employer and like mentioned it often comes from a different budget.

  30. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    Worked for several employers (government contractors) that awarded vacation time based on seniority.
    <5 years, 2 weeks/year
    5-10 years, 3 weeks/year
    11+ years, 4 weeks/year

    I negotiated up one tier – it was actually a very easy ask, as it's pretty common in that industry, where people often jump ship, or they come in with 20+ years of experience in the military.

    1. Caramel & Cheddar*

      I did this in my most recent job, where I knew coming in that I’d be starting at 2 weeks and I wanted three because that’s what I had at my old job. I got it.

      The other option is asking for a match (or more!) of what your vacation allotment was at your last job, though there you’d have to make sure that this new amount is not uncommon for your sector/role/whatever. If I’d tried to negotiate four weeks as an increase to the three weeks I had the old job, I definitely wouldn’t have gotten it because almost no one has 4 weeks unless they’ve been there for 20+ years.

  31. Someone Else's Boss*

    I have negotiated schedule changes, pto, company cell phone credit, and a transportation allowance in years past. I had one employer tell me yes but only for that year (in that case it was pto) and the next year they gave me a raise instead.

  32. Bob's my uncle*

    Free childcare (employer ran a pre-school)
    Down payment assistance on a home (forgivable at $x per year over y years)
    Extra PTO
    Parental leave
    Additional relocation assistance
    Additional professional development funds

    1. BubbleTea*

      Free childcare would be MASSIVE. A full time nursery place costs more than a minimum wage salary.

  33. Nea*

    Paid time off mostly, although I have also negotiated for companies to pay my membership in a rather pricy professional organization as well.

    A combination of “what have I got to lose?” and Alison’s advice gave me the courage to ask for the same PTO people get after 20 years when I was negotiating with my current employer. I got it.

  34. Keyboard Cowboy*

    When I left Subsidiary of Mega Tech Company in order to join Big Tech Company, I negotiated stock grant vesting schedules, citing that I was walking away just after the end of my 1 year unvested window at Mega Tech Company and didn’t want to wait another year at Big Tech Company to start being able to cash out my stock units.

    Extra context for folks outside of Big Tech/other giant publicly traded corpos: most FAANG-esque companies pay around 1/3-1/2 of comp in the form of stock grants; you get some at your start date and (often) get a refresh annually with more stocks. They don’t vest immediately – given a grant of ~80 units, you might wait a year while these are unvested, and then you might vest 5 units every 3 months for the next 4 years after. While they are unvested, you can’t sell them, and when you stop working somewhere your unvested stock goes back to the company, so you don’t really have those stocks until the vesting schedule hits. Your annual stock refreshes work this way too – it’s a sort of “golden handcuffs lite”.

    Anyway, it basically meant that I was negotiating to get an extra ~20k in my first year at the company (instead of waiting a year to start getting any). Felt pretty happy with that one ;)

  35. Name*

    A coworker is leaving for another position. He was able to negotiate for what he’s currently making (posted salary was less) plus they matched his annual vacation/sick days (he got ~25 per year & 10 can rollover to the next year), current employer contribution match, and current work holidays. May not be much but it was good for him.

  36. Spicy Tuna*

    I was able to get my job to pay for a leadership development program.

    I was up for a promotion at the time. The job was a new position and they were actively searching for people with experience in the role outside of the company. In the meantime, I was doing the new role (there were some time sensitive items that needed to get done for compliance) and my current job. It was taking a long time for them to hire for the new role (like, months and months) and I was getting frustrated because so much time had passed, I was effectively doing the new job.

    My plan was to do the leadership development program in order to network and build my resume in the event they ended up hiring someone else. As it turns out, they paid for the leadership development program AND I was promoted. Plus, I met my spouse at the program. Win-win-win

  37. LlamaRegret*

    I’m curious if anyone has any luck negotiating salary and/or additional training AFTER you’ve been on the job for a few months. Long story short – I accepted the salary on the basis of what I was told I would be doing, but since starting I’ve learned that the responsibilities include much more than disclosed (think hired for a Llama Manager only to learn that you’re expected to manage the llamas AND sell them AND get new buyers).

    1. LlamaRegret*

      I should add that other “Llama Branches” have separate people who manage, sell, and get new buyers!

    2. coffee*

      I’ve had luck with requesting additional training, since it’s clearly going to benefit the business. Being able to point to specific training programs with specific costs will help you make your case. Ideally, get something that will lead to a certificate at the end. If your coworkers have been on any similar courses (e.g. same course, same training company, or same level of certification) then that will add weight to your request.

  38. Taking the long way round*

    My employers have paid me for a generous grant towards an external qualification, and an 18-month work apprenticeship leading to a diploma (2 separate things).
    They’re very good with learning and development, which is good because they don’t do salary raises based on performance!

  39. Former Retail Lifer*

    I work in property management, where we have to keep open office hours and be here for move-ins and tours as well as fix stuff so we can’t negotiate remote work, and PTO is not negotiable. However, our maintenance guys have negotiated things like a different work schedule (mine does 7-4 to avoid rush hour instead of 8-5; several have done 4 10 hour days instead of 5 8 hour days when they have enough staff to cover the rest) or a better apartment discount (50% off or free, vs. the usual 20%). Once you get to a certain job title you’re unofficially expected to travel locally to help other sites with coverage and training. I negotiated no travel since Teams and Zoom exist for training and I can assist with coverage by checking email, voicemail, and leads remotely.

  40. Ialwaysforgetmyname*

    After being at a company that required me to maintain my HR certification but didn’t do much to support me in that, at my next job I negotiated that the company would pay for a multi-day HR conference at least every other year.

  41. Goodbye Consulting*

    I negotiated a signing bonus when I’d be leaving in between the end of the year and when my annual bonus would be paid out, saying that it essentially meant I’d be missing out on a year of bonus potential.

    I’ve also been able to get approval to dip into PTO early for a planned vacation.

  42. Hanners*

    I’ve negotiated for a cell phone stipend before, instead of being on the organization’s cell plan.
    I’ve also seen a coworker hired at below the minimum rate (due to lacking experience), but awarded raises at the 3 and 6 month marks based on performance to get him up to the minimum.

  43. Tasha*

    I had to repay my former employer for some tuition reimbursement because I hadn’t stayed long enough, but my new employer reimbursed me.

    1. physicsphysicsphysics*

      That’s lovely! I negotiated to get a free masters through my new job when my last job wouldn’t help.

  44. KToo*

    Mine is unique because I was laid off, then re-hired at the same job just a couple of months later. I was not able to negotiate the same salary fully – I lost the merit increases I had accumulated over the 2 or 3 years they had been offered (because I had been paid a good severance that was more than equivalent) but was able to start at the same base instead of new hire base. I was able to negotiate to keep my seniority (at the time 8 years), my vacation (5 weeks), and my title. Then I was able to get my manager – who had specifically asked for me to come back – to give me access to work from home, which I used when my kids were little and had days off or were sick. The extra benefits of the vacation time and remote work made up for the lowered income, and the seniority means I’ve been able to access rewards and benefits at my full tenure earlier than if I had started over.

  45. Jennifer Strange*

    About two years ago I asked for a raise. They weren’t able to meet the number I named, but to make up the difference they offered me the ability to work from home whenever I wanted. Also, while not an “official perk” my boss is extremely understanding and allowing of flexibility (not just for me but my whole team). While I probably am going to start looking for other opportunities with more money (can’t pay the bills with flexibility, unfortunately!) these allowances have done a bit to help me feel more appreciated in my work.

  46. Ranon*

    – Hiring bonus after they’d maxed out on salary (since they’re not committing to an ongoing expense much easier to negotiate)
    – 80% schedule (commensurate reduction in pay but full benefits)

  47. Berlina*

    I was able to lower my hours while being paid the same amount as before. The bosses told me they didn’t have a larger budget, but working half a day less each week was possible and even IMPROVED my productivity.

  48. Annie Monymous*

    Expanded medical coverage for my partner who was in the process of immigrating and had a serious illness. Three months were covered and after that employees’ dependents were expected to be far enough along in the immigration process to be eligible for government coverage. However in practical terms, applications took a lot longer than three months to be processed. Because of my partner’s illness, he wasn’t able to buy private coverage. It was a make or break situation that didn’t come up until I’d already started work at the new place, because an interruption in treatment would have been life threatening for him. The company was able to make an exception to grant him longer than three months of coverage. (It worked out to a little over a year before the immigration application went through.)

  49. Jiminy cricket*

    When I was told there was no money for raises, I said, “Okay, I’ll take the value of the raise I want as PTO, but I want to make sure that that value is still considered the next time COL adjustments and other raises come around.” It was a small company, so they were able to do that.

    So, for ease of math, let’s say I was making $52,000/year. Instead of a raise, I took an additional week of PTO. But when they gave everyone a COL increase the next year, I made sure that was based on $53,000, not $52,000.

    PTO is, of course, incredibly valuable to me, but I didn’t want it to hold back my earning potential over time. (Especially since I was the only one to hold my position, the amount of work was fixed, and nobody did my work while I was away, so it should have been entirely immaterial to the owners how much vacation I took, since I had to get everything done anyway. But I digress.)

  50. DivergentStitches*

    Having the company pay for a big credential like the PHR, CPP, etc. Many companies will, but sometimes if it’s not 100% applicable they may hem and haw.

    I’d love to get a PM certification even though it’s not applicable to my current job; it’s applicable to the job I’d like to move to within my current company.

  51. Joy Maggs*

    Yes, like others responding I have negotiated a lot of “perks” to offset my average salary. I have generous PTO, company-paid health insurance, flexible hours, and yes, I bring my dog to work with me anytime I want!

  52. hellohello*

    This might have been easier/more common when the pandemic had pushed so many people into work from home, but for people who do work from home all or part time, you could potentially negotiate for a home office stipend. When I started my current job I received a one time $1000 stipend to upgrade my home office setup, which was really helpful in getting a desk that’s actually big enough to work on effectively and a new, better office chair.

