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Catheryn Mason wrote:
> I think of a good slate of benefits like a good buffet ... you don't
> have to eat everything, but if you really want something, it's there.
> ... a good "buffet" should have almost anything that any worker would
At my former employer, this is exactly how it was, and they were
referred to as "cafeteria benefits" (a common term these days). Each
employee was given a certain amount of "flex dollars" to spend on
benefits - this amount being a percent of current salary, plus something
else as a factor of time spent in the employment of the company - and
every benefit had a "price tag." You might choose health care coverage
with an HMO (or a PPO, or the doctor of your choice) for yourself or
your whole family, dental coverage just for yourself, certain dollar
amounts of life and/or accident insurance, certain dollar amounts of
short-term and long-term disability payments, etc. You weren't limited
to spending only your flex dollars - but once you had designated all of
them, the cost of any additional benefits came out of your own pocket.
There was much heated discussion about this among us employees. Many
felt that this was a way for the company to unilaterally assign more and
more of the cost of benefits to the employee (it was pretty amazing the
way that keeping exactly the same benefits from year to year tended to
eat up almost all of our small-percentage raises - coincidence?). This
continues to be a topic of much political interest. As the realities of
the workplace change - e.g. few people expect to be at one job long
enough to retire from it - the way we provide workplace benefits here
in the States will eventually have to reflect those new realities. One
day, it's likely, both your chosen benefits and your retirement package
will be tied to YOU - not to some employer - and the way employers
compete for bodies will have a lot to do with how much of the costs they
are willing to bear. For instance, a company that reviewed your various
coverage choices and agreed to pay 70% would probably be more attractive
to you than one that paid for only 50% (factoring in, of course, all the
other elements you'd consider, such as work environment, opportunities
for telecommuting - all those "atmospheric" things we've been talking
Well, this is straying awfully close to OT (it relates specifically to
tech writing HOW?), so I'll end now.
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