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Thwarted by the cold/ethical question

December 13th, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Exercise getting harder with the cold weather
Just as I was getting into a nice little routine, walking a 1/2 hour each morning (which combined with my lunchtime walk, resulted in a full hour of near daily exercise), the cold weather arrived.

I find about 30 degrees is the point at which I don't really enjoy being outside. I do plan on wearing my silk long johns to work today though.

The line in the sand has faded...
Setting boundaries at work continues to be a somewhat pointless, illusory task. I had told him a week or so ago that moving forward, i would be leaving at 7:30 pm at the latest.

Yesterday, something needed to be proofed so they could use it for an 11 am meeting today. He told me i could either stay late to do it last night or come in earlier tomorrow.

I treasure my mornings these days. (I don't have to leave for work til 9:45 am.) So I decided to stay late again last night to just get it done. Sigh.

My boss is a nice guy
At least he gave me a choice. He is really pretty nice about it and in fact, it would be so easy for most people in his role to just lay down the law to me. But he's so darn nice; that's actually what makes it hard for me to stick to my guns. That, and a reluctance to lose the job if I flat out refuse to work at some critical moment. It's the unpredictability of it all that bothers me most. It's hard to plan anything these days.

How I could reduce my health insurance costs to $0
I do wonder if my less than 100% enthusiasm will cost me after we enter the new year, around the time he said he would put together a job offer for me. He may not want to do so without ensuring I understand the job offer comes with some attachments, like a time commitment.

I still plan to propose a 30-hour week for myself at reduced salary. We have to submit time sheets each week accounting for time spent, and he told me when I started that, after padding time spent on legit projects for various clients if I still had unaccounted for time (when I have nothing to do) to count that time as "Research."

Well, I've been keeping track of my "research" time, which probably averages out to 3 hours or more a day. That's a lot of wasted money they're paying me to do nothing. They don't seem to mind, honestly. I'd love for them to agree that yes, we'd like to save ourselves some money by cutting your hours to 30 a week because you've shown us you can get the work done in that time, and we'll pay half your ACA health premiums (previously offered as a possibility).

The strategy I'd love to use
If I worked a 30-hour week and they cut my salary proportionately and I became an employee eligible to contribute to their 401k, I would contribute the maximum, $24,500 (including the catch-up provision for those age 50+), thus removing this amount from my taxable income, which in turn would most likely make me eligible for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

I'm not the first person to consider asking her employer to cut her salary in order to qualify for ACA subsidies. I've got an interesting article about doing so, if anyone is interested.

The ethical question
Here's the ethical question. Right now, the cost of an ACA plan to me without subsidies would be about $775 a month, last time I checked. That's what I told him, and so he said what they've done for others is pay half their health insurance cost, or in my case, about $3500 a year. (The company is too small to have its own plan.)

I don't see how it's any of their business how I would plan to contribute to the 401k, or that I intended to plow as much as possible into it so I could qualify for the subsidies, which would lower my health insurance costs considerably.

Anyway, I'm sure others here will disagree, but really, if they're already prepared to pay me $3500 a year toward my ACA costs, then I don't think I owe an additional explanation just because I've learned to (legally) use the system to my advantage.

Office Xmas party
I've learned there's going to be a Christmas event at the office Dec. 21. They asked the longtimers there (not us newer contract workers) what they wanted to do. Either go out to a fancy dinner in SoNo (who knows how long we'd have to work that night before being able to leave) OR, have a nice lunch in office and be let out of work at 5 pm.

I would love to do the latter instead of having to schlep down to SoNo with traffic/crowds, and then drive home late at night.

Of the 3 people they asked, 1 said she wants the dinner. The other lives in the town where the restaurant is and so he said don't count my vote since I live right here and I'm biased. The 3rd person hasn't voiced an opinion yet but no doubt will cave to what everyone else wants.

The woman who said she wants the dinner is like a slave to this company. She's been there since its inception, around 2009, and has the longest commute: about 1.5 hours one-way.

She is always there. I guess family life doesn't matter to her because her husband has left for work by the time she comes home late at night. I don't think she has kids.

I was told that last Christmas, she arrived late to the Xmas party dinner because she was working, and that after the dinner, she actually went back to the office! I'm sorry, there is something abnormal about that. I don't admire that at all.

6 Responses to “Thwarted by the cold/ethical question”

  1. Carol Says:

    Re: the ethical question. What you propose is within the rules.So perfectly ok.

  2. Butterscotch Says:

    I would just be nervous about them asking for documentation for your premiums. If they don’t ask to see things like that what is to stop someone from saying their premiums are 1000k a month? Or 2k a month? Is it all the honor system? If so, this is a super strange company.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    For accounting/tax reasons, they will need to know how much you are paying. So I wouldn't get too set on the $3500 reimbursement. They may agree to that, but you would need statements at the end of the year to show what you actually paid. I don't know how thorough they might or not be, but their accountant might ask.

    It drives me batty that people actually think you can't be taxed more than a reasonable percentage of your income. Was at a tax class this week where the presenter mentioned one of his clients was $98 income away from an additional $7,000 in tax. Because of ACA. Seriously! That is not the only wonky provision in the tax code. Social security income can cause some similar scenarios. Since my dad took social security early AND had ACA, he turned down a job last year. His tax rate would have been 90% of his income. It can happen. Wink

  4. CB in the City Says:

    I used to work with a person like your co-worker -- and she was the boss! In this case, I felt like she made quite a show of how hard and long she was working. Definitely a self-esteem thing.

  5. My English Castle Says:

    Some folks love to be the martyr. I have a co-worker like that. Yesterday she went on a big rant about how long-suffering she is. But I suspect like with your co-worker, PS, that some of it is filling emptiness.

  6. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I think it may not work. I think you could try but if they request to see receipts of what you pay they might not pay $3500 and instead they might pay 50% of what you paid. Would you be okay with that? I would if I were the accountant, I wouldn't just pay you and not reconcile with a bill especially since they can write it off. I don't see it as wrong to maximize the 401k. But would you be ok with having to pay half your insurance?

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