As things slow down at the end of the year and you're maybe taking some time off from work, now is a good time to do a checkup on your career. Do you know everything you need to know to make 2015 a good year? Is there a benefit or policy you're missing out on that could make or break you at work or financially?
Here are six things you should be checking up on to make sure your 2015 is the best year at work ever:1. Obamacare/Affordable Care Act: Yes, I know it's Affordable Care Act or ACA and not officially called Obamacare, but most people still know it as Obamacare. What you need to know, especially if you're on COBRA, is that now is the open enrollment period, which ends February 15. If you've lost coverage at work, then you can qualify for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. If you needed coverage effective January 1, you may have missed your deadline, although a number of states opted to extend it Monday--so it's worth checking if yours is one of them. If you are looking to switch ACA plans, enroll for the first time or switch from COBRA, you have until February 15 to enroll.
2. Check your benefits: Your company may have an open enrollment period for benefits. If you haven't done so already, review your health insurance and other benefits, ask HR what other benefits may be available, and find out when you can enroll or switch. Now is also a good time to get copies of your Summary Plan Descriptions, which describe, supposedly in plain English, your benefits and rights. You'll have a Summary Plan Description available for your health care, pension, 401K, and most other benefits. If it's too late to enroll or switch this year, calendar your deadline for 2015. Find out if your benefits like pension, stock options and 401k employer contributions are vested. If not, when do they vest? If you have options, when can you exercise them? Check the value and see if you might profit by exercising them now. What you don't know about your employee benefits can hurt you.
3. Check your handbook: When was the last time you read the employee handbook? If yours is from 1980, ask HR for the latest version. Your handbook contains important information, such as how to report when you're sick, what to do if you're going to be late, how to apply for medical leave and when you qualify, how to seek accommodations for a disability, how to report discrimination or sexual harassment, information about vacations and PTO, any severance policy, and the company's rules and procedures. You might be surprised what's in your handbook, such as ways the company is spying on you. Read it and be informed. It's the company's manual on how to survive your job, so it's important.
4. Get copies of your contracts: Do you know whether you have a noncompete, confidentiality, nonsolicitation, intellectual property, arbitration or other agreement with your employer? Most people are surprised to learn what they signed when they started their jobs. If you don't read what you sign, or don't keep copies, now is a good time to check with HR to get copies. While some employees are afraid to ask, for example, for a copy of their noncompete agreement because it might alarm HR and make them think you're looking for a job, here's your excuse. Blame me. Print a copy of my article and tell them you're doing your end-of-year checkup. I've never understood HR departments that don't insist you keep copies of what you signed. How are you supposed to know what you're allowed to do if you don't have a copy?
5. Gather evidence: If you think you're the victim of race, age, sex, national origin, disability, religious or other discrimination, whistleblower retaliation or some other legal violation, do you have your evidence where the employer can't grab it? If not, make copies of any evidence you need (don't take trade secrets home, please), get your notes out of your desk drawer or the company computer, update your witness lists with any new contact information and take it home. Put it in a safe place. If you have a notebook where you're keeping notes, put it in your briefcase, purse or someplace where the employer can't grab it. A locked desk drawer, your company locker, and your company laptop are all places you may be denied access to if you're fired.
If you need legal advice, it's best to talk to an employment lawyer in your state, but if you have general legal issues you want me to discuss publicly here, whether about discrimination, working conditions, employment contracts, medical leave, or other employment law issues, you can ask me at AOL Jobs.
Please note: Anything you write to me may be featured in one of my columns. I won't be able to respond individually to questions.