  53. Allison H*

    I negotiated working from home, going to the gym during business hours while working from home, longer lunches to go to yoga at three separate jobs.

  54. mythopoeia*

    Early salary review. I was entry level and the salary was very low, even for entry level. They weren’t willing to raise my starting salary but they were willing to give me my first salary review at 6 months instead of 12. Helped bump up what I was making to “slightly less underpaid” for months 6–12 and meant that my raise at 12 months was a % of a slightly greater number than it would have been otherwise.

  55. vox pox*

    great question. i’d ask for flexibility in scheduling (4/10s, off every other friday, hour changes), more work from home flexibility. training or education reimbursement is a good one too. or if the reason you can’t get salary adjustments is budget – get a commitment for a salary review at a reasonable follow up date.

  56. Bex (in computers)*

    Partially because money has always seemed scarier to ask for than other things (why?!?! why do I do this to myself?!?!), I have in the past successfully negotiated for the following non-monetary items (standard):
    – Work from home days (these are great; just giving up the commute feels like a special treat)
    – Additional training programs (I work in IT, so I’ve been able to get some server training on new equipment, etc)
    – Adjustment to dress code – again, I work in IT. This was in a professional office where I literally never interacted with anyone else face to face but was still required to be fancy. I offered to use a side entrance and keep a nice outfit in the office if ever needed, but got to come in in jeans and a T-shirt
    – More flexible work schedule

    Some of the less standard items I’ve successfully requested in lieu of an actual raise have included my preferred coffee/snack brands and choices in the office, bring my pet to work (while I was fostering small kittens who needed lots of care), and for one small home inspection company where I knew the owner had a connection to the local hockey team, a few home ticket games.

    In each of those, it was about what would make me more comfortable or more happy if I couldn’t get more money. (Almost) always, more money is the best choice, but if that’s not up, look for something else that you’ll like.

    1. BubbleTea*

      Depending on your commute, working from home could be worth more than money! I was spending about £250 a month on commuting, and I’d have had to have a massive raise to get that in additional salary.

  57. RedinSC*

    I have negotiated additional PTO, a former colleague of mine negotiated for his family to have health care at no cost to him. I thought that was a good one.

  58. Macs for life*

    Technology! Up until now I had only ever worked at places with terrible computers and other tech and just assumed I had to live with it. I had constant issues with my laptop at my last company, and they wouldn’t replace it, so I was FLOORED when I found out that one of my coworkers who started after me had refused to take the job unless they gave her a Mac. I now work somewhere with good technology and I will never take another job unless they can assure me that I’ll get a Macbook or something comparable – it makes a HUGE difference.

  59. Haven’t picked a username yet*

    I have negotiated vacation time (a full additional week since it was laughably low for my experience and the industry.

    And I have had employees ensure their certification related trainings and memberships will be included and paid for. This is where those certifications are a benefit to my team but I don’t require them.

  60. S*

    Looks like most of these answers are framed as things you can negotiate for when you’re taking a new job, but recall that you can negotiate at any time with your current employer! About a year ago, I took an entirely new job with my company. It helps that there’s an existing program to move people around, but it still took a fair amount of finesse!! What I got out of it was: same salary, same seniority, same network, ENTIRELY NEW CAREER. I knew I wanted a change, I really took my time exploring the company (while still kicking a$$ at my job) to figure out where I wanted to go, but I’m sooooo glad I did it. It’s been a really wonderful change!!

    I’ve also known someone who negotiated a competing job offer into raise, promotion, AND moving away from a toxic boss.

  61. Girasol*

    A friend negotiated an agreement that she would never be denied her request for two weeks off for hunting season. She was only partially successful. As soon as a reorganization put her under a different manager, about three years in, the offer was rescinded.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, that’s where having employment contracts as in most of Europe helps, because you negotiate the contract with the employer rather than an individual manager. Granted, this also means that there’s usually a lot less leeway for negotiating benefits and salary, but at least anything you’ve negotiated can’t be unilaterally rescinded by the next manager.

  62. Keymaster of Gozer*

    I managed to get a certain amount of days off due to sickness to be not counted toward my performance review.

    Let me clarify this. In this firm if you are off ill more than 3 times a year then they raise it at your performance review as an issue, regardless of the length of time off or reason. Mostly it’s not an issue and doesn’t rise to being put on a PIP unless it’s more than 10 times.

    I’m disabled with a LOT of things wrong with me, ranging from psychiatric problems to physical disabilities that require walking aids and near constant painkillers for me to have anything like a normal life.

    The firm doesn’t know about the psychiatric stuff (technically they DO know what meds I am on but that information never leaves HR) but the physical stuff I pointed out does mean that some days I’m in pretty bad shape. Because I discussed this with them right at the start, and that this is a fairly decent firm, they said that 3 times a year wouldn’t be the boundry for it to be raised in a performance review – instead it would be 10 to be discussed and if I’m off for more than a month cumulative only then would it be raised.

