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Employee Benefits for Grocery Stores Employees

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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.

Healthcare

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

Education

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.

 

How to Hire the Best Employees

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Hiring the best employees means your business succeeds. Good hiring practices can also save you up to $50,000, the cost of finding, interviewing, training and equipping an employee. It can be challenging to choose the most qualified candidates, though.  Consider tips that show you how to hire the best employees.

    1. Capability

      In addition to easy jobs, the best employees tackle hard tasks that require effort, creativity and perseverance. Evaluate a potential hire’s willingness to learn, grow and take on additional responsibility as needed.

    1. Character

      In addition to skills, your employees must have a good character. They should be honest, truthful, selfless, a team player and respectful.

    1. Commitment

      Employees do occasionally move on to other jobs and careers, but you don’t want to hire a chronic quitter. Examine a candidate’s resume, job history and references for a pattern of commitment.

    1. Compatibility

      Your business culture is an important part of your success since employees work harder and smarter when they get along with each other. Be sure a potential employee is compatible with your existing employees, supervisors and clients before you hire them.

    1. Compensation

      When an employee receives the compensation they deserve, they feel appreciated and motivated to perform to the best of their ability. It’s always a good idea to double check that an employee candidate is comfortable with the compensation before you send an official job offer.

    1. Competency

      The best employees have the skills needed to do the job they’re assigned. Check education and experiences, too, as you ensure your new hire is competent for the position and duties.

How to Evaluate Potential Employees

During the interview process, an employee can create a persona that gets your attention. You have to comb through their application carefully to ensure you know exactly what kind of employee you’re getting.

First, read the cover letter. It gives you a good idea of the candidate’s passion, past performance and future potential.

Next, get creative during the interview. Applicants can easily rehearse traditional questions and hide their true potential, leaving you without a real look at their capabilities. Creative questions like, “How did your first job prepare you for this position?” can help you see a candidate truthfully and discern how they will act when faced with an unexpected challenge.

Finally, talk to former associates including supervisors, co-workers and subordinates. Discover the truth about how the candidate performed their job, treated others and stepped up to the plate.

To build a better company, you must know how to hire the best employees. Use these tips during your next hiring event to reveal the employees who will best help your company succeed.

529 Plans Versus Life Insurance for College Savings

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Many parents purchase 529 plans that allow them to save for their children’s’ college education. Life insurance is another savings vehicle for children, so compare both plans as you choose the best option for your child’s future education.

529 Plans

529 Plans are a unique way to save for your child’s college education. The money grows tax-free, and distributions are not subject to federal income tax. You can open an account with a 529 Plan manager or your financial planner. Consider these facts about 529 Plans.

Uses: Spend 529 Plan funds on tuition, books and other college expenses at a qualified school, including vocational schools, colleges and universities. If you withdraw the money for something other than education, you will owe penalties and taxes on the distributions.

Fees: Expect to pay a 529 Plan fee based on your portfolio. Additionally, you may owe a broker fee if you purchase the policy through a financial advisor.

Investment Return: When you invest in 529 Plans, you choose the portfolio in which you invest your funds. There is no limit to your return potential, but you also aren’t guaranteed a return since you invest in mutual funds, bond mutual funds or money market accounts.

Financial Aid: While 529 Plans allow you to pay for college, they do affect your child’s financial aid package. Your child could lose up to 5.64 percent of the 529 Plan’s total value in college financial aid.

Life Insurance

Cash-value or whole life insurance policies accrue cash over time. Buy a policy when your child is born, and it could pay for your child’s college education in 18 years. These policies grow tax-deferred. Understand several facts about using life insurance for college.

Uses: Life insurance is flexible since you can use the accrued money for any expense. Your child can withdraw the funds for college or buy a car or house or vacation if they get a full scholarship or decide not to attend college.

Fees: Expect to pay regular premiums for your life insurance policy. You’ll also owe the insurance agent a commission.

Investment Returns: The type of life insurance policy you buy dictates the returns you receive. On average, you could see a three to six percent return over 10 years.

Financial Aid: Borrow money from your cash-value or whole life insurance policy for school, and you don’t have to claim it as income on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms. Overall, it will minimally impact your child’s financial aid eligibility.

When paying for your child’s education, start saving early. If possible, invest in 529 Plans since they’re specifically designed for education.

Best Ways To Protect Your Vision When Your Work At A Computer

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Up to ninety percent of people who use a computer at work for even as little as two hours experience eye strain or computer vision syndrome (CVS). That strain can range from minor irritations and red eyes to decreased vision. Computer use can also cause physical fatigue, work errors and decreased productivity, so take these steps and reduce eye strain.

Cut the Glare

Bright light can increase eye strain, so close curtains and dim interior lights or use low-intensity bulbs. You can also install an anti-glare lens on your monitor or eyeglasses.