> Now Hiring: Administrative Jobs
Now Hiring: Administrative Jobs
Obamacare, Handbooks, Benefits And More: Your End-Of-Year Career Checklist
Average salary: $54,000
Description: As Project Coordinator you will be creating and maintaining program/project reports as well as supporting ad-hoc reporting requests of multiple organizations. This position has many responsibilities including: Supporting all levels of the organization by generating and analyzing program/project data using standard reporting tools. Being accountable for standardizing reporting formats and statistical analysis methodologies. Creating responses to competing priorities as well as strong verbal and written communication skills are keys to success in this position. Compiling Executive Reporting. Proficiently perform data-mining and data manipulation using Excel features such as Vlookup and Pivot Tables Have the ability to analyze data trends.
Description: The Receptionist/Telephone Operator greets customers when they come into the dealership’s showroom, answers their questions and directs them to the appropriate staff member. The receptionist also answers all incoming calls, takes messages and transfers callers to the appropriate department. As with all positions within dealerships, receptionists/telephone operators are expected to uphold the highest ethical standards.
Description: The Suburban Collection's Centralized Accounting Department is looking for an Office Manager to join their team. This individual will work directly with the Controller in all facets of general accounting – including managing the accounting for certain business units, managing staff, reviewing account analysis/reconciliations, general ledger and sub-ledger activity, action day-to-day needs, assisting with operational reporting, and month-end and year-end financial reporting requirements.
Description: Assist attorneys and paralegal with case management and administrative support; assist attorneys and paralegal with setting up/maintaining files, updating case docket indexes, printing/scanning/saving paper and electronic documents; uploading and coding documents in litigation software databases; responsible for calendaring of scheduling order dates under the case attorney’s guidance and review including entry of dates using Outlook Meeting system; responsible for formatting of Table of Authorities and Table of Contents for legal briefs; assisting attorneys with Bluebook cite checking, pulling cases from Westlaw and PACER, shepherding cases, and proofing documents; Searching website, libraries for journal articles, legislative history; assist attorneys with bar application process including requests for Certificates of Good Standing; maintain current list of attorney bar membership and bar numbers.
Description: Process and balance cash/check deposits; check image capture; assist with checking-in incoming work and work distribution. Performs data entry. Inputs Alpha/Numeric data. Proofs work for accuracy and completeness. Corrects errors during visual inspection. Maintains accurate records for verification. Prioritizes work by sorting and interpreting processing items.
Description: The Call Center Manager functions as the Client Manager for a specific Partner Account Team, and as the Field Manager for a team of employees. The primary role is to provide leadership and development to a remote team of Sales and Training Specialists who drive sales results for the assigned client program in various call centers. The Call Center Manager will be the liaison between the field team and client, and is responsible for all client reporting and performance metrics.
Description: OfficeTeam has an immediate need for a part-time File Clerk in the Metairie area. This Clerk will be handling the scanning and other clerical work. It is extremely important that this File Clerk is diligent, detail-oriented, and accurate.
Description: As Medical Biller, you will bill Medicare, Medicare Replacement Plans, HMOs, North Carolina Medicaid program, Hospice, and commercial insurance plans for skilled nursing care services rendered. This role also involves posting payments received to accounts and managing the accounts receivable aging, including collections.
Description: Philadelphia client is searching for an Administrative Assistant to provide support to the C-level management. Responsibilities: Under the supervision of the Executive Assistant to the Chair, provides day-to-day administrative support to the team including scheduling professional and personal appointments and commitments in a fast paced environment. Assists with preparation of necessary background information and/or supporting for scheduled appointments, meetings, speaking engagements, conferences, etc. Keeps executive team well informed of upcoming commitments and responsibilities, following up appropriately.
Description: Manages the daily activities of the Accounts Receivable staff including cash receipts, receivables, collections or disenrollment for non-payment for all individual and employer group business. Responsible for monitoring and reporting on collection of current Michigan claims tax and new National Health Care Reform (NHCR) taxes and fees that start in2014. Responsible for monitoring delinquency of Medicare Advantage individuals and employer groups to avoid costly penalties. Responsible for implementing and monitoring National Health Care Reform changes for Accounts Receivable including the new 3 month delinquency period for Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) subsidy individuals and Cost Share Reduction subsidy for individuals.