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Employment Resources

Nine Tips Teach You How To Ask For A Raise

By Employment Resources

You may believe you deserve a raise, but asking for more money can be uncomfortable, intimidating and risky. Nine tips teach you how to ask for a raise the right way.

Discover the value of your job.

Every job, including yours, has a value. Research the going rate at other companies for the responsibilities you perform. This figure helps you calculate a reasonable raise for your duties.

Consider your earning potential.

A variety of factors affect how much money you can make. Your education, credentials, number of years in the field and location play a role in your potential earnings.

Focus on the value you bring to the company.

Show your boss that you’re invaluable to the company. Have you increased sales by 20 percent in the last quarter or recently completed a certification course? Share specific accomplishments, relevant skills and everything you plan to do for your company in the future as you focus on your value to the company.

Put yourself in your boss’s shoes.

A boss who’s assertive will appreciate if you get to the point and boldly ask for more money while a boss who values data will want a chart that outlines your performance. Know your boss’s personality, interests and goals as you plan your raise request.

Schedule a face-to-face meeting.

A conversation about your raise should happen face-to-face, not over the phone or by the water cooler. Schedule a meeting to improve your chances of getting a yes.

Consider timing.

The best time to ask for a raise is after you’ve achieved a goal, solved a problem or mastered a challenge. Avoid asking for a raise after a big mistake or when your company is downsizing.

Ask before your performance review.

Typically, companies make compensation decisions before they schedule annual performance reviews. Try to plan your raise conversation several weeks in advance of your scheduled review to give your boss time to consider additional compensation.

Stay calm.

Maybe you do have financial pressures and desperately need a raise. However, you’re more likely to get what you want when you stay calm. Keep the meeting focused on how you help your company rather than how a raise will help you.

Be prepared to handle a “no.”

Despite following these tips, you may get a “no” from your boss. Decide if you’ll quit, ask for a raise in a few months or forget it. You can also ask for feedback that will help you get a raise in the future and request another meeting to revisit your raise.

Receive the compensation you want and deserve when you learn how to ask for a raise. It’s as easy as following these nine tips

Helping Employees Understand Their HSA

By Employment Resources

As more and more employers offer HSAs as part of their health plan mix, they need to make certain that employees understand how to use the plans. Additionally, the goal should be to help employees form a positive perception of HSAs.

Some of the reasons to consider an HSA that an employer might want to highlight are:

  • Health care costs continue to rise rapidly.
  • The increasing share of company funds allocated to health care represents funds not spent on product innovation, capital investment, and other corporate and employee needs.
  • Increased employee involvement in how health care dollars are spent can lead to better health care decision-making by employees, together with improved overall cost containment.

Complementing such educational messages should be communications that describe the direct advantages of an HSA to the employee:

HSAs provide flexibility. They allow the employee to decide how to spend their health care dollars. Health care expenses typically not covered by the primary health plan — such as vision, dental, and orthodontic expenses — can be paid from the HSA.

HSAs allow employees to control their health care dollars. So, provided that the IRS has defined an expense as payable from an HSA (and the employer sponsoring the HSA has not decided to narrow this definition by plan design), employees can opt to use the HSA to pay for the expense, without regard to health plan authorization requirements or other limitations.

Unused dollars contributed to the HSA roll over into subsequent years, and the account earns interest. In other words, there are no “use it or lose it” rules for HSAs. These features increase the opportunity for the account to grow, generating a nest egg for future health care expenses, even into retirement.

HSAs are portable, meaning that employees continue to enjoy their coverage even if they leave the sponsoring employer, change medical coverage, change their marital status, or move to another state. HSAs offer considerable tax savings: Employer contributions are not considered part of the employee’s gross income, employee contributions can be made on a pre-tax basis (or are deductible if made with after-tax dollars), and withdrawals used for permitted health care expenses are tax-free.

Taking the time to explain HSA options — through a thoughtful consideration of the overall health plan design and through clear and concise communications to employees — enhances the likelihood that the plan will meet employer goals and be accepted, enthusiastically, by employees.

What Does “At-Will” Employment Mean?

By Employment Resources

Many jobs include the phrase “at-will” in the employee description. In general, at-will means an employee can be fired for any reason at any time. You can fight the termination, but you have limited legal rights. As an employee, you should make time to understand exactly what this phrase means.

