All Articles Tagged "benefits"
Have you ever been in this situation? You go to work on your very first day, eager and mentally ready to finally conquer Excel. You get signed in by security and enter the elevator, maybe meeting a smiling face or two. You walk through the doors of your new job, greet the receptionist, get ushered in and quickly notice that mostly everyone around you is of the same racial or ethnic makeup.
It can be disheartening to work in a corporation that offers amazing benefits, but very little of diversity within. But we shouldn’t be too hard on HR; some businesses just may not understand the various ways in which diversity would truly benefit them beyond gaining Multicultural Excellence Awards for their advertising campaigns. Here are the top nine ways that diversity benefits businesses:
USA Today has examined employment data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, finding that workers are getting more benefits these days, but less cold, hard cash in their paychecks.
Figures from the BEA show that worker benefits accounted for 19.7 percent of compensation last year, up from 16.6 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in the 1960s. Between 2007 and 2011, income from benefits went up $1,302 per full-time worker (about 10.8 percent). But income from actual cash only went up $777, or 1.4 percent for that same period.
“In 2011, average compensation was $67,744 per full-time worker — $54,413 in wages and $13,331 in benefits, BEA data show. Benefits have grown at 2.5 times the rate of wages in the past decade,” the paper says.
The three most popular benefits are health insurance, retirement benefits and employer contributions. All of these things are great, but it doesn’t buy groceries, pay for child care, or put gas in the tank, everyday expenses that weigh heavily on the average person. To employers, who are being pressed for taxes on wages, these benefits are an alternative, but still cost money. So the two sides are a bit at odds. But workers will start to see those medical benefits on their tax forms, so they’ll have a clearer understanding of what they’re earning.
The latest weekly unemployment figures show that the number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits went up by 46,000 from the week before to about 388,000. That outcome marks a sudden spike from the past couple of weeks; the previous figures reached 4 1/2-year lows. The unemployment rate fell below eight percent (7.8 percent) for the first time since 2009. (President Obama was sure to mention that last night at the Al Smith dinner.)
Experts blame the shift on the ebb and flow of seasonal changes and a new quarter. They prefer to look at four-week numbers rather than weekly figures.
With more millennials entering the workforce, employers are adjusting company policies — from promotion procedures to work schedules — to accommodate the most talented of this demographic. However, the concessions are rankling older workers.
Millennials or Generation Y, defined as those born in the 1980s and 1990s, are an important workforce pipeline as baby boomers retire. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that millennials will make up 40 percent of the workforce by 2020. These workers are credited with being tech savvy, collaborative and willing to work long hours if the working conditions are right.
The perceived special treatment is rubbing some of the experienced workers the wrong way, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Just this week, The Washington Post published an opinion piece noting the bad rep that millennials have, but also pointing out the improvements that their presence could make. Americans work hundreds of hours more than workers in other developed countries. And for our hard work, we miss out on life.
Gen Y workers will live with parents, work odd jobs, and leave a position in pursuit of their “dream job,” that article says. Moreover, they’re aggressive, asking directly for what they want.
“Beyond that, Gen Y’s demands may eventually help bring about the family-friendly policies for which working mothers have been leading the fight,” the article says. “Now everybody wants to leave the office at 5:30. Because they’ve got band practice. Or dinner with their grandma. Or they need to walk their rescue puppy.”
The author, Emily Matchar, emphasizes that the things the younger generation of workers want are the same things that the older ones desire. So many the generation gap isn’t as wide as we thought.
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Exercise, exercise, exercise is all you hear directed at black women these days in response to a slew of reports pointing out the obesity epidemic plaguing our demographic. But now all of a sudden, a pair of British researchers have published a paper in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, saying black girls and women don’t benefit from working out as much as white ones do.
According to the paper, for black adolescent girls, who were most physically active at age 12, by age 14, obesity was nearly as likely as it was for those whose activity rates were far lower. For white girls though, their risk of becoming obese nearly disappeared. This was true even when caloric intake was the same between the two groups.
