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Monday, October 13, 2008

Helping Employees During Open Enrollment

It's October and that means its time for open enrollment for work place benefits.

Most companies with open enrollment have benefits such as 401(k), health insurance, as well as flexible spending and possibly additional paid time off (PTO).

A good manager encourages their employees to review their current benefits, and consider changes for the new benefit year.

First, despite the current financial mess, encourage employees to contribute to their 401(k) plan. Any corporate contribution is a net positive. As we have seen over the last 70 years, the stock market has averaged about 11% growth. Don't stop saving! Cheap? No. 100% Free. Trade stocks for free on The Free Trading Community.

Second, employees should review their health plans. They may consider more expensive PPO plans if they are planning a family or have specialized needs that these types of plans cover. For younger employees in good general health, they may consider low deductible plans.

Third, flexible spending is a great benefit, especially for families. By tucking away money, tax-free, for medical and day care expenses can be a real boost. Remind employees that the benefits must be consumed by the end of the benefit year or the remaining balance will be forfeited. Compare Annuity Investment Plans!

Finally, if additional paid leave is offered, employees may want to consider it, if they have contributed to a 401(k) first. It may be important for those with community service commitments, or athletic competition to have the time available to take off.

As a manager, your employees' well being is a very serious matter. Although open enrollment is very personal, your guidance and understanding of the benefits offered can be a benefit all to itself. Encourage saving, as well as appropriate health coverage. Also, don't forget the financial benefit that flexible spending accounts and health care reimbursement accounts bring.

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