How do you Know if You’re at At-Will Employee?

The law assumes that you are an at-will employee unless you can prove otherwise via written documentation or oral statements. Check the job application, your employee manual, written policies, job evaluations and other documents to verify how your employer views you.

Review All Employee Paperwork

Before you’re officially hired, you are typically given several documents to review. These documents could include:

  • Employment application
  • Employment contract
  • Employee handbook
  • Job offer letter

Always read these papers thoroughly before you sign them. Look for language that declares you’re an at-will employee or describes how your employer can fire you without good cause or for no reason. Most employers include language like this in the documents that protect their right to terminate at-will employees.

When to Sign and Not Sign At-Will Agreement

You don’t legally have to sign at at-will agreement. However, your employer may refuse to hire you or fire you if you don’t sign it. Also, remember that many employers will try to work out differences and disagreements with employees rather than fire them on the spot. You may not have a choice about signing an at-will agreement, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will automatically be terminated the first time you make a mistake or disagree with your boss.

Think twice about signing an at-will agreement if your employer promises not to fire you during a probation period or if you make mistakes. Signing an at-will agreement voids the verbal agreement, leaving you with no legal recourse to fight it.

Know Your Rights as an At-Will Employee

At-will employees may be terminated for any cause and at any time as long as the termination is legal. There are several exceptions.

Discrimination – If your employer must follow federal and state non-discrimination laws, you cannot be fired because of your race, gender, religion or other protected status.

Whistle blowing – If you complain about illegal activities on the job, including discrimination, harassment or safety violations, your employer cannot fire you.

Exercising your legal rights – Your employer cannot fire you while you are on medical leave, serving in the military, on jury duty or performing other legal rights you have as an employee.

Protect your employee rights when you understand what it means to work at-will. You can always ask your attorney to clarify the details before you sign your next employment agreement.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance

By Employment Resources

The purpose of third-party coverage in an Employment Practices Liability (EPLI) policy is to protect an organization and its employees from accusations of wrongful acts committed against customers, clients, vendors, and suppliers. Some EPLI policies also cover wrongful acts committed by third parties against the insured’s employees.

Harassment and all forms of discrimination are covered under wrongful acts. Discrimination claims include discriminatory practices against a person based on their race, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability, pregnancy or sexual orientation. Harassment involves unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors. Both verbal and physical conduct, as well as other forms of harassment that create a hostile or offensive work environment, are covered. Some policies also cover accusations of mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation and assault.

If your organization has a lot of interaction with the public, it is especially vulnerable to third-party claims like those described above. In some cases, EPLI carriers might not provide third-party coverage to firms with a high potential for claims. What they might offer instead is limited coverage, such as covering accusations of discrimination, but not harassment claims.

To protect your organization from third-party claims, you need to go beyond just purchasing coverage. You must implement policies and procedures that address discrimination and harassment issues, both from the standpoint of an employee’s actions and the actions of third parties. EPLI insurers are increasingly requiring employers to implement these practices before they will issue a policy.

Having policies in place will offer little help to stop third-party claims if employees aren’t adequately trained. New employee orientation programs should include a presentation outlining the organization’s harassment/discrimination policies. The training must also include how to report and handle a third-party claim.

However, hearing the information once is not enough to insure compliance. Employees must be retrained periodically through departmental meetings. To maintain the effectiveness of departmental training sessions, be sure that supervisors are provided with copies of all policy updates and procedural changes.

One important caveat to keep in mind is that most EPLI policies don’t provide third-party coverage for accusations involving the violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Nevertheless, you should review your EPLI policy’s definition of a claim to determine the policy’s interpretation. Many policies define a claim as a “demand for monetary damages.”

This definition can present a problem in an ADA claim, because many of these claims are asking for reasonable accommodations, not monetary awards. That’s why it is important to ensure that your policy’s definition of a claim includes claims for non-monetary damages. A policy with this expanded definition will cover defense costs and indemnity connected with an ADA claim, but will not provide the funds to bring your organization into compliance with the provisions of the law.

Benefits And Risks Of Working As An Independent Contractor Rather Than An Employee

By Employment Resources

Working as an independent contractor rather than an employee is attractive for many reasons. There are a variety of benefits, but be aware of the risks, too.

