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General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: Frostburg on August 29, 2019, 01:32:07 PM



Title: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 29, 2019, 01:32:07 PM
So I just got a job offer at an animal hospital. It was unexpected since I havