Any Human Resources Wizards Here?

leafy02May 1, 2012

I just finished my master's and I'm on the job market. I had one interview a few weeks ago and they've asked me back for round two. Super exciting, but it's been literally 20 years since I've been a new hire and I have no idea what is and isn't negotiable.

Here's my question: I don't need medical benefits as I'm well covered by my husband's benefits. Is it acceptable/normal to ask for more salary and no benefits? If so, how do I know what the cost of the benefits would be, or what amount to ask for instead?

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Congratulations on your degree and a new phase of your life. I think, depending on the size of the company/organization, you might be required to have insurance. The places I've worked had contracts for health care that required all employees to be covered, but didn't require dependents to be covered. I think because it was a small company, they had a minimum # in order to get a contract and couldn't let some people opt out because the rest of us might lose our coverage. If it's a big firm that might not be the case. Not sure what it costs...when I retired and had Cobra that I had to pay, it was $800 a month...but that will depend on the contract/coverage.

Maybe they will explain benefits in a way that offers you an option to opt out and you won't have to ask.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 2:59AM
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Not a wizard, advice is to bring this up only AFTER you have an offer letter in hand and are negotiating. Focus at this stage on getting the job. There will be time later to sort out things like benefits and salary. Until you have an offer letter it is a moot point. Also, this is something to bring up with HR, not with the hiring managers. It's not really their job to know all the different "packages" or what is/isn't legal with regard to benefits and it could be taken the wrong way.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 6:24AM
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Many companies offer an amount to employees who elect their medical coverage through a spouse. Not sure what the basis of the amount is (monthly? annually?) but I seem to remember a figure of $500 at one firm I worked for. I would certainly ask specifics about medical benefits (after job offer). Everyone does, as it's part of the employment package and offers have been declined on the basis of medical benefits.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 7:37AM
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Double check that your husband's company will continue offering insurnace for you once you are employed with a company that offers you coverage.

Many companies won't continue covering the spouse if they are eligible through their own employer.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 8:46AM
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You may also consider taking the health coverage even though your dh has a good plan. In this day and age you really can't have too much health insurance! I can understand wanting extra salary, but if that's not negotiable, you still have a benefit that may serve you quite well at some point, in addition to your spouse's coverage. You never know.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 9:04AM
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Thank you all for those pointers. I will check out DH's policy to make sure they will still cover me. And then wait to see if I get the job offer. Nervous!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 9:10AM
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Good luck! Both my daughters are stll under our health plan until they turn 26. Both asked for and got the extra money instead of the insurance at their jobs.
Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 6:04PM
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Leafy, what is your masters degree in? Were you on hiatus or is this a continuation of your first career? Not that it has anything to do with your HR question...

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 6:19PM
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Judith, it's a little bit of both. My master's is in social work and the job I'm applying for is a counseling position. I was primarily a SAHM for the past 18 years but worked part time in a few different capacities with underserved populations/families.

But for the past 15 years, one job led to another without my having to do an interview with folks who didn't already know me. Then we moved and I went back to school, so it's been a bit stressful for me to be on the job market in a place where I don't have a pool of employers who know me.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 6:41PM
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It really depends on the company. I am the Recruiter at a small non-profit, and almost all of our jobs have a set pay rate. For those rare jobs where we have an opening with a pay range, the pay rate we offer the potential new hire is always based on experience level. Medical benefits have nothing to do with it.

In any case, yes, don't bring up your idea until after you receive the job offer. And good luck!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 9:35PM
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Good luck in your new endeavor! I am the finance and human resources director for a non-profit, and I agree with everything that has been said here. If employees decline our insurance plan, they receive $225/month, which is significantly less than what the insurance costs us as the employer. If you do opt out, you will be required to provide proof that you are covered under your spouse's plan.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 9:40PM
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