Editor’s note: This is one of 10 employers chosen for Employee Benefit News’ Benefits Leadership awards, spotlighting companies who are taking a fresh approach to employee benefits.

Last year, Boxed CEO Chieh Huang made quite the splash in employee benefits when he announced that he would start paying for the college tuition of the children of his employees.

Wedding day
Wedding day

But this year, he went a step further: Huang said he was also going to pay for the wedding expenses of all his unmarried employees.

See also: Benefits innovator spotlight: Microsoft

“Our goal is to strengthen the overall employer-employee bond,” says the CEO of the online wholesale shopping club. “I think paying for college tuition and wedding expenses helps us do that.”

The company’s unconventional approach to benefits, Huang says, is simply the right thing to do.

“I realized only two people out of 20 could afford private transportation to get to work,” he says. “Even if we doubled their salary, these people couldn’t afford a car or a college education for their kids. So I decided to do something about it.”

Huang is now writing college tuition checks for four students. He has committed the value of a chunk of his Boxed stock to fund the benefit as more students become eligible for the program over the next five or six years. By that time, he hopes the company will be sold or go public and that half of his stock will easily pay for all these college educations.

“The folks who have been with us for the ride and are present on that day will be eligible for the benefit,” he says.

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