Improve Your Display

Select at least a 19-inch high-resolution monitor that features a liquid crystal display rather than a cathode ray tube. This display technology reduces glare and image flicker, two factors that can cause eye strain.

Adjust the Display Settings

The settings on your monitor can affect your vision, so make several adjustments.

  • Match the brightness to your surroundings.
  • Increase the text size and contrast.
  • Use black print and a white background.
  • Reduce the color temperature to lower the blue light.

Change your Workstation

Several ergonomic adjustments at your workstation can reduce eye strain. When looking from paper to the monitor, place the paper on a raised stand so it’s even with the monitor. Then set the chair and monitor to the correct height. The computer screen should sit 10 to 15 degrees below and 20 to 24 inches or an arm’s length away from your eyes. You should also clean your screen regularly to remove fingerprints and dust that affects your view.

Take Breaks

Set your timer and look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes. Focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break.

Also, remember to blink. When using a computer, you’re one-third less likely to blink, but your eyes need the moisture.

You can step away from your workstation and stretch, too. These breaks reduce muscle fatigue and tension, and you will return to work ready to focus on your screen and work again.

Purchase Computer Glasses

Modified eyeglasses with lightly tinted or photochromic lenses reduce blue light exposure. Ask your optometrist about silicone hydrogel contact lenses, too, the most comfortable contact lenses for many computer users.

Get an Eye Exam

Use your vision insurance coverage to check your eye health. Tell your doctor how often you use the computer and get tips for reducing future eye strain. You may also need artificial tears to correct dry eye and reduce irritation.

As you work at your computer, take these steps to reduce eye strain. They protect your vision and improve your work productivity.

Ways To Improve Focus In The Office When Spring Fever Strikes

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A rise in temperatures this month can signal spring fever in your office. Your human resources department staff can improve focus and keep everyone on task in several ways.

1. Provide New Challenges

Your employees may feel distracted in part because they’re bored, so provide challenges. Ask them to work in a different department for a day, take on a special project or work with a high school intern. The challenge can provide a welcome distraction and jumpstart focus and concentration.

2. Offer a Class

Give employees the opportunity to learn a new skill. You can poll your staff for suggestions or offer foreign language, management or coding classes. While learning something new, your employees will focus on something other than the nice weather.

3. Promote Exercise

Physical activity improves focus, an excellent reason to host a fitness class over lunch, offer discounts to the local gym or encourage employees to bike or walk to work. As your staff members add more exercise into their daily routines, they also focus better on their work-related tasks.

4. Encourage Breaks

Remind employees that breaks can improve their mental health, productivity and focus. Set a timer for hourly stretch breaks, and share the value of regular lunch breaks away from the desk.

5. Change the Scenery

Hang colorful artwork around the office or commission a floral mural in the break room. You can also allow employees to meet at a local coffee shop, play disc golf during lunch or hold walking meetings outdoors. Employees will appreciate the opportunity to enjoy the warm weather, and the change of scenery boosts creativity, productivity and motivation.

6. Stock Healthy Snacks and Beverages

Fill your break room with healthy food and beverage options, including fruit, veggies, whole grains and water. These snack options boost mood and creativity and improve your employees’ overall health.

7. Play a Game

Challenge employees to participate in a March Madness basketball bracket, host a chili cook-off or reward teams who reach productivity goals. Games keep employees entertained and as a bonus, you’ll see a stronger spirit of cooperation.

8. Bring the Outdoors Inside

Plants can purify the air and improve mood. Arrange plants around the office as you bring a bit of the outdoors inside your office.

9. Adjust Work Hours

If your employees can arrive early and leave work early, they get to enjoy the warm, sunny afternoon weather. Adjust work hours, if possible, and allow employees to indulge their spring fever while completing their work.

Spring fever might try to curtail productivity in your office, but you can improve focus with these steps. Everyone will be happier and work smarter thanks to your efforts.

Top Topics To Avoid Discussing At Work

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After spending 40 hours a week together at work, you and your coworkers may become close friends. Unfortunately, certain conversation topics can cause awkward situations and increase stress, decrease productivity, motivation and performance, and threaten your job. Protect your health and career when you avoid talking about these topics.

Politics

Whether you avidly follow or purposely avoid politics, political conversations should be off-limits at work. The subject ignites tempers and undermines team spirit.

You may announce that you vote. However, avoid candidating for a specific party, and change the subject if your coworkers introduce the topic.

Pay Rate and Benefits

Under federal law, you may openly discuss your pay rate, insurance coverage and other benefits with coworkers. These discussions may benefit others if they lead to equal pay for equal work, but they could also cause hard feelings and hinder cooperation.

Discuss your paycheck and benefits only if the conversation will benefit your team, and never brag about or belittle someone else’s paycheck. Always err on the side of respect.