  63. kiki*

    I’ve successfully negotiated for more PTO and more flexibility with WFH.
    For PTO, I was moving from a company where I had about 5 weeks of PTO to one where I would start with 2. I successfully negotiated to 5 to match what I previously had. Time off is really important to me, so I was not at all willing to take a role where my PTO would be less than I had before. This was more difficult to negotiate because HR was worried about how other people with less PTO would feel if they found out I had more. In the end, they gave me what I wanted, but I could tell it took them a while to feel okay doing this. I don’t think this created any issues longterm.

    For WFH, this was pre-pandemic. I was able to negotiate a flexible schedule where I could work remotely 2 days per week and some additional time around the holidays. It was actually pretty easy to negotiate this, but I think my role also lent itself to remote work.

    1. kiki*

      Also start date! I’ve before starting that job, I was able to take a month off and decompress. That was excellent considering part of the reason I wanted to move from my old job was burnout.

  64. managergirl*

    I was given a promotion, moving from 0 direct reports to 4. I got a significant pay bump but couldn’t get a title change due to my current title being overinflated pre-promotion, which our new HR was cracking down on. So I negotiated to take the one empty office we had left even though they were reserved for directors usually (I am a manager), arguing that I needed the privacy for all the 1/1 convos I would be having with my direct reports. It has been such a help for my mental health to not be in the cube farm anymore!

  65. Christmas Carol*

    When already employed and going for a new employer I’ve always asked for:

    Coverage for my premiums for medical coverage until my new insurance kicks in, and if it’s late in the insurance year, coverage for my deductable.

    Vacation based on my current senority, not as a new hire, and the ability to use it without a lengthly waiting period.

    I’ve never been denied either of these requests.

  66. purple nematoad*

    This was part of my hiring negotiations (so it might be harder to do once you had the job), but I negotiated a longer paid maternity leave since I was anticipating being pregnant. They added 4 additional weeks not just for me, but made it company standard for everyone going forward.

  67. *kalypso*

    I think it really depends what the job is. I’ve negotiated starting day (to accommodate medical appointments), professional training (in preparation for a promotion that evaporated when the manager did), an office key instead of having to wait to be let in, extra stationery (instead of pursuing formal accommodations admin were given an unofficial limit on personal stationery orders for things like wrist rests and glare protectors), cross-training, and extra paid sick leave.

    In my current job, which is the same role at a different company, I negotiated WFH full time and they gave me a brand new laptop because I didn’t push for a WFH office setup. It was more like ‘I’m willing to WFH and work evenings if you need stuff done overnight’ and they were like ‘great, WFH and here are your hours’, super painless. But in another company or a different role that might have worked out the opposite way.

  68. OrdinaryJoe*

    This is a weird one but was important for me … the ability to use my own credit cards for hotels and airlines and not the company card. I had to be reimbursed but that was always within two weeks and not a problem. But, using my own cards really upped my earned points and status at hotels, car rentals, and airlines — all things that were important to make my work travel better and the points could be used for my own personal travel.

  69. Kate*

    I negotiated preservation of the vacation time I had had approved at my old job, even though it was during new company’s high season.

    (Basically I had three weeks vacation booked for their busy time of year — September — and asked that if they wanted me to start before then, my vacation be protected)

  70. Dragonfly7*

    In my low-level government position, there weren’t a lot of things that could formally be negotiated like salary or amount of vacation time, it is what it is, but some things that did work out:
    – my role included both public facing and non-public facing duties. When I was taking classes, my manager scheduled my off desk time in large chunks so I could focus and study when my other duties were complete.
    – Taking vacation in time increments that normally wouldn’t be allowed. Think usually being required to take 4 hours in one chunk, etc. I had saved ALL of my vacation time for a planned trip that had to be canceled but then only had 2 months to use it up. I arranged to work 6-hour days nearly the rest of the summer.

  71. Nonny-nonny-non*

    I negotiated for relocation expenses.
    I was staying in the same company, and under the same direct manager, but moving 350+ miles to a different site. Typically there is no relocation available for people in my pay-band, but while the move was something I wanted (due to location, rather than problems with my old site), it wasn’t anything I could afford.
    My new site was badly in need of someone like me, while my old site had a much simpler set-up and so could recruit a ‘me-lite’ without too much difficulty, so it was very much to both the company’s and my advantage to make the move happen, and my manager went to bat for me to get a relocation package.

  72. Somewhere in Texas*

    My favorite is always a different “work schedule,” but not in the “I come in early and leave early” vein. In the jobs my family has had we’ve had a few good schedules–ranked by preference:

    -9/80: Over the course of 2 weeks, you work 80 hours in 9 days. In practice it’s slightly shorter lunches and every other Friday off. Regular 3 day weekends is a dream.
    -4/10s: 4 day workweek but working 10-hour days.
    – 19/30: Taking a shorter lunch each day with a floating free day each month to even it out. Nice, but less structured.
    -1/2 Day Fridays: Self-explanatory, but not as useful in practice.

  73. Red*

    Not me but a friend and former co-worker of mine was able to negotiate one Wednesday off every month in order to attend her craft guild meetings.