Benefits of Working as an Independent Contractor

Work for yourself.

As an independent contractor, you enjoy the freedom of being your own boss. Because you’re in charge of your career, you can choose which jobs you take, how much you charge and when you work. If you were an employee, you would have to follow your employer’s timeline and directions for every job.

Earn more.

Independent contractors can make more money than employees because they often receive a bigger cut of the project. This income boost happens because employers don’t have to pay for employee benefits, Workers’ Compensation or Social Security or unemployment taxes.

Pay lower income taxes.

Your tax bill could decrease as an independent contractor. Instead of paying federal and state taxes from each paycheck, you estimate your taxes and pay the IRS four times a year. You can keep your money longer and decide how much you pay, which could allow you to pay fewer taxes.

Enjoy more tax deductions.

Deduct reasonable and ordinary business-related expenses on your annual tax return, including:

  • Office
  • Travel
  • Insurance
  • Equipment
  • Mileage
  • Uniforms
  • Trade conferences and magazines
  • Entertainment and meals

Risks of Working Independent contractors

Experience reduced job security.

When you’re an independent contractor, you’re solely responsible for finding work. You won’t receive a paycheck simply for showing up at the office every day. You also work at the discretion of your clients. If they go through a slow period or decide to use a different contractor, you’re out of work.

Receive no employer-sponsored benefits.

Regular employees often receive a variety of benefits. However, you won’t receive health insurance, paid time off or matching retirement contributions. You also don’t receive unemployment or Workers’ Compensation, which could greatly affect your income if you don’t have work or are injured on the job.

Receive no labor law protection.

Federal and state laws give employees a variety of protections. You aren’t covered by those protections and could suffer exploitation or discrimination.

Risk not getting paid.

If a client decides not to pay you, you have little recourse outside of a lawsuit.

Buy all your equipment.

You’re responsible to provide whatever equipment you need for the job. That means you’ll have to buy or rent any tools you need and store them when the job is completed.

When you work as an independent contractor instead of an employee, you receive benefits and assume risks. Know what you’re getting into as you decide if you should be an independent contractor.

Social Media: High Risks for Lawsuits

By Employment Resources

Most everyone knows that the use of social media has grown by leaps and bounds during the past decade. What many people don’t realize are the unique risks associated with social networking. Anyone using Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, or other social networking sites should exercise extreme caution in what they decide to say online.

As an example, in 2009 a teenager in New York sued some of her classmates and their parents, accusing the classmates of bullying and humiliating her in a Facebook Forum. Whether or not the allegations are true, the teenagers and their parents require legal resources to pay for the possible judgments against them.

Many people believe a standard Homeowners insurance policy will cover them in such a situation. In fact, it probably will not provide the necessary coverage. A standard policy covers bodily injury or property damage done to someone else. It defines bodily injury as sickness, harm or disease, and it defines property damage as destruction of or injury to physical property.

Neither definition includes publishing or saying something that injures another person’s reputation. Hence, the policy is not likely to cover a Facebook post. In other words, the policy is unlikely to cover the act of making someone else feel miserable due to social networking.

A good source to consider for additional coverage is a Personal Umbrella policy. This kind of policy provides additional insurance in circumstances where a loss has depleted the amounts of Liability insurance offered under a Homeowners policy. Umbrella policies usually have a deductible of $250 to $500; but have the potential to protect the policyholder from financial devastation.

As you become more exposed to risk through social networking, choose your words carefully on any social networking site. Additionally, speak with our insurance professionals to see if an Umbrella policy is a good match for your insurance needs in an increasingly risky world.

Solvent Exposure Risks

By Employment Resources

In our modern world, just about everyone comes in contact with solvents on a daily basis. At work, you might be exposed to solvents when you come in contact with glues, paints, thinners, degreasers, or cleaners. As a result of this widespread contact, it is important to understand the hazards that are associated with these chemicals. For practical purposes, a solvent is simply any chemical capable of dissolving specific solids or liquids. Petroleum based solvents are the most common type used in industry.

Exposure and overexposure to a solvent can occur in various situations. Preventing such exposures is key to protecting yourself from the damaging effects that certain chemicals can have on your body.

Examples include:

Absorption by direct contact on the skin. Wearing the right type of gloves and other protective gear is one way of preventing skin contact with the solvents you are using.