Personal Relationship Problems

Maybe your spouse stopped sleeping with you or your child is bullied at school. Share these personal relationship problems at work, and you undermine your authority as a supervisor or manager. The information could also fuel the rumor mill or anchor a sexual harassment complaint.

Restrict personal conversations to neutral topics. Then discuss and resolve your personal relationship problems outside of work.

Health Concerns

You may decide to tell your coworkers about your struggle with chronic pain or depression, especially on challenging days. Consider how your health concern affects your reputation and even your ability to promote, though.

If you must share health information, don’t talk daily about your challenges or discuss every detail. Rely on your family and friends for support and focus on your job when you’re at work.

Career Aspirations

Career aspirations can motivate you to better yourself. Your coworkers may question your loyalty or resent you, however, if you share your goals with them.

Tell your boss privately that you want to move up the ladder. Then do your best work every day as you demonstrate that you’re a team player and committed to the company’s success.

Religion

Faith is a personal and sensitive subject. Even an innocent comment about church or a holiday can make your coworkers feel uncomfortable.

While you can mention your faith, avoid in-depth religious conversations. Take care to never belittle or disagree with someone else’s beliefs, and don’t try to convert anyone.

The conversations you have at work influence your job performance, reputation, success and health. Aim to promote respect, cooperation and peace as you talk to your coworkers.

How To Use Your Mental Health Insurance Benefits

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You’re familiar with the physical health benefits your insurance provides, but you may not be familiar with your mental health benefits. These benefits address numerous mental and behavioral health challenges you may face, and you can use them in several ways.

Therapy and Counseling

See a licensed therapist or counselor and discuss any work, family or personal stressors, past or present trauma, and other challenges you face. You can see a therapist for a specific issue for a limited number of sessions or maintain an ongoing relationship as part of your long-term self-care.

Group Support

Join a support group for a specific health or wellness condition. Group sessions can address grief, substance use, anger management, and a variety of other concerns.

Medication

If you need prescription medication for anxiety, depression or another condition, see your physician or psychiatrist. Your insurance should include prescription medication coverage.

Screenings

Receive an alcohol misuse or depression screening as you improve your overall health. The screening results can help you decide if you need additional treatment.

Alcohol Misuse or Substance Use

Get help for an alcohol misuse or substance use concern. With insurance, you can attend detox or rehab and individual or group therapy sessions and receive other beneficial support.

Inpatient Services

Sometimes, you need the intensive treatment an inpatient behavioral stay can provide. Use your insurance benefits to pay for your stay in an approved inpatient program.

Excluded Mental Health Diagnoses

Some health plans exclude certain physical, mental or behavioral health diagnoses. Review your policy so you understand any exclusions and the out-of-pocket expenses you’ll owe if you decide to pursue treatment.

Understand Parity Protection

You may hesitate to use your mental health benefits because you worry that it will cost more than regular health treatment. Typically, insurance policies provide parity protection for mental health benefits. It ensures you don’t pay more for mental health treatment than you pay for regular health treatment, so use the benefit if you need it.

Check your Policy for Coverage Details

Almost all insurance plans provide mental, behavioral and substance use health benefits. However, your specific coverage and benefit limits depend on your policy and even state laws. Check your policy carefully so you know details like:

  • Covered services
  • In-network providers
  • Counseling session annual or lifetime limits
  • Co-pays for services
  • Deductible
  • Pre-authorization requirements
  • How claims are paid

If you have questions about your coverage, read your policy. You can also talk to your human resources professional or contact the insurance company to clarify anything you don’t understand.

The mental health benefits included in your health insurance coverage can help you manage mental and behavioral challenges. Understand how to use your coverage as you get and stay healthy.

Avoid Computer Eye Strain

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Employees who work all day at a computer are at risk for eyestrain. To help your workers protect themselves, we recommend that they follow these basic precautions.

  • Look away from the monitor for 30 seconds, every 15 or 20 minutes. Look at or scan things at least 20 feet away to allow your eyes to focus in a rest position.
  • Reposition the monitor 20” to 26” from your eyes (roughly the distance from your eyes to the end of your index finger with arm outstretched). Otherwise, you’ll be forced to sit or lean too close to the screen, or sit too far away. If your eyeglass prescription doesn’t allow clear vision at the 20” to 26” range, get it adjusted.

Reset monitor height so that the top edge is even with your view when looking straight ahead. Then tilt the screen upward so that you’re not looking at the image at an angle. The optimal screen position is 10 to 20 degrees below eye level.

