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Archive for the ‘Jacquie Healy’ Category

Sooner or later, we all face an angry employee as a reaction to termination, demotion, job performance, etc.  It is up to managers to defuse the situation, but how?

1) Stay calm.  Keep your tone of voice and volume in check.

2) Watch your nonverbal signs.  Make sure your body language is not confrontational (hands on hips), dismissive (eyes rolling), or defensive (arms crossed).  Avoid physical contact, even if it’s meant to be reassuring.

3) Be respectful.  Avoid embarrassing or calling out the employee.  Do not belittle.

4)  Allow the employee to talk.  Give the employee a chance to tell their side of the story.

5)  Use active listening.  Repeat back what the employee said on key issues, but in your own words.

6)  Retain control of the conversation.  End the meeting if the employee’s agitation is growing.  Inform him/her that you want to re-schedule the meeting after a brief cooling-off period.

 

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The more I read, the more Health Care Reform is not about the reduction in costs, but the opportunity for more “players” to be involved.

We have had non-profit entities serve the community for many years, as advocates for people needing medical care, whether they are eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).  These advocates are now being called Navigators or Assistors.   We, as insurance producers,  have answered those same questions for many people needing care, and are also advocates for people in need.  Brokers don’t get paid on Medicaid or CHIP enrollments.

Navigators now want to be involved in assisting people on individual/group health coverage because the broker is paid by the insurance carrier, and navigators don’t get paid in commissions by the insurance carriers but receive grant money, so are part of the savings solution with Health Care Reform?  Not so fast!

The Connect for Health Colorado (The Colorado Exchange) announced in the Denver Post  (dated Tuesday, May 7) $14 million (yes, you heard that right) in grant money would be available for “navigators” to walk new customers through receiving subsidy money.

Professional insurance brokers have done the same thing for many years.   Yes, we do get paid by the insurance carriers for what we sell to the tune of $25 per employee per month on group business, and about 5% of the premium for individuals in the first year.   Insurance brokers do not get paid in educating and advising.

Insurance is a complex system.  Insurance brokers have been servicing their clients for many years and offering many more services than just a rate with a plan attached to it.  You, the consumers, should have the best advice available.  You owe it to yourself to work with an insurance professional.

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At long last, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published the revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 in the Federal Register.  The use of the new form is effective immediately.

The new Form I-9 is now two pages, not one, and has six pages of instructions.  So much for the Paperwork Reduction Act!  The good news is the format is easier to follow and fewer mistakes should be made using the new form.  Key revisions on the new form include:

* Adding data fields, including the employee’s foreign passport information (if applicable) and telephone and email addresses.  My recommendation is to have the new hire use his or her work email address and telephone number.  We feel personal email information is not necessary for employment eligibility verification purposes.

* The layout of the revised Form I-9 has a cleaner, easier to follow format.  Hopefully, this will result in fewer mistakes going forward.

To print a copy of the new form, go to www.uscis.gov.  The form has an expiration data of 3/31/2016.  Destroy all copies of the form that expired August 31, 2012 and do not use going forward.  You may also request us to send a copy to your company.

Note:  Do not go back and complete the new form on employees already hired by your company.  Only use the new form for persons hired going forward.

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According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 43% of hiring managers and human resource professionals are concerned top workers will leave their organizations this year.

Workers are leaving companies for other opportunities.  It’s no wonder retention is a concern for many organizations today. 

In addition to retention worries, the inability to fill open positions presents another worry for hiring managers. 

Biggest staffing challenges:

  • Being able to retain top employees (35%)
  • Being able to provide competitive compensation package (35%)
  • Worker burnout (32%)
  • Maintaining productivity levels (29%)
  • Being able to provide upward mobility (26%)
  • Can’t find high-skilled applicants (24%)
  • Don’t have the budget to recruit (13%)

Solutions may include:

  • Good work culture
  • Career advancement opportunities
  • Flexible schedules
  • Communication to employees

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Do employer groups allow employees to automatically renew their employee benefits each year?  Surprisingly, 71% surveyed do allow passive enrollments.  But, by passively renewing benefits without considering options the members may end up with coverage that does not meet their needs.

As stated in Benefits Newswire, “Active enrollment requires employees to make a proactive plan choice each open enrollment period.”

It’s important to approach your benefit options with a knowledge of the type of coverage you may need for the coming plan year and to make choices based on plan design and premium dollars out of your pocket.  Sometimes, the cheapest plan is not the best solution!

 

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Your member number/ID numbers identifies you, the insured.

Your group number identifies your employer (assuming your coverage comes through your job).

Plan number tells the provider (doctor, hospital) which plan you have through your carrier.

PCP (Primary Care Physician).  The amount next to this indicates the copay fee per visit.  You may see a different copay amount on your card if you see a specialist.

Payer ID tells your doctor’s billing department which insurance company to route your claims to.

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Did you know:

22% of employees are expected to respond to work email when they are not at work.

50% of employees check work email on the weekends.

46% check work email on sick days.

34% check work email while on vacation.

In recent cases, non-exempt employees have sued their employers for unpaid overtime compensation because the employer required them to check communication on their smart phone when not on duty.  The cases revolved around the question of whether the act of checking communications constitutes compensable work.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs minimum wage and overtime.  It entitles employees to whom the law applies to receive overtime compensation for “time spent working” beyond the 40-hour workweek.  Both the minimum wage and overtime provisions of FLSA generally do not apply to workers in executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees who are paid on a salary basis.  Requiring these “exempt” employees to check their smart phone would not subject employers to overtime claims.

As phone records are easily accessible, employees who use them off hours can provide solid evidence for their overtime claims.  To avoid claims for unpaid overtime, employers can limit use of company cell phones to exempt employees only, or limit their use by non-exempt employees to work hours only.

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