Companies have started offering perks like dog grooming to employees as a way to compete for top talent.National Journal

Netflix may have won the maternity-leave race by announcing last week that it would offer unlimited parental leave for employees.

But it's not just families who are benefiting from all the focus on parental-leave policies these days. Single, childless employees at large companies across the country are starting to see more perks, too. Car washes, pet health insurance, and paid sabbaticals are all being thrown at employees as companies fight for top talent in an increasingly competitive, post-recession labor market.

These are four fabulous perks that companies offer everyone, not just parents:

A Helping Hand

While you're working, you don't have to worry about your piles of dirty laundry or your overdue oil change. Your employer can take care of that. Google, and VMware, a Silicon Valley company that offers cloud-software services, offer free car washes and dry-cleaning services to employees. SC Johnson & Son, based in Racine, Wisconsin, goes beyond that with its own concierge program. The concierge will get your oil changed, pick up your groceries, and even return library books.

Paid Sabbaticals

To prevent burnout, some companies have started including paid sabbaticals in their benefits packages. Adobe, the software giant, offers the best one: Employees can take a paid sabbatical of up to six weeks every five years. The company's website says employees can use that to plan a dream vacation, write a novel, or just have extended time "to relax, recharge, and reenergize." Other sabbatical programs include Deloitte's, which offers four unpaid weeks off to do whatever you wish, and three to six months of partially paid leave to volunteer or pursue a career-enhancing opportunity. Washington, D.C., law firm Quinn Emanuel offers a twist on the idea, giving employees $2,000 to work a week from any place in the world that they choose.

Pet Perks

It doesn't matter if you don't have kids. Recruiters want you to know that they care about Mr. Whiskers, too. Scripps Health, Caterpillar, and Deloitte are among a growing number of companies that offer subsidized pet insurance. Salesforce.com is one of many Internet companies that offers dog-friendly offices. Public-relations firm Edelman reimburses employees $100 for pet adoption fees. SmartPak Equine, a horse-supply retailer based in Plymouth, Massachusetts, not only allows employees to bring their dogs to work — the company also hires a mobile dog-groomer to stop by once a month.

Time to Give Back

More and more employers encourage their employees to spend time volunteering for a good cause while still getting paid. Salesforce.com gives employees six paid days off a year for volunteer work. Boot-maker Timberland gives employees 40 hours a year. Outdoor-outfitter Patagonia pays their employees to work with environmental groups around the world on their own time. After the BP oil spill in Louisiana, for example, 10 Patagonia employees went to help organizations with the cleanup effort.

A Helping Hand

While you're working, you don't have to worry about your piles of dirty laundry or your overdue oil change. Your employer can take care of that. Google, and VMware, a Silicon Valley company that offers cloud-software services, offer free car washes and dry-cleaning services to employees. SC Johnson & Son, based in Racine, Wisconsin, goes beyond that with its own concierge program. The concierge will get your oil changed, pick up your groceries, and even return library books.

Paid Sabbaticals

To prevent burnout, some companies have started including paid sabbaticals in their benefits packages. Adobe, the software giant, offers the best one: Employees can take a paid sabbatical of up to six weeks every five years. The company's website says employees can use that to plan a dream vacation, write a novel, or just have extended time "to relax, recharge, and reenergize." Other sabbatical programs include Deloitte's, which offers four unpaid weeks off to do whatever you wish, and three to six months of partially paid leave to volunteer or pursue a career-enhancing opportunity. Washington, D.C., law firm Quinn Emanuel offers a twist on the idea, giving employees $2,000 to work a week from any place in the world that they choose.

Pet Perks

It doesn't matter if you don't have kids. Recruiters want you to know that they care about Mr. Whiskers, too. Scripps Health, Caterpillar, and Deloitte are among a growing number of companies that offer subsidized pet insurance. Salesforce.com is one of many Internet companies that offers dog-friendly offices. Public-relations firm Edelman reimburses employees $100 for pet adoption fees. SmartPak Equine, a horse-supply retailer based in Plymouth, Massachusetts, not only allows employees to bring their dogs to work — the company also hires a mobile dog-groomer to stop by once a month.

Time to Give Back

More and more employers encourage their employees to spend time volunteering for a good cause while still getting paid. Salesforce.com gives employees six paid days off a year for volunteer work. Boot-maker Timberland gives employees 40 hours a year. Outdoor-outfitter Patagonia pays their employees to work with environmental groups around the world on their own time. After the BP oil spill in Louisiana, for example, 10 Patagonia employees went to help organizations with the cleanup effort.

This story is part of our Next America: Workforce project, which is supported by a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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