  • Reset the monitor screen resolution, the Internet browser text size, and the zoom and font default in the operating system and in software applications so that text is easy to read. Start with a screen resolution of 800×600 for older CRT monitors and 1024×768 or higher for LCD (flat screen) monitors. Set the monitor refresh rate at or above 75 hertz (Hz) on older CRT models. Refresh rate is irrelevant for LCD monitors and is factory set, usually 60 Hz.
  • Blink often (put a sticky note on your monitor!). The average blink rate is 22 times per minute. The rate goes down to seven per minute when looking at a monitor – which causes the eye lens to dry out. If you can’t get into the habit of blinking more often, use an eye moistener (saline solution).
  • Relax your eye muscles. Put the palm of your hands over your eyes for a minute or so, once every half hour. This warms the muscles around the eyes, relaxing them.
  • Minimize glare. Make sure the background light level around the monitor is about the same as the screen light level. Minimize direct sunlight or bright lights in front of the monitor or directly behind it.
  • Adjust the contrast and brightness to levels you use when reading a book comfortably. A bright screen causes eyestrain.
    Use a paper holder to hold documents. Put the document at the same level as the monitor, or attach it to the monitor. This prevents repetitive neck and eye movement from paper to screen.

What You Need To Know About Employee Sick Leave

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Federal laws may not mandate that your employer gives you sick leave, but some statesrequire it, and individual employers may offer this benefit as part of a comprehensive benefits package. Learn more about this valuable benefit as you maximize your employee sick leave.

What is Employee Sick Leave?

If you’re ill or injured, you can’t perform to the best of your ability and may compromise safety. For these reasons, some employers offer paid or unpaid time off work so you can seek medical treatment or rest and recover.

To accumulate sick leave, you may first need to work a certain number of hours or achieve a certain level in the company. You may lose unused sick leave time at the end of the year or roll it over to the next year. Sometimes, employees also reimburse you for any sick time you don’t use.

Reasons to use Your Employee Sick Leave

Depending on your employer, you may be restricted and only allowed to take sick leave if you’re ill or injured. Other employers offer paid leave if you need to care for sick children or nurture your mental health. Also, some employees lump sick leave in with your personal or vacation days, allowing you to use your time for whatever you want.

Remember that sick leave is different from Workers’ Compensation. If your illness or injury occurred because of a work-related task, file a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Options if you Need More Time Off

Even if your employer doesn’t offer sick leave, you do have options if you must take time off work for an illness or injury.

  • Take advantage of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You could receive up to 12 weeks off to care for yourself or a family member who faces an illness or another medical emergency.
  • Check to see if you have disability leave, particularly if you need to take an extended time off work.
  • Ask your employer if you can take unpaid leave until you feel well enough to return to work.

Where to Find Details About Your Sick Leave Benefits

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requires all employers to prepare a description of their specific employment practices and policies. This written or posted description includes details about your sick leave, paid vacations, personal days, holidays, bonuses, severance pay and other benefits. Review your employer’s policy to verify the type of benefits you’re eligible to receive and details about how to request that time off.

The next time you’re too sick or injured to go to work, take a sick day. It’s a valuable benefit your employer may offer.

Can You Get Time Off Work And A Paycheck For Jury Duty?

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United States citizens who receive a summons for jury duty must report to the courthouse and perform their civic duty. Your jury duty responsibilities could require anywhere from several hours to several months off work, though. What happens to your job and paycheck while you serve on a jury? Learn more about laws and your employer’s jury duty selection policy that affect your ability to get time off work and receive a paycheck when you’re called for jury duty.

Verify Your State’s Laws

The U.S. Department of Labor allows states to determine if jurors can receive time off work. Most states have established time off and paycheck guidelines employers must follow when an employee receives a jury duty summons, so verify your state’s specific jury duty leave laws.

In general, many states require employers to provide employees with time off work for jury duty. Some states also allow employers to offer different levels of time off based on the company’s industry and location and the employee’s job title.

Additionally, state laws determine if employers must pay employees who serve on a jury. The law may allow employers to provide unpaid leave or deduct jury pay from the employee’s paycheck. In most cases, though, employers cannot cut benefits, including insurance coverage and vacation time accrual, while employees serve on a jury.

Review Your Employer’s Jury Duty Selection Policy

Many companies include a jury duty selection policy in the employee handbook. It outlines time off and pay details for employees who receive a jury duty summons, so review the policy and follow it as you arrange for your jury duty service.

Keep in mind that federal law protects employees while they serve on jury duty. Employers may not discourage employees from serving or terminate, demote, harass, threaten or coerce an employee who reports for jury duty.

Steps to Take When you Receive a Jury Duty Summons

As soon as you receive a jury duty summons, notify your employer. Early notification gives your supervisor time to find coverage for your duties or time to write a letter and ask the court to postpone your jury duty date, which may be beneficial if you’re an essential employee or are involved in a major project.

You will also want to discuss your summons with the Human Resources department and review your employer’s jury duty selection policy. Your employer may require you to show proof of your summons before they grant you leave or pay.

Jury duty remains a privilege and responsibility for Americans but can disrupt your job. Understand your rights under state law and your employer’s jury duty selection policy as you perform your civic duty.