Fringe benefit

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A fringe benefit is supplemental to the main benefit, usually referring to benefits attached to employment. Generally, fringe benefits include such things as insurance, vacation time and pension. Fringe benefits may be extended to include such things as a company car, lunch vouchers or subsidized housing.

The term fringe benefit was coined by the United States’ National War Labor Board during World War II. The board was created to arbitrate employer-employee disputes quickly, in order to keep productivity reliable during the war. As labor was scarce and wage increases were frozen, companies devised various fringe benefits to entice employees to work for them.

A common mistake is to refer to fringe benefits as “french benefits”. This is not a phrase used in the English language.


The Fringe Benefit Tax came into effect in Fiji on January 1, 2012. (Fiji Sun)

“I think the ability to market yourself is just a fringe benefit that comes from winning.” (The Dallas Morning News)

The IRS, arguing that these freebies are a taxable fringe benefit, has given new attention to the issue in recent months during routine audits of some companies, tax lawyers said. (The Wall Street Journal)

But having a stylish array of bands to enhance the appeal of the watch is most important, experts say – the extra revenue for Apple is just a fringe benefit. (The Daily Mail)

Designer Laura Kirar puts a fashion spin on lighting with Arterior’s cinched Tassel Lamp, which has the fringe benefit of navy and black silk-polyester strands and a black shade lined in gold paper. (The Lost Angeles Times)

“A lot of cities have it, but they also have water treatment facilities in place to improve quality — and the fringe benefit for them is elimination of radium.” (The Minneapolis StarTribune)