Inhalation by breathing vapors. Breathing in the vapors can quickly result in the chemical entering your body and bloodstream via your lungs. Utilizing the proper respirator can protect your lungs from toxic vapors.

Ingestion of the solvent due to not washing your hands after usage. Direct contact with your hands and mouth through eating or smoking may result in unexpected ingestion of solvents. Making sure you follow proper hygiene rules when handling solvents will help prevent ingestion.

Puncture of the skin by a tool or other object that is covered with solvent. Punctures can result in the introduction of toxic chemicals directly into your bloodstream. Making sure you wear proper safety equipment will aid in preventing injuries of this type.

Overexposure to solvents can cause a variety of ailments. Depending on the type of solvent you are exposed to, the body can react in different ways. Skin contact can result in minor skin rashes or an allergic reaction resulting in “chloracne.” This happens when the solvent dissolves the skin’s natural oils. Some workers can develop a sensitization to a particular product or chemical which causes their entire body to be overly sensitive to that substance. In this instance, even a slight exposure can result in adverse or serious reactions. Serious overexposures can lead to illnesses resulting in tissue or organ damage.

As with any chemical or product, important information is contained in the product’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). The MSDS provides information on safe use, handling, disposal and protection methods among other information.

Solvents serve a useful purpose in our everyday lives. If we take the time to learn more about them, we can be better prepared to use them correctly, protect ourselves, and still get our job done effectively. If you are unsure of the potential hazards of a solvent or other chemical that you are using, be sure to ask questions and/or review the MSDS. It is far better to be overly cautious, than to risk an adverse reaction.

Employee Benefits for Grocery Stores Employees

By Employment Resources

As a grocery store employee, you expect to get a regular paycheck. However, you may also be eligible for a variety of employee benefits for grocery stores employees. Here’s a partial list.


Access a variety of healthcare options, including:

  • Medical insurance
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Group vision and dental plan
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Group life insurance
  • Short-term and long-term disability plan
  • Mental health and behavioral health care
  • Free flu shots


Whether you work as a cashier, stocker or manager, you could be eligible for education assistance, including tuition reimbursement or scholarships. Your employer may also offer a mentorship program or leadership development courses taught by your grocery store corporate management team or other trainer.

Employee Assistance Program

If you face a personal emergency, take advantage of the employee assistance program. It can pay a personal bill or provide other assistance.

Some companies also offer assistance with child or elder care. You may also receive free or discounted legal consultations and financial planning.

Time Off

Enjoy paid vacation, sick and holiday time off. The amount of paid time off you receive depends on your employer, the number of hours you work and your specific benefits package.

Future Funding

Grocery stores like Publix give employee stock ownership. Your company may not offer a generous option like this, but do take advantage of their 401(k) retirement savings plan and matching funds.

Payday Perks

Every week or two, you’ll receive a paycheck. Opt into direct deposit in one or more checking or savings accounts, allowing you to customize your paycheck the way you want.

Other payday perks could include a free credit union membership where you can access higher than normal interest rates. Some companies also offer:

  • Quarterly bonuses
  • Annual holiday cash bonuses
  • Bereavement pay
  • Jury duty pay
  • Premium pay for overnight, weekend or holiday shifts

Miscellaneous Benefits

There are a variety of additional benefits that supplement your paycheck and offer personal and professional fulfillment. They include:

  • Service awards
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Holiday exchange (get the day off of your choice when you work on a holiday)
  • Discounts on local attractions or events
  • Adoption assistance
  • Discounts on home or auto insurance
  • Cellphone discounts
  • Gym membership
  • Free food or discounted groceries
  • Product tastings
  • Free uniforms and shoe allowance
  • Free parking
  • Annual review
  • Annual survey to give feedback to your supervisor

These are a few examples of employee benefits for grocery stores employees. Check with your particular employer as you take advantage of all the benefits you’re eligible to receive.

Healthcare Insurance Options for Employee Benefits Packages

By Employment Resources

Insurance is one of the most important benefits in an employee benefits package. As you look for your next job, consider the healthcare insurance options your potential employer could offer.


