Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Benefits and Employee Morale

So here is the story.  Just had surgery - unexpected -  and I let my boss know this.  They said "Don't worry about it"....meaning, that my pay would stay in place as my salary would just continue.  OK.  I'm good with that!  I can work from my laptop at home while I recover, not as many hours, but still able to contribute - great!  I'll stay in the loop and it won't be so hard to get back into the swing of things when I am fully recovered. Heck, I even sent the weekly report from my hospital bed.

Two days later, by UPS, an envelope arrives. Inside the envelope are application documents for Short Term Disability - meaning that, my pay will be 70%.  After communicating with my boss and our HR Manager, I was told that for sure, that would be the case.  I made sure at this point that my boss understood that I would not be responding to any emails and focusing instead on recovery.  She agreed with that.

Working with the Benefits Team in the Home Office was quite laughable. (In fact, I am still waiting for a return phone call from a voicemail that I left 2 weeks ago - the message stated that they would return my call 'at their convenience'. I guess it has not yet been convenient to call  - we'll talk about this more in another post.)  Needless to say, the stress involved with dealing with this office would be enough to cause a nervous breakdown or set back my recovery.  I finally got all the paperwork - 2 sets of forms - filled out, signed by the doctor, faxed over (because they don't take emails!!!! (even hospitals have WI-FI)) and found someone to tell me they received everything. Whew! 

Now, just because I like to understand everything - especially how and when I will be paid because my family likes to eat dinner everyday, I contacted the Payroll Department.  They pulled up my information quite quickly and immediately told me that I was covered for 100% pay for 13 weeks!!!!  I was surprised - to say the least. Now, she did tell me that it would show up on the pay stub as 70% + a 30% top up. When asked why, she stated it was because I was senior management.


Can you imagine that?  After all the stress and worry.  After going back and forth with HR and my boss, no one took the time to find out the exact details and relay the information to me.  You would have thought they would know their own benefits package...if simply for the sake of recruiting top talent. 

Lesson:  if you are the leader, know the benefits or at least find out as you go along and make the life of your team members easier when going through hardships.

Lesson:  if you are the HR Manager, know the benefits and differences at every level. Period. That is your JOB!