The authors used data from a government health study database of 1,148 adolescents who were followed for several years. Just under half, 538, identified themselves as African American. The researchers believe a significant metabolic disadvantage is at play for African American girls hoping to maintain a healthy weight, concluding that “obesity-prevention interventions may need to be adapted to account for the finding that black girls are less sensitive to the effects of physical activity” than their white counterparts. The study is said to fall in line with other research that has found black women oxidize fat more slowly in response to exercise, and that their resting metabolic rates are lower than those of white women.
Before taking this study at face value, I think it’s important to point out that BMI and two other obesity measures (a measure of body fat adopted by the International Obesity Task Force and a gauge of skin-fold thickness) were the parameters used to determine that 12-year-old black girls in the top half of the physical activity continuum were only 15% less likely to be obese by age 14 than ones in the lower half. For white girls, those in the upper half were 85% less likely to become obese over the next two years than were those in the bottom half. BMI has long been a controversial indicator of health and obesity for black women so it’s important to take this finding with a grain of salt, realizing that exercise is in fact still beneficial for black women and that BMI is not the only measure of it’s positive effects on your overall health.
Linda Bacon, an associate nutritionist with UC Davis is very critical of the nation’s focus on reducing obesity, and she says activists need to focus on healthy lifestyles and not on BMI.
“We should just be encouraging activity for the sake of activity and good health. If we encourage it as a weight management technique, when it doesn’t work for that, people won’t see the value in it.”
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Kim Kardashian should not expect double dating with Jay and Bey any time soon. With her high profile new beau, Kim K. might be expecting a little too much from dating and “parlaying” with Kanye West, including hoping to get a bit closer to Queen Bey.
According to Hello Beautiful and multiple sources, allegedly:
Kim had visions of her and Beyonce hanging out while Jay and Kanye talked music and business, but it’s not going to happen. Bey’s marriage to Jay-Z was extremely private, and neither of them confirmed it until long after the event. Kim, on the other hand, turned her wedding into a media circus, and the whole thing was filmed for a reality show. Bey thought that it was really tacky and is not a fan of reality TV, either. Bey is used to hanging out with Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow—she’s in a totally different league to Kim.
Multiple sources, like The Urban Daily, have also reported that Kris Jenner allegedly has a STRONG (if not thirsty) interest in having Beyoncé and Jay-Z on the upcoming season of the family’s reality show, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
This comes as no surprise, as celebrity couples date in the eye of the public and some like to flaunt their notable connections to other stars to gain press, views, money and more. In the case of Kim and Kanye, their ever-evolving union is suspect as they were allegedly only “friends” for years just a minute ago. But since the break-up of Kanye and former arm candy, Amber Rose, the model put a spotlight on the two. Kim was accused of being a ‘homewrecker’ by the model, allegedly getting in between their relationship and eventually causing it to fail. So who knows, this could be Kim and Kanye’s way of milking that unexpected controversy to get attention, or, they really could be serious about one another…*Kanye shrug*
But due to her fan base, fame and sometimes the very personal slander against her and her family, Beyoncé is known as a very private celebrity, and her alleged reservations about being associated with Kim seem to be justified by Kim’s very public life. So to say that Kim shouldn’t expect to be Beyoncé’s BFF by dating Kanye is probably right. And if Bey and Jay do decide to double date with these two, let’s just say that that will definitely be a sad day in Hollywood.
Away from the public eye, dating and forming a relationship with someone is less of a spectacle, but questionable intentions are sometimes still there. Whether your new beau happens to be a notable partner at the law firm, player at your job or in your field, or a respected member of your church, have you evaluated your “true” intentions for dating them? Could you be dating someone for their status and the connections they have, or vice versa?
Although it might not be as noticeable, it should still be evaluated the same. Yes, a relationship is a give and take partnership, but make sure the intentions of both parties are pure, not professionally or personally beneficial. Nobody likes feeling or being used.
Are you benefiting from your partner, or is your partner benefiting from you in the wrong ways? Here are three problems with that type of relationship:
1. It leaves room for speculation and criticism
None of us like to be criticized for our relationship status or the reasons behind it, but a relationship based on convenience will always be questioned, whether the intentions are pure or not. And as if your parents or friends needed another reason to be nosey about your relationships.
