Question 1. Discuss the increasing popularity of family-friendly benefits and flexible benefits. Provide examples of both types of programs.
Today, the family-friendly also known as domestic partner benefits and Flexible benefits are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, so are many other types of non-direct payments. Employees are realizing that such benefits may become much more valuable than the increased salary. On the other hand, the employers also realize the great motivational potential of these benefits. However, domestic partner benefits and flexible benefits are probably among the most popular (Dessler, 2015).
In regard to domestic partner benefits, it is reasonable to make a remark that these benefits may be spread on the employee’s spouse, and this refers also to same sex marriages. Family benefits will also cover members of the family directly dependent on the employee. The plans may include health insurance and other benefits, which the employee may not be able to afford but for the help of the company.
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In case of a flexible benefit program, an employee is allowed to discuss possible benefits with the employer. It allows them develop a benefit package of their own, the one, which includes benefits that are particularly helpful for them. This approach is also referred to as “cafeteria plan”. The employees are allowed to select their preferred benefits within the limits of the sum available for this purpose. However, they need to take some compulsory benefits, such as social security, unemployment insurance, among others. The rest of the budget they are free to spend on any benefits they find more preferable for themselves.
Flexible benefits are also quickly gaining popularity both with the employees and the employers who have come to recognize the great motivational potential of this approach
Question 2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using piecework as a pay plan.
Piecework is an approach that allows the specialist to calculate the salary of an employee based on the number of units or pieces this employee has produced (Dessler, 2015). It is a very popular method of calculating the compensation deserved by the employee. However, it is not free of disadvantages. The disadvantages are caused by a few reasons. First of all, the approach presupposes calculating a certain rate per unit, which then will be applied for calculating the compensation for the employee. Calculating this rate is a challenging task as it involves job evaluation considering the pay offered in the field by other companies for similar types of jobs. Another big disadvantage is that in many instances, the work performed by an employee is impossible to be counted in units. For instance, it is possible to calculate the number of pages translated by a translator, but it is impossible to calculate the work in some other fields. Considering the example of a translator, it is also important to note that not all the tasks are standardized, and some may appear to be more complex. Piecework approach does not take these differences into consideration.
Lastly, the piecework approach does not motivate workers in many instances. No matter whether the employee works fast or slow, regardless of the quality of their performance, they receive the same pay for the unit. Certainly, it is important to meet a certain level of quality. However, there are few jobs where the quality of work produced is not a factor to consider. Thus, this approach works well only in the instances when the compensation for unprofessional labor is being estimated. When applying this approach, it is crucial to realize and face all its limits and disadvantages.
Question 3. Describe the benefits that are required by federal or most state laws. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. Identify benefits that are discretionary on the part of employers.
As emphasized by Dessler (2015), benefits are a great tool for motivating employees to perform better. The employers are free to motivate their workers with various non-direct, non-material benefits, and such benefits often turn out to be a stronger motivating factor than the actual salary. The reason for this is the fact that in many instances, such benefits are providing the employee with the access to the services, which may not otherwise be affordable for the employee (Dessler, 2015). Cases when the employees are able to select possible benefits on their own have also been discussed by Dessler (2015). However, it is important to note that there are certain benefits, which are compulsory for all the employees and all the employers. Such are regulated by federal or state legislation. These typically include social security, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and a number of others. They are important to be regulated by the legislation because this helps better protect the rights of the employees. An employee may not necessarily realize the importance of social security or, for that matter, unemployment insurance, but these are important to have for the employee to avoid significant problems when, for example, the case of unemployment takes place.
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A personal leave, yearly vacation and a number of other benefits remain to be regulated by the employer and may be subject to flexible benefit program.
An employee is definitely capable of defining, how long of a personal leave or a maternity leave they wish to have, and the employer is welcome to estimate what they can afford to provide in this respect. For this reason, these issues are not regulated by the federal or state legislation. This is true in the majority of cases.