. Understanding Your Employee Benefits: Qualifying for Unemployment Benefits During the three years that you have worked at your current company, the company has had some success, but mostly, it has not done well. The most recen

1. Understanding Your Employee Benefits: Qualifying for Unemployment Benefits

During the three years that you have worked at your current company, the company has had some success, but mostly, it has not done well. The most recent downturn in business has made you concerned about the future of the company. Several employees who work in your department were laid off in the past six months due to lack of work, and you are concerned that you may be next on the list. It seems that others feel the same way, as company morale is at an all-time low. In fact, the overall company morale, coupled with the poor attitude of your supervisor, is making your job miserable. You aren’t sure if it is worthwhile at this point to try to stick it out.

Every day you dread getting up and going to work. Your supervisor is frustrated about trying to get work done with a lean staff, and you feel that he is taking it out on you. He criticizes you constantly and sometimes makes it seem that it is your fault that things are going so poorly. He has mentioned several times that the department will likely be closed within the year. You know that he is under a great deal of stress, given the impending lay offs, but the situation is becoming unbearable. You still show up to work and do your best, but you’re not sure how much longer you can do it. It seems inevitable that you will lose your job, so you are starting to think that it might be a better idea to resign your position now.

You know that you are going to need to look for a new job soon, regardless of what you do, but it is hard to even think about a job search while you are working full time. You are thinking that maybe quitting your job now will relieve some stress and give you the time you need to conduct a job search. However, you rely on your weekly paycheck, and you aren’t sure what you will do if it takes you very long to find a new job. A former coworker who was laid off last year told you that the unemployment insurance payment that he received helped bridge the gap between the lay off and finding a new job. After a one-week waiting period, he received a weekly benefit that helped him pay his bills until he found another job. As the job market is uncertain, you think that you need the support of unemployment insurance to sustain yourself until you find another job.

You are pretty sure that you will be eligible for unemployment insurance if your company does ultimately lay you off. However, you’re not sure if you can still qualify for unemployment insurance if you resign. If you are able to collect unemployment insurance,214you would like to quit soon so that you can move on with your job search, and you must do some research to understand the unemployment insurance benefit.

1. Are you eligible to receive unemployment if you resign?

2. Should you resign or wait to find out if and when you are laid off?

2. Managing Employee Benefits: Social Security and Retirement Planning at Taylor Foods

As Gavin Jackson leaves the monthly professional luncheon for human resource executives in his area, he starts to consider how the information he learned will affect his company, Taylor Foods. The program speaker provided an update on the Social Security system and how challenges in financing the system may affect organizations. As the director of human resources at this large food-processing and distribution company, Gavin must plan the retirement benefits for the organization’s employees. Gavin had been aware that the Social Security system is in trouble, but now has some clear ideas about how it will affect both the retirement benefits offered by Taylor Foods and the retirement plans of its employees.

Gavin learned that the current Social Security system is unstable and that the future of benefits to be provided is uncertain. In particular, the Old-Age, Survivor, and Disability Insurance (OASDI), which provides retirement benefit payments to retired workers, is under a strain. Retirement benefits comprise a majority of the payments made by the Social Security system, and the instability of the system suggests that current workers may not be able to rely on the Social Security system as it exists today to support them in retirement. Gavin knows that this information affects the retirement benefit planning at Taylor Foods.

The speaker also noted that employees retiring in the relatively near future may base their retirement decisions to some extent on the Social Security benefits available to them. While employees may receive their retirement benefits from Social Security starting at age 62, the amount is reduced if they haven’t reached the full retirement age, which is determined based on year of birth. For example, the age for full retirement is 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later. Further, the system contains other incentives to encourage individuals to delay retirement. This is important to Taylor Foods, as the age at which employees plan to retire affects the company’s human resource planning process. Annually, Gavin creates staffing plans that include estimates for turnover of employees, and employee retirements are included in those estimates. This information, coupled with a current downturn in the economy, leads Gavin to believe that Taylor Foods may experience a lower level of turnover as employees delay retirement.

Gavin is considering both of these issues as he considers retirement benefits, as well as staffing planning at Taylor Foods. While the company currently offers a competitive retirement plan, he knows that he needs to reexamine the benefits in the context of his new understanding of the Social Security system. He also needs to consider how employees planning to delay retirement will affect the organization and the human resource planning process.

1. How does the instability of the Social Security system affect retirement benefit planning at Taylor Foods?

2. Should Gavin consider the possibility of employees delaying retirement in the company’s human resource planning process?