  74. As You Wish*

    I was able to negotiate a title bump from Director to Senior Director before accepting an offer at a big multinational corp. I was actually fine with the pay, but the lower title didn’t accurate reflect the job responsibilities, and more importantly (to me!) it would have looked to outsiders as if I’d taken a demotion on my resume. Turned out the company didn’t care what title was on the business card as long as I remained “level x” in their back office HR systems for some bureaucratic hierarchy purposes. When I eventually moved on, the more senior title allowed me to be considered for VP roles at the next job.

  75. Port*

    Here’s a trick one perhaps: Suppose you want to take off for Jewish holidays (both days Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur at minimum) without using vacation days. Currently I work at a Jewish organization so it’s not an issue (though tbf I manage all our programming for those so I am on my feet all day anyway), but what to expect if I go somewhere secular?

    1. AnonWorker*

      Posted this below but meant to post it as a reply: One thing I’ve seen companies do is offer “floating holidays” for people to take time off for days that have religious, personal, or cultural significance and not have it counted against PTO. At an old job, we were offered two floating holidays and people took them for the Jewish High Holidays, Eid, other non-Christian holdiay celebrations. Folks who where atheist or Christian often used the days for their or their children’s birthdays. They weren’t PTO because they couldn’t be rolled over or paid out.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      I (and others on this thread) have successfully negotiated for more vacation time. For myself, it was strictly about having more secular vacation days, but you could explain that you want three (or however many) more days for Jewish holidays.

      Most places I have worked have also offered floating holidays (anywhere from 1 to 4 per year, depending on the company). If they offered 3 or 4, they may expect you to take floating holidays for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. If they only offer 1 or 2, you could try to negotiate for more floating holidays instead of negotiating for vacation days.

      One of my family members works at a relatively small company (~50 employees) and one of his coworkers works on days when the office is nominally closed (say, Columbus Day and Christmas Day) then takes those holidays at different times of the year (say, for Rosh Hashanah). I would expect that this arrangement is easier to negotiate at a smaller company than a larger one, and it only works for some types of jobs.

    3. Coverage Associate*

      Floating holidays are becoming more common. Basically, in addition to X sick days, Y vacation days and Z government holidays, people get 2 more days to use for non government holidays. I have figured out that the practical difference between floating holidays and just extra vacation days is that employers expect floating holidays won’t be taken at the most popular vacation times.

      Unlimited vacation is also becoming more common for salaried employees.

    4. Cedrus Libani*

      We also have floating holidays. They don’t roll over and don’t get paid out, and they take the place of three days that would’ve been federal holidays. In practice, most people just use them for their first three PTO days of the year, no matter the true reason.

  76. Medium Sized Manager*

    With my last offer, they couldn’t meet me on salary since I was taking a little bit of a step-down, but I was able to negotiate an extra week of vacation and reimbursement for my final semester of tuition for business classes (~$600). It was terrifying but good practice!

  77. BuffaloGal*

    Summer hours. One place I worked let people leave at 3:30 p.m. on Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor Day without taking a PTO hours hit. I negotiated for it at the next two places I worked.

  78. Thank God (or something) I no longer work there*

    Salary increases exponentially as you get COLA, step, and merit increases so HR always seems to catch those. I’ve seen starting at a higher step, level 2 instead of level 1, more vacation, payment for a required certification course in a high demand/low supply field. My hairdresser is the shop owner and paid for someone with a nice portfolio to get her certification, which wasn’t required for nail estheticians in her previous state. Not so applicable here as as example but if you can get in the door temporarily without the certification you might get them to pay!

  79. 15 Pieces of Flair*

    In addition to negotiating salary and a sign-on bonus for my current job, I also negotiated an extra week of PTO. I referenced a competing offer with a stronger benefits package as the justification. Note that accrued PTO is a financial obligation for the company, so this probably won’t work if lack of budget is the reason you can’t negotiate a higher salary.

    Back in 2014, I also negotiated hybrid and later all remote when I wasn’t at a client site before it was common. The first I asked about during initial negotiations. Then when I was recruited to go fulltime on one account (rather than continuing as a shared resource) I made remote work a condition of my acceptance. That account required regular travel (at least one week a month), and I didn’t want to spend my remaining work days in a mostly empty office when I didn’t work directly with anyone there.

    1. 15 Pieces of Flair*

      Adding that in every job since 2016, I’ve negotiated being 100% remote as a condition of employment. Most of my employers since then have been fully remote, but it was especially important for those that weren’t.

  80. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

    At my Canadian public university, our probation period is one year, and then at the end you get a 4% raise (it can technically be higher but rarely is; I don’t know anyone who has gotten less). If you get a promotion or new job, you’re in a new 1 year probationary period. I learned that you can negotiate a shorter probation and get your raise faster! I don’t know what this does for the rest of your annual raises, but why not get that money faster?

  81. An Australian In London*

    I have successfully negotiated for in lieu of salary:

    • 100% WFH when that wasn’t otherwise an option
    • 4×10 hour days instead of 5×8
    • relevant professional conferences (when business travel was heavily scrutinised)
    • short secondments to overseas branches
    • perpetual best laptop in the company
    • Local Admin rights and exemption from the standard laptop image

    Re. best laptop: the deal was that whenever a new laptop was purchased for anyone, if it was a higher spec than mine it would be diverted to me instead and mine would be re-imaged and sent to the other person.

