Test Site Worker Compensation Proposed
Former workers at the Nevada Test Site and their families could be eligible for federal compensation under an amendment recently added to the Department of Defense Authorization Act. The amendment would provide compensation to nuclear weapons program workers who were exposed to toxic substances such as beryllium or radiation, and also to those whose work in underground tunnels led to a lung problem known as chronic silicosis. Workers or their survivors would be eligible for federal compensation for illness, impairment, disease or death, including payments for lost wages.
Shop Around for Medigap Policies
Consumers buying Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) in Florida and New York are often being charged up to twice as much as those buying similar policies in Utah and Maryland, according to Weiss Ratings, Inc., which provides independent financial ratings on insurance companies. Although Congress created 10 standardized plans for Medigap policies in 1992 to encourage competition and price-shopping, a recent study found that premium costs can vary widely on identical policies for the same individual, not only from state to state, but from city to city and insurer to insurer.
Average Quotes for Three Popular Medigap Policies: (rank of 1=lowest)
Plan A: Highest Quote Florida $1,049.58 Lowest Quote Utah $ 580.76
#28 in Nation Nevada $ 718.84
Highest Nevada Quote $1,176.00
Lowest Nevada Quote $ 403.51
Plan F Highest Quote Florida $1,983.11
Lowest Quote Utah $1,064.03
#29 in Nation Nevada $1,295.00
Highest Nevada Quote $1,752.36
Lowest Nevada Quote $ 929.02
Plan J Highest Quote Alabama $3,850.79
Lowest Quote D.C. $1,993.48
#26 in Nation Nevada $2,982.04
Highest Nevada Quote $4,553.23
Lowest Nevada Quote $2,049.00
Digital Signatures Bill Passes
A bill called the “Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act” was recently passed by Congress to provide a national framework of rules governing the use of electronic signatures in business transactions conducted over the Internet. It ensures that a company will be able to rely on an electronic contract and that individuals or companies will not be able to escape contractual obligations simply because the contract was entered into over the Internet or another computer network. It preempts state law that is inconsistent with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and provides that electronic records and notices produced in the execution of a digital contract will not be denied legal effect solely because they are electronic in nature. The United States Chamber of Commerce was a leading advocate of the legislation.
The Eight “C’s” of Good Communications
According to Runzheimer International, a management consulting firm, the average manager spends 80% of his or her time communicating in one form or another. The breakdown of that surprisingly large percentage looks like this: 10% writing, 15% reading, 25% listening, and 30% speaking. All of these forms can be aided or strengthened by following these eight guidelines:
Credibility-Your audience must believe in you. Mistakes as well as exaggerations or other forms of dishonesty can erode their confidence in you.
Context-Employees will defy policy statements that are consistently ignored or abused by organization leaders. Avoid being a “Do as I say, not as I do” manager.
Content-Be sure everyone understands the importance and significance of your message, and provide background information if necessary.
Continuity-Don’t rely on a single communication effort. An oral message followed up by a memo and an e-mail reminder has a much greater chance of success than a single message.
Consistency-Keep the facts consistent with each communication to maintain your credibility.
Channels-Make use of all the channels available (e-mail, newsletters, recordings, etc.) but take some time to analyze which channels will help you better reach the intended audience.
Capability of the audience-Make sure your message will be understood by your audience. Do not use complex sentence structure or technical vocabulary with people who will be unable of understand them.
Clarity-Put your message in the simplest terms possible to avoid misinterpretation and make it easier to remember.
Most Executives Willing to Rehire Former Employees
Workers who find the grass isn’t greener with a new employer may be able to regain their old jobs, according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Robert Half International. An overwhelming 90 percent of executives polled said they would be likely to roll out the welcome mat for a valued former employee who left in good standing. Actual poll results showed that 56% were “very likely” and 34% were “somewhat likely” to consider rehiring a former employee who left their firm in good standing. “By rehiring staff members who left on good terms, businesses fill critical openings and regain key talent,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. “In a competitive employment market, this can be a tremendous advantage.” For workers, the survey findings reinforce the value of not burning bridges with past employers.
Is It Friday Yet? Rising Workloads Leading Source of Job Stress
For information technology (IT) professionals, all work and no play can dampen productivity, suggests a recent survey. Rising workloads were cited as the number one source of stress in the workplace by 55% of the 1,400 chief information officers surveyed. Office politics ranked second, with 24% of respondents rating it as the leading cause of stress. Greg Scileppi, executive director of RHI Consulting, which commissioned the survey, warned that employee burnout is a real danger. “Workloads on already understaffed IT departments are rising exponentially,” said Scileppi. “Recognizing and taking steps to alleviate an overburdened staff can prevent turnover and allow firms to keep key IT initiatives on target.” Scileppi offers the following suggestions to address work-related job stress:
- Get employees involved in managing workloads.
- Acknowledge and reward hard work with bonuses, special awards and incentives.
- Promote outside activities to bring diversity to the workday.
- Look for signs of burnout and help employees deal with it before it becomes a real crisis.
- Encourage team building through increased communications and regular team meetings.