2. What’s really keeping that person around?
While you would probably like to think that your man is with you because you’re just that amazing, if you’re being used, once what he’s trying to get from you is gone or withheld (money, contacts, sex, etc), you’re going to be left faster than a bad hairdresser who doesn’t understand the definition of a “trim” (the opposite of a big chop). Being used like that and allowing it to happen in the hopes that something real will form can bring on more heartbreak than is necessary.
3. What type of statement are you making about yourself?
And if you are the user in this relationship, how are you representing yourself, taking part in a relationship that doesn’t seem meaningful? It could come across as saying that you are only the type of person who dates for status, money, convenience, etc. I’m not saying that you’re a goldigger, but…you kind of are.
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This might sound like an oxymoron, but there are true benefits to being in an entry-level position (no, really!). Starting off in a new company, fresh out of college with no real experience level under your belt or beginning in a completely new field way after college could seem like a step back professionally, as you envision endless days of rushing to get coffee, make copies, answer phone calls and doing very little significant work.
Don’t fret in your position just yet. Working your way up the corporate ladder comes with its difficult times, but it is imperative to look at the bright side to being a little lower on the company totem pole. Seize the opportunity of being an entry-level professional to your advantage, and keep in mind these perks you will come out of it with:
Being an entry-level employee is all about the learning experience you receive while being a beginner in the field or company. This experience is invaluable because many mid and upper-level executives have years of professional knowledge, which could make for good examples of what and what not to do in your industry, and a great opportunity to make contacts and network.
The experience of learning from seasoned professionals in your field (while also getting paid!) is one that you do not want to ignore and resent just because you are a little lower on the totem pole at work. Many other executives do not have the chance to sit back and learn while on the job, so take this aspect of your position as having an upper-hand.
The Option to Explore Other Opportunities
One of the most useful benefits of being an entry-level employee is the time and space you get to explore opportunities in and outside your company. This could be preparing for another career path or choosing to pursue a higher education in order to increase your overall market worth in your field. Just beginning in your field, you have the option to explore other paths and possibilities before anything is truly set in stone for you. Take your time as an employee to explore options you might want to look further into before you are solidified in your field. It might prove difficult to change your career path completely after 10 or so years in the same field.
If you are legally married and share a home with your spouse for most of the tax year, you’re eligible to file your taxes as either “Married Jointly” or “Married Separately.” The difference between the two statuses is mainly in the amount of standard deductions you’re allowed to claim. Married filing jointly gets more tax breaks than opting for married but filing separately.
Whether it’s better to file jointly or separately depends on many different factors, including your total income, your available deductions or credits, and the status of your marriage. When in doubt, contact a tax law professional who can give you a professional opinion based on your specific details. But here are a few things to consider when deciding which one is better for you and your husband.
Things to Consider When Filing Separately
- Only one person can claim the tax deductions and credits relating to your children. In some cases, this might mean that the person who files claiming the kids will get money back while the person who doesn’t claim them will owe money.
- Depending on the laws in your state and the details of your marriage–prenuptial agreement terms, length of marriage, etc–you may not be entitled to any money your husband receives as a refund.
- Filing “Married Separately” is different than filing “Single.” You still need your spouse’s signature on the tax return if you’re filing any type of married status.
- Although your tax rate is based on many factors, filing “Married Separately” generally makes your tax rate higher than filing “Married Jointly”.
Things to Consider When Filing Jointly
- If your spouse has some sort of debt that the government can withhold through his tax refund, your money will likely get taken, too. This includes old tax bills, unearned unemployment benefits, and unpaid child support.
- Any refund money and any tax bill from your return will be a joint asset or debt.
- You will need to wait for your spouse to gather his financial paperwork–W-2 forms, 1099s, etc–before you can file.
- If your spouse is dishonest about anything on the tax return, you can be liable for the repercussions. The IRS can go back as far as six years to audit your returns. Even if you’re not together anymore, you and your spouse both are responsible for any issues related to your joint returns.
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Side hustles are a must these days and stay-at-home mothers are earning extra cash in a surprising way—as phone sex operators. “The View” talked about the growing trend last Thursday, based on a segment Elizabeth Hasslebeck did for “Good Morning America.” The report found that the number of stay-at-home moms becoming phone sex operators has increased 400% in the last 18 months. Why? Because it’s steady pay, the benefits are good, and the economy sucks.
