The Best Four Companies and States for Family Leave

The four best states and companies for family leave

In our current environment of wage freezes and increased health care costs, one of the features that can distinguish a good company from a great company is the fringe benefits you receive.

While your wages may remain stagnant, fringe benefits can provide substantial bonuses and savings for your bottom line.

Unfortunately, one benefit that few companies have is a comprehensive family leave plan.

Of course, back in 1993, President Clinton signed into law the Family Medical Leave Act.  This act allows a new parent (either biologically or through adoption) as well as those with sick family members to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave from their job within a 12 month period.  The employee is able to retain health care benefits, and they cannot lose their job.

However, not all companies have to follow the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) such as those with less than 50 employees.   Likewise, if the employee seeking to take FMLA has not worked for the company for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, the company does not have to grant the employee leave.

With these contingencies on FMLA, many, many employees fall through the cracks and find themselves back at work less than a week after they have a baby because they do not qualify for FMLA or they cannot afford to take an unpaid leave.

However, there are some companies as well as states that go above and beyond and offer their employees or residents better FMLA benefits than required by federal law.

As a working parent, these are the companies that you want to work for or states you want to live in.

Top 4 Companies to Work for With Great FMLA Benefits

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Free Tax Day Snacks, Giveaways and Deals

Tax day deals and freebies

You got all your forms and receipts together to tackle your taxes.

Did you file everything yet in or are you still procrastinating?

If you are really one of those last minute folks then you better make sure your return is in either electronically by day’s end or post-marked by the end of the day on April 15th (expect the post office to be crowded).

To help everyone get over the tax-day malaise, there are a number of stores that are offering up free tax day snacks, giveaways, and deals.

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The Good Guy Discount: Do You Regularly Haggle and Ask for Discounts? You Should!

how_to_haggle

Do you ever ask for a discount when making a purchase? 

Do you consider doing so a challenge that you happily take on, or an embarrassment?

There seem to be two types of people in this world–those who happily ask for a discount and those who would just as soon overpay than ask for a discount.

Which are you?

My mom loves to ask for a discount.

When I was a teenager and in my early 20s, I found this practice unbelievably embarrassing.  My mom, very social by nature, would chat up the salesman or cashier, and just before the transaction ended, she’d say, ever so sweetly, “I’d love to buy this, but what kind of discount can you give me?”

I saw her bargaining as begging, and it made me cringe.  Yet the strategy worked for her; she often walked away with a sizable discount.

Ironically, years later, I, too, often find myself bargaining.  Honestly, there’s no better way to save money, and I don’t mind hearing “no.”  I’m not afraid of a retailer’s rejection, and I’m ecstatic when I save money.

How to Haggle and Ask For a Discount

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How I Made the Switch from Traditional Employment to Freelancing and How You Can, Too

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I majored in English in college. 

(Honestly, this is probably the worst decision I have ever made.  If I had to do it over again, I’d probably major in something more practical like journalism where I could still utilize my love of reading and writing.)

I went on to graduate school where I majored in English and Teaching English as a Second Language.  One year after I graduated, I snagged a job as a full-time English composition teacher at a community college outside an urban area.

In the beginning, I loved teaching even though the load was heavy.  I was expected to teach 5 classes a semester; each class had 28 students.  Each student had to write five essays during the semester.  That means I was grading 700 essays in a 16 week period.  These essays were each 3 to 4 pages long.

The load was heavy but manageable before I had children.  But when I had my son four years after I got the job, I started having difficulty balancing my work life with my home life.

By the time I had my second child four years later, I no longer enjoyed my job.

The quality of students was deteriorating.  The school hired full-time security guards to roam the halls because there had been so many problems with students threatening teachers and fighting in the classrooms.
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Frugal Vs. Cheap: Which Are You?

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Frugal, cheap, tightwad, miser, tightfisted, penny pincher. . .

We tend to use all of these words interchangeably to refer to people who are tight with their money, but there is a distinct difference.

The Definition of Cheap

Cheap has a negative connotation, as does tightwad, miser, and tightfisted, perhaps with good reason.  If you look up the meaning of cheap, you’ll see it says, “giving or sharing as little as possible” (Merriam-Webster).

Scrooge in A Christmas Carol is the perfect example of someone who is cheap. 

He does whatever he can to hoard as much money as possible and does not want to share with others.  We’ve even coined a term for people who don’t want to share or aren’t charitable–scrooges–after the character in A Christmas Carol.

I had a friend in graduate school who, if he took a girl out to a dance club, would only take her when it was ladies’ night and the woman got in free.  Then he expected his date to split his cost to get in!  When he took a date out to eat, he only went during happy hour and would only order off the appetizer menu so he could get the food half price.
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Give a Smile to the Kids on Your List – Top Holiday Gifts Under $75 for Kids – 2013

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The holiday shopping season is upon us. 

Now is the time to find the perfect present for those special people on your list.

While there are plenty of ideas for gifts under $25, we recognize that sometimes a $25 present isn’t going to cut it.

For kids in your family, a gift of $75 or under may pack more return (and excitement) than a smaller gift.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of presents under $75 that will thrill every child on your list, from baby to teen.

Keep in mind that with sales, you can nab many of these items for less than their retail price.  Amazon, especially, often discounts their merchandise, so that might be the site to check first before you head to the toy store.

The Top Holiday Gifts Under $75

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You Have Power In Your Wallet – Vote With Your Dollars: Change Businesses Based on Your Purchases

vote_with_your_dollars

After the recent governmental shut down, you may be feeling increasingly frustrated with our government. 

You may feel that you have no voice in politics and economic decisions.  Of course, you have the right to vote, but much of what the government does is largely out of your hands.

However, you can still take a stand and make your voice heard by voting with your dollars. 

Every day that you spend money, you’re making a choice and choosing one company over another, one product over another.

How you spend money is your voice, your vote.

Due to the economic law of supply and demand, if enough people show that they want better or different items, manufacturers will take notice.

For instance, “Making your next car a hybrid shows the automobile industry that you want more eco-friendly, fuel efficient vehicles, which in turn forces them to produce more.  Buying organic foods show that you care about our groundwater and the chemicals you are consuming.  Using reusable grocery bags demonstrates that you don’t want millions of plastic bags ending up in our oceans and landfills.  Buying products from corporations who are using methods to improve their environmental footprint helps their bottom line which shows their competition this is something important and forces everyone in their industry to raise the bar” (AG Beat).

How Are You Voting With Your Dollars?

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