Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz.
Photograph by Stephen Brashear — Getty Images
By Ben Geier
November 26, 2015

In 2015, a decent health plan and some semblance of a 401(k) was not quite enough for many employees to feel special. In today’s tightening labor market, if companies really want to shine, employee benefits need to go above and beyond.

With that in mind, here are six CEOs who were especially generous with the benefits they offered employees in 2015.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks

Schultz is no stranger to lists like these, having frequently made waves for his treatment of his workers and his generally progressive views on worker benefits. He pushed it further this year, announcing in April that Starbucks would be expanding its college assistance program to pay for the entire cost of an online degree for its employees. Previously, the program only covered juniors and seniors in college who were looking to finish their degrees.

Dan Price, Gravity Payments

Benefits are great, but, to many employees, cold, hard cash is even better. Dan Price of Gravity Payments recognized that and raised his company’s minimum salary to $70,000 earlier this year. He reduced his own salary from around $1 million to $70,000 to do so.

Reed Hastings, Netflix

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings got kudos this year for offering unlimited parental leave to both new moms and dads earlier this year. He did take some criticism, though, when it was reported that employees in the company’s DVD division, which includes many hourly workers, won’t get the benefit.

Jerry Stritzke, REI

While Black Friday shopping continues apace, some stores will resist the bonanza, choosing to be closed on the day after Thanksgiving so staffers don’t have to work. Outdoor goods store REI and its CEO Jerry Stritzke went one step further — they’re paying their employees for the day, even though all stores will be closed.

Daniel Ek, Spotify

Daniel Ek’s new leave policy at Spotify isn’t quite as huge as the one offered by Netflix, but it is still very generous. The Swedish streaming music company is giving up to six months of paid leave to new moms and dads, and they’re offering it retroactively for anyone at the company who had a child since 2013.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter

After returning to the CEO chair at the social network he helped found, Jack Dorsey immediately got generous. Dorsey gave $200 million in stock to employees (a third of his stake in the company). He also mentioned that Twitter would need to make layoffs.

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