 

1. Understanding Your Employee Benefits: The Decision to Work from Home

As you make the nearly hour-long commute home from your job at your company’s downtown office, you think about today’s announcement with some excitement. The director of human resources introduced a new company policy that permits employees to apply to telecommute. The company is doing well and is hiring new workers. As a result, management recently reviewed company policies and practices to accommodate the needs of the growing workforce. The company is looking to save some facility costs and also respond to employee requests for more flexible work options. The company will allow people in certain positions, including yours, to work from home either full time or a just a few days each week.

With high gas prices, daily parking expenses, and the logistics challenges that the two hours a day you spend commuting causes, you see this as a great opportunity. You have two children, and, although they are in school full time, it is almost impossible for you to attend your children’s special events at school without taking a full day off and using one of your limited vacation days. Further, when your children get sick, you have to use a sick day to stay at home taking care of them and not working.

The new company policy states that employees who telecommute must use their own computers and provide evidence that they have a safe and quiet work environment. The company will provide you with any other work supplies that you need. All of the information you need to do your job is available to you via an online connection, so the transition to working at home should be fairly easy. You already have an office at home with a computer, so you could begin telecommuting as soon as your request is approved.

It seems like the perfect solution to your daily challenges, but you worry about how telecommuting will affect your career. You’ve heard from others that old adage, “out of sight, out of mind” and have concerns about your chances for future promotions if you aren’t in the239office every day. Further, you have high productivity expectations and you consider whether working at home alone will allow you to work harder, as you would not have the typical office distractions, or whether you would be distracted by work that needs to be done around the house. You also think that you might feel somewhat isolated, as you generally are a social person and enjoy seeing your coworkers each day. As you consider some of the negatives of telecommuting, your excitement wears off, and you aren’t sure what you should do.

1. Should you apply to telecommute? If so, should you pursue a part-time or full-time work-at-home arrangement?

2. If you do telecommute, what can you do to make sure that the arrangement does not negatively impact your career? Are there any other concerns you should have?

2. Managing Employee Benefits: Transitioning to a Paid Time-Off Bank

Human Resources Manager Stan Gomez finds that he is spending a lot of time talking with supervisors about employee absences. Stan is the Human Resource Manager works for Custom Call Services, a contract customer service-call center that provides year-round online and telephone service to the customers of a wide variety of clients. Staffing levels are essential to meet the demanding level of calls and inquiries the center receives each day. The company offers paid time-off options to its employees to allow them to balance work and nonwork interests. A goal of the time-off program is to keep unscheduled absences to a minimum in order to keep productivity and service quality high. Unscheduled absences create a problem, as the company has to cover the workload of the absent employee with little advance notice.

Custom Call Center offers a generous paid time-off program to allow employees to have time off to rest and relax, to meet personal obligations, and to manage unexpected illnesses. Currently, employees receive 10 vacation days, 3 personal days, and 5 sick days per year. Due to the nature of the business and the need to provide service to clients every day, the company does not close on any holidays. Thus, in addition to other time-off benefits, the company provides seven floating holidays and encourages employees to take these on or near traditional holidays.

The time-off program currently creates some challenges for the company. While the company uses an automated system to track employees’ time off, supervisors still need to record and properly allocate time off as it is taken. This requires the supervisors to know the reasons for each absence and the scheduling policy for each type of absence. For example, employees must schedule vacation and floating holidays in advance. They are encouraged to schedule personal days in advance, but personal days may be taken without advance notice if necessary. Finally, sick days do not require advance notice, but they may require a doctor’s note if an employee uses a few days in a row, or if the supervisor questions the need for the absence.

The sick days create the most challenges for supervisors, as sick days are typically taken without advance notice. Many supervisors suspect that not all last-minute call-offs are necessary. Some employees have admitted that they use sick days even if they are not sick when they have exhausted all of their other time-off options. Essentially, they plan to take a day off, but because the policy does not allow them to schedule sick days in advance, they call off shortly before they are scheduled to work. As a result, supervisors must quickly arrange to cover those shifts.

To overcome these challenges, Stan is considering transitioning the company to an integrated paid time-off (PTO) policy in which all time off is grouped into one bank. Instead240of the current time-off allotments, the company would offer 25 PTO days each year. Under this policy, employees could still call off on the same day due to illness, but they would be encouraged to schedule most of their time off in advance. Further, supervisors would not need to know the reasons for the absences; they only would need to track the number of days taken off by employees. Stan thinks that the PTO bank would eliminate many unscheduled absences and ease the administrative burden of the company’s current time-off policies.

1. Should Custom Call Services switch to a PTO policy? What are the pros and cons of doing so?

2. If Custom Call Services does transition to a PTO policy, what are some things that Stan should consider including in the policy to address concerns about absenteeism?

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