    Closely related was the rights and exemption. It was agreed I could install any legally licensed software and configure the laptop however I wanted. It was subject to regular audit to confirm software licensing and that it met corporate security minimums. In exchange Help Desk would never get a call from me about apps or OS. They thought it was a great deal, as did I. If you have suffered under a restrictive Standard Operating Environment you will understand my joy.

    1. *kalypso*

      I would put up with an SOE if it meant I could have admin privs and never have to deal with our tech support.

      ‘Here’s what’s wrong and what needs to be fixed, can you please do it?’
      – ‘let me ust jump in and have a look’
      – ‘i don’t know what’s wrong let me think’
      – ‘I’ll just update Windows that’ll do it’
      – ‘that didn’t do it but here’s a link about how it worked in Windows XP’
      – ‘i looked into it more and there’s a bootleg install package that fixes it’
      – ‘what do you mean that doesn’t work?’

      And it was just that the standard install package he used removed auto-update in the registry for non-windows applications (like Zoom and Adobe). It just needed him to push a fix. I had to run a dev build of Zoom to be able to do my job. Then my computer died and I replaced the parts that needed replacing, just mentioned it to my boss so they could reimburse me the $10 and next thing I know I can’t log in because they were going to surprise me with a new (less capable) computer to fix the issue I’d fixed with a $10 part. I had to go into the office to collect it and I was promised it had been all set up and was ready to go – I spent an entire shift setting it up. Including syncing with my OneDrive and the work exchange. What is even the point of using Windows and having a dedicated tech support contract if end users have to do even that themselves?

  82. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

    My mom negotiated for a private office with a door that shut, and to not have sales calls ring through to her. (She worked as an estimator, so sales-adjacent but a job that requires a lot of focused work time.)

    It was fine for about a decade until someone decided to re-arrange the office space, which is the problem with lot of these non-salary negotiations: there’s no persistence to it when someone decides to change things around. Technically, that’s also true of salary, but generally a new boss or grandboss is less likely to cut pay than decide to move people’s spaces around, require different hours or on/off site ratios, or other non-salary things. (And if they cut pay, they will not be surprised when everyone is pissed off at them.)

  83. AnonWorker*

    One thing I’ve seen companies do is offer “floating holidays” for people to take time off for days that have religious, personal, or cultural significance and not have it counted against PTO. At an old job, we were offered two floating holidays and people took them for the Jewish High Holidays, Eid, other non-Christian holdiay celebrations. Folks who where atheist or Christian often used the days for their or their children’s birthdays. They weren’t PTO because they couldn’t be rolled over or paid out.

    1. KatCatKat*

      My partner and I have been able to negotiate the following at various jobs:
      -Company car with right of first refusal (we still have it one of the best and cheapest cars we bought!)
      -Professional License Reimbursement (I have 5)
      -Subscriptions and paid time for continuing education (I need about 20 hours per year and there’s some restrictions on them so the less I have to pay the better!)
      -Flex work/WFH before it was common
      -housing allowance, plus time in the company apt (super helpful in NYC)
      – help with Visa and ultimately, green card (European immigrating to US)
      -Being able to keep Frequent flyer/hotel rewards as a perk (this is great if you frequently travel for work, and costs the company nothing, they just don’t save from those rewards. )
      -more vacation (we’ve found the less corporate a place the better this works but it’s been a mixed bag).

      And sometimes the offer is take it or leave it. It 100% depends. But it’s good to see what to think of to ask for!

  84. Coverage Associate*

    Things I have seen lawyers negotiate for:
    .Time off to study for an additional bar exam
    .Work from abroad for part of the year
    .Maternity leave earlier in employment than required by statute
    .Commitment that the firm will accept a particular pro bono client

    I have never been privy to negotiations about transferring a book of business, but how origination credit will work is regularly negotiated.

  85. Boof*

    In my current job, I’m more interested in having better work life balance than more money (after a certain point doesn’t matter if you make a little extra if you can’t enjoy it / if the thing your family really wants is more time with you, not an extra toy). There were some changes that meant I was working 60+ hrs and felt like there was still way more I wasn’t even getting to, and I basically put out a distress signal to my boss(s). What that looked like was 1) I really tracked how many hours I was putting in (when you’re salary/exempt and doing some extra stuff from home, I find it easy to start mixing in some internet browsing etc when you’re tired and doing some extra after hours charting etc, and that starts to confuse how much you’re really working – so I tried to just stay at work and get everything done at work. Er, like I am right now, haha, but I tried to be strict for a at least a few weeks to get a solid feel for exactly how much I was working). 2) I did my best to look up what average work hours might look like for me, and whether I was similar, and how that compared with output (I am in healthcare, so it took digging to figure out what an academic specialist hours might look like and what the RVU output might be, but I found an article published by a professional organization). It looked to me like my work hours and correlative output were probably close to average, so I satisfied myself at least that I wasn’t extremely slow/inefficient, even if I am not super efficient either (frankly, I don’t want to churn through patients like a machine either, so some efficiency steps I am happy to take, others are just not the way I want to be/practice and I think pts appreciate that). 3) I outlined my problems in a letter, that it was unsustainable, and tried to propose a few possible solutions while also leaving a lot of openings for suggestions on their part. For me that looked like offloading disease groups that I had kept on but stopped focusing in to other providers, streamlining the coverage pool that had gotten churned up with a LOT of coaching on how best to do it so it was actually efficient instead of pinging me constantly, moving off some of my inpatient service (something that has high RVUs but I personally find very stressful + clinic backs up). It helps that my focus is something pretty much no one else wants to deal with and so while budgets are tight they definitely want to keep up retention and focus on minimizing burn out etc.

