Expected Raise Was Withdrawn- Now What?

Q:  I am a salaried worker that was offered a contract to bring me up in compliance with the new overtime rule which meant a raise of a few thousand dollars.  That was great but before all the signatures could be finalized, national news broke that the new overtime rule had been blocked and the offer was withdrawn.
Here’s the problem.  When I thought my income was going up, I updated my benefit choices before open enrollment closed in late November.  I have asked if I will be able to change my choices, but have not received an answer yet.  What should their answer be?
A:  First, let me say I’m sorry about what’s happened with your raise.  That must be a very disappointing situation to be in.  In a previous column I advised companies that (when possible), they should allow increases that had already been announced to remain unchanged.  A company that rescinds raises shouldn’t be surprised if morale suffers.  This comment on a discussion board was representative of many others: “I think my employer revealed their true colors with their decision-making and I’ve already started applying other places”.  I hope you don’t find yourself feeling that way.
Regarding the change to your benefit choices, it wouldn’t be fair for me to speculate what your employer’s answer should be without having more details.   What I would say is that if they tell you that you can’t change your choices because the enrollment deadline has passed, I would ask them to reconsider.   If your local HR department can’t help, (don’t go over their heads but) perhaps corporate HR can fix it -sometimes they have more influence/leverage with insurance companies and benefits providers.
I would add that in my experience working in both small and large companies,  is that those deadlines are not written in stone.  Insurance and benefits administrators should be able to make exceptions. Plus, it’s not like it’s 30 days past the deadline, so there should be some allowance/consideration given to this very unique circumstance over which you had not control.
Expect the best, I imagine they’ll try to be helpful and are sensitive to your predicament.
Originally published on HR Box Blog.


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