A friend of mine worked as a phone sex operator when she moved to a new city. She’s not a stay-at-home mother, but she needed income while she was searching for a 9-to-5, and for a job whose only prerequisite is that you own a landline and know how to put on an act—which most women say they do anyway—she didn’t mind bringing in money from the down-low job.
The most awkward thing for her wasn’t moaning and role playing on the phone because from her experience, most men really just wanted to talk (so sad). She only ran into problems when people wondered what she did for a living and she would have the deer-in-the-headlights look on her face until she finally started telling people she worked in the service industry. Unfortunately, getting up at 3:30 am to put on a Hot voice for the late-night west coasters in need of lip service proved difficult for her and she had to find another occupation. But overall the money was good while it lasted and she didn’t feel any personal shame about it, she just didn’t want to deal with other people’s judgment.
Most stay-at-home moms seem to have the same mindset, from what Elizabeth said: judge me if you want, but I’m making money while spending time with my kids. Some mothers say they keep their side job under wraps for fear of other mothers’ reactions, as some women who were surveyed said they wouldn’t let their child go over the home of a mother she knew worked as a phone sex operator. Sherri Shepherd agreed, and said she wouldn’t trust her child in that situation:“It’s my job to protect my child and that I wouldn’t want him exposed to.”
The biggest shocker of all was Whoopi Goldberg admitting that she used to work as a phone sex operator—-I know, I can’t picture it either—-but it makes sense when you think about it from Whoopi’s perspective. According to her, all the job is is good acting.
I definitely wouldn’t want my children listening to his play mate’s mother talking nasty to some lonely, horny man on the phone, but I wouldn’t say that they couldn’t ever go over the person’s house. Being a phone sex worker may be an odd job that I’m not sure I could pull off, but when it comes to making money legally and supporting your family, I say to each her own.
Have you ever considered being a phone sex operator to earn extra cash? Would you allow your kids to visit the home of a woman who you knew worked as a phone sex operator?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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In this uncertain economy, being “let go” can be devastating. Losing your job can take a toll on you both financially and emotionally, however, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. With the right tools, you can overcome this setback and maybe even come out stronger. Here are some suggestions on how to cope with a job loss.
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It’s not just the unemployed that worry about job security. Those with jobs are increasing growing afraid that they too lack job security, and that their monthly pay checks may soon be replaced with the dreaded pink slip.
Msnbc.com reports on a recent Gallup Poll that reveals 30 percent of workers are worried about getting laid off. This percentage is about the same as the fears in August 2009 and a little higher than the fears of 2010. Economists expect that the new fears are a result of August’s unemployment report that shows although the economy has added jobs since last month, the growth has come incredibly slow.
Sylvia Allegretto, an economist with the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California Berkeley, acknowledges that the job growth rate is nowhere near where it should be to lift the US out of its current situation.
It’s understandable, she tells msnbc.com, why those with jobs would be concerned, as the job market continues its slow growth. In addition to the slow rate of job growth, congress’ highly publicized debt ceiling battle and the resulting downgrade decision made by Standard & Poor, didn’t help to assuage the American public’s fear of job insecurity.
The fear is sure to negatively impact the struggling economy. Naroff Economic Advisors’ Joel Naroff relays to msnbc.com that “nothing changes spending habits more than fear.” If people are fearful about losing their job, they are more likely to hold onto their money rather than spend it.
Naroff also says he has seen no signs of any massive layoffs in the near future. With severe cuts already made and the remaining employees working as hard as they can, many companies have no room to cut the employees they have left. While they may be cautious about hiring additional employees, he says they are making no plans to cut their current list of workers.
Even if they may not be worried about losing their jobs, the Gallup poll observes that 44 percent of workers are worried that their benefits and wages may be cut.
Polling firm Ramusson Reports conducted a poll that directly contradicts Naroff’s assertions. Last month a Ramusson Reports poll revealed that 17 percent of workers said their firms were hiring, and 24 percent said their firm was laying people off.
On Wednesday job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas announced that US employers would cut 51,114 workers in August.