  86. Gary Patterson's Cat*

    Years ago negotiating for extra PTO was a thing if the company couldn’t budge on salary. But in the past few years I’ve found that so many companies simply won’t do that anymore. It’s 10 days and that is that! I was even given more money when I was last hired to match what I had at a previous company in PTO rather than just GIVE me the PTO. So weird.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I attribute some of that to outsourcing of timekeeping/payroll and use of off-the-shelf software to manage them, but more a commitment to avoiding headaches through the illusion of fairness than anything else. Employees have to be engaged enough and educated enough to discuss salary with each other, but everyone tends to notice when the new hire only shows up 3 weeks each month without consequence.

  87. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    On a contract here in Germany and I was the first to actually get the word “remote” put into the contract for the company, offering me a lot of protections for when we would move. Any wording you can get added to your contract, the better, such as here we have a term that basically means “unfireable without SIGNIFICANT cause” which is a good one to have, similar to tenure.

  88. Ho-ho-holey hose*

    PTO, Overtime pay (my partner negotiated for overtime pay in a role where it isn’t usually offered), bonuses, work hours, educational oppurtunities/courses, title, remove/hybrid work, start date… I am sure there is more!

    I will say I find benefits typically aren’t negotiable as the company buys packages from the insurer. Things like parental leave might be, but health coverage etc. usually isn’t.

  89. Jenn*

    Disclaimer: I’m an executive, so you probably can’t do this unless you’re at least director level or higher.

    I pre-negotiate severance. I want the powers-that-be to know EXACTLY what it’s going to cost to get rid of me in a RIF (I want the board to know what it will cost them to toss me out, anyhow).

    1. Dasein9*

      I saw a suggestion for this recently and was wondering if anyone else would bring it up. I’m willing to give it a shot on my next offer.

  90. PlantProf*

    At my current job there was no room to negotiate salary (it’s based on a formula based on experience, largely for equity reasons), but I did negotiate a signing bonus. In a previous job I negotiated for moving assistance.

  91. Troubadour*

    So… I was in a particularly good negotiating position for various reasons and it still took a lot of negotiating and union support, but I did manage once to negotiate to get the same annual salary, but work only 9 days a fortnight (so the effective hourly rate was higher).

    More common is negotiating particular hours of work and/or some work from home; or some freight for people moving especially from overseas. And things our union has negotiated for everyone include support for study (both fees plus some study leave) and mostly-unlimited sick leave (including leave to look after dependents).

  92. BingoKing*

    The term of your non-compete agreement! It may not seem all that bad when you’re happy to just have a job in the first place, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run. I’ve seen bad companies go after people trying to enforce a long non-compete agreement. Enforceable or not, you’d still have to fight it in court… might as well limit their stranglehold on your livelihood upfront if you can.

  93. Michael G*

    I had one company’s HR balk at additional PTO claiming their system couldn’t provide one employee with different accrual rates than others. So my boss offered an additional week off the books but actually ended up giving me much more than that in an informal comp time thing. A little risky for me but worked out well.

    He also agreed to business class travel — I’m 6’5″ — for all my trips when the company standard was coast to coast only.

  94. Vee*

    Reading these comments makes me very glad to live in a country where 4 weeks paid leave, and additional sick leave, is mandated for everyone and it’s not a point of negotiation!

    When I started my most recent job, I was offered a role at one level but wanted it at the level above – I negotiated a clause in the offer that I would be considered for promotion within 12 months and unless they had concerns about my work, I would receive that promotion.

    I also negotiated a clause about my salary – in the public sector where I work, it’s usual to have an ‘end of year’ performance review at the end of June with the associated remuneration increase, but if your start date is within 6 months of end-June then you won’t qualify for a review and increase because you are too new to assess. I was able to negotiate an exemption to that so that I would qualify for a June increase, since they weren’t able to go higher on the initial starting salary.

    In my next role, I’ll ask for a nine-day fortnight, preferably without having to take a pro-rata salary reduction.

  95. Quinalla*

    More PTO – I was going to per their policy come in with less PTO than I had. I said, I want this much PTO (more than I had currently and what a person with 10 years experience gets at their company) and got it.

    I’ve also negotiated to have my parking reimbursed when garage monthly parking was the only reasonable parking option.