The types of medical coverage offered in an employee benefits package depends on the number of employees, the company’s budget, available plans and legal requirements. In general, medical insurance options include:

  • Deductibles
  • Copayments
  • Out-of-pocket maximums
  • Network of doctors and hospitals
  • Primary care
  • Preventative screenings
  • X-rays, blood work and other testing
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Behavioral health care
  • Maternity care
  • Wellness programs
  • Option to add family members for an additional cost

Check your insurance package for details on the coverage. Make sure the medical treatment you want and need is included, and determine how much of the premium you’ll have to pay. Depending on the coverage, you may have to pay more to see medical personal that are not part of the approved network.


Oral health affects your body’s overall health. Healthy teeth give you confidence, too, so take advantage of dental insurance.

Your coverage may include:

  • Regular cleanings and oral exams
  • X-rays, cleanings and fillings
  • Discounts for orthodontic services
  • Oral surgery


When your eyes are healthy, you can focus on your work and are less likely to develop headaches and other health conditions caused by eye strain. A vision plan can include an annual eye exam to evaluate eye health and the need for corrective lenses. Your vision insurance may also cover eyeglasses, contact lenses and safety glasses.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription medication can correct a variety of illnesses and chronic conditions.

Most prescription drug plans categorize medicine in tiers with tier 1 being the most affordable and tier 4 being the most expensive. Your plan will outline which medicine falls into which tier.

  • Tier 1 is primarily generic brands
  • Tier 2 is preferred brand name and some generic brands
  • Tier 3 is non-preferred brand name drugs
  • Tier 4 is usually self-administered or specialty drugs for chronic or serious conditions

Depending on the type of coverage you have, you can fill prescriptions at a local pharmacy or order online.


Employers and employees with certain types of medical insurance can open a Health Savings Account (HSA), a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Those funds pay qualified medical expenses like deductibles, copayments, prescriptions, testing and therapy.

These and other healthcare insurance options like wellness programs, hearing coverage and disability could be part of your employee benefits package. Evaluate your needs then consider the insurance benefits package employers offer as you choose your next job.

Eight Best HR Resources

By Employment Resources

Human Resources is the company department responsible for employee matters. HR department employees handle recruiting, benefits and discipline issues and ensure the company grows and remains viable for years into the future. It’s a big job, so HR department employees need eight best HR resources to stay on top of trends, get advice and find the support they need.

    1. Evil HR LadyStarted by Suzanne Lucas, a 10-year HR veteran for a Fortune 500 corporation, Evil HR Lady takes the mystery out of human resources. Learn the truth about your job, find answers to your questions and access a variety of HR blogs and resources listed on this valuable website.


    1. HR.comAccess one of the largest online HR communities at In addition to contributing your own blog posts with tips, advice and other HR content, you can find these resources.

Best Practices
Current Articles
White Papers


    1. HR Job BoardsHR professionals find employment opportunities on a variety of job boards, including CareerBuilder or Monster. These general job boards are beneficial, but it also pays to consider HR-specific job boards such as Job Board, HR Crossing and SHRM’s HR Jobs. They help you track employment trends, learn current hiring practices and discover unique interview tips. While you can check out CareerBuilder or Monster, consider these HR-specific job boards, too.
    1. HR MagazineLearn from one of the most respected HR magazines in the industry when you subscribe to HR Magazine. Get helpful advice, professional tips and practical resources in your mailbox every month.
    1. Human Resources by EntrepreneurThe Human Resources section of Entrepreneur’s website offers online support for business owners. Topics covered include employee:

Employment Law


    1. LinkedIn GroupsLinkedIn helps professional connect. Join HR groups to expand your network, learn new things and stay updated on trends and news. Linked:HR is the most popular and active group, followed by Human Resources Professionals Worldwide, but there are dozens to choose from.


    • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)A worldwide organization, SHRM connects over 250,000 HR professionals in over 140 countries. You can also find local SHRM chapters that help you develop decision-making, leadership, management, public speaking and other professional skills. On the website, find HR educational materials, including:


  1. TwitterCheck out the WeFollow directory on Twitter to find hundreds of HR professionals. They share resources, training and advice. You can also add yourself to the directory, tag yourself under Humanresources and start connecting with colleagues.

These eight best HR resources help HR professionals stay updated on industry trends and connect with other HR employees. They also offer helpful advice, support and resources. Use them to better understand what human resources is all about.