Q: I am extremely worried about losing my health care coverage.
My wife was recently diagnosed with a serious medical condition that will eventually require an organ transplant, followed by long-term medical care.
Because our industry is prone to erratic business cycles, layoffs are always a possibility. If I were to lose my job, I have no idea how we would manage without health insurance. Even if I found a position with another company, a new policy might not cover my wife's pre-existing condition.
I'm trying to decide whether to tell my manager about my wife's medical issues. In the event of a layoff, I would like him to know that I'm willing to take a significant pay cut in order to remain employed and keep my insurance. Do you think I should talk to him?
A: I am truly sorry to hear that you and your wife are facing such a difficult diagnosis. My hope is that your company will be sympathetic and supportive, but unfortunately that's not always the case. Before sharing these concerns with your boss, you should try to anticipate management's likely reaction.
The corporate response to family problems depends largely on the values of top management. Compassionate executives who feel loyal to employees would never want to deprive someone of badly needed health care coverage. If that describes your company, then informing your boss might be a good idea.
But if management views employees as just another expense, your disclosure could have exactly the opposite effect. You might actually be placed in the layoff group to avoid an increase in health care costs or the need to grant you an extended leave. Of course, no one would ever say this was the reason.
One indisputable fact, however, is that you must protect yourself by becoming intimately acquainted with both the details of your insurance plan and your rights under the Family & Medical Leave Act. You might also consider consulting an attorney who specializes in workplace issues.
If the new health care law remains in place, people who are currently held hostage by their health insurance will eventually begin to have more options. That's because denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions is prohibited beginning in 2014.
Q: One of my employees recently sent an email to my boss complaining about me. I responded with an email to both of them in which I invited the employee to discuss her concerns. I have not heard back from either the employee or my boss. Should I send another email or just forget about it?
A: You must be either a very new manager or one of those people who views email as a permanent replacement for speech. Despite its many virtues, electronic communication is hardly the most effective way to interact with a disgruntled staff member. Instead, you need to walk down the hall or pick up the phone and find out what's bothering this employee, then let your boss know what you plan to do about it.
Contact the writer: www.yourofficecoach.com