    Also for partial reimbursement of my cell phone bill as they expected me to use my cell phone for business. At my previous place, we had company cell phones.

    And while it didn’t get put in writing, I negotiated to only do local (drivable) travel and average 1 day a week max as my previous job I was flying 2-3 days a week and I was DONE with it. Not in writing again, but it has helped me to hold that line even when there is pressure to take on more travel.

  96. Jay*

    Last time I asked for a raise I knew it was going to be a no so instead I asked for more PTO and a work from home day…I’ve got my desk running so smoothly that the WFH day is pretty much a day off now. win/win

  97. Pumpkin215*

    I’m a notary so I was able to get a company to pay for the renewal fee. That cost a few hundred and I may have notarized one document for them. BUT, I always felt “Public Notary” looked good on my resume so I keep it up.

    I tried to negotiate additional PTO with a company and they shot me down before the sentence was out of my mouth. I guess people tried that a lot since their PTO was low.

    I successfully negotiated extended medical benefits when I was once laid off. That saved me from hefty COBRA costs.

    Flexible hours are a big one. I like to start my day early so that I’m never wrapping up my work day when it is dark. I’m in PA so in the Winter, it gets dark at 5:00 p.m.

    I learned that it does not hurt to ask! As long as you can take a “no”, then ask away! You may end up surprised!

  98. Sevenrider*

    I negotiated an extra week of vacation at my current job. They were not able to pay the salary I asked for so I asked for another week of vacation. So, instead of two weeks up to five years, I had three weeks and then after five years, four weeks. Some grumbling from coworkers about how do I have so much vacation time, but otherwise it has worked out well.

  99. Unipotamus*

    I’ve been on the other side of this and had the following negotiated by new hires and people asking for something other than a direct raise:

    1. Work from home (before it was a common thing);
    2. Fridays off/flexible with longer days Mon-Thurs;
    3. Pre-planned vacations without a PTO deduction in year one;
    4. Additional PTO;
    5. Signing bonus (when additional salary wasn’t an option);
    6. Pet expense stipend during work travel;
    7. Paid training/education;
    8. Month-long leaves for international travel every other year;
    9. Guaranteed salary minimums (for positions relying heavily on commission or bonusing);
    10. Work schedule flexibility;
    11. No or limited travel (in positions that typically require it).

    I’m sure there are more, but those come to mind right away.

    1. Unipotamus*

      12. Monthly toll stipend;
      13. Monthly cell phone stipend;
      14. Earning PTO in exchange for weekend work (in a position where weekend/evening work was rare enough that no one had thought to ask for this previously);
      15. A company car so driving-heavy roles weren’t done on personal vehicles.

      I know that some of these come with the territory in many jobs – but every job/business is different enough that it’s worth knowing what sorts of things people ask for!

      1. GooseMe*

        -Club membership (golf, tennis, social, etc)
        -Gym membership
        -Bus/train/Uber allowance for commute
        -Premium/dedicated/reserved parking spot
        -access to executive dining/gym/facilities
        -guaranteed tickets/season in corporate box at sports/theater/etc.
        -annual charitable contribution/sponsorship of nonprofit board(s) you serve on.
        -guaranteed time off to volunteer (great for parents!)
        -executive medicine program access or private physician “dues.”

  100. works in academia*

    Getting my office painted the color of my choice. It was something my old employer did. As someone who spends a lot of time in my office, having it decorated to my preferences (within reason) is extremely valuable. All the women I worked with noticed immediately, 13 years later I still have male colleagues who are just noticing for the first time this year.

  101. Kyrielle*

    When I once really deserved a raise but they were absolutely not going to do it, I traded down to my “full time” schedule becoming 35 hours a week rather than 40, with Friday off if I hit 35 hours before then and had nothing that had to be done then (which was possible most weeks – Fridays were not prone to be busy). I was still subject to mandatory Saturdays and crunch time when everyone else was, but I was starting from a basis of 5 hours less than everyone else and those were pretty rare at that job. It rocked.

    Getting more *vacation time* on the other hand, which I would love, was for some reason utterly impossible there. An extra week of vacation (40 hours) a year was off the table, but five hours a week every week (or about 250 hours a year, give or take) was doable….

  102. ECMG*

    I have found from working in non-profits, often times a raise cannot be budgeted as it has to pass through the board – BUT courses can be approved. One of my great managers has encouraged me to take courses and has subsidised them even though they are marginally/tangentially related to work, more my own interests. Things like sign-language, French, or Spanish classes that I would pursue in my own time anyway, I have been able to negotiate for. Even knitting, metalwork, woodwork classes all in the name of wellness :)

    In addition, if it’s a significant step up from team member to management, or from management to executive, a clothing allowance can also be negotiated — this is a step I would SO recommend to any onboarding exec or anyone with the power to give the ‘OK’ on, especially to welcome any women re-joining the workforce or moving up to a different dress-code, as the financial burden can often be higher on us. I know it made a huge difference to me when I started managing at 25 relying only on a wardrobe of retail team-member black slacks and 2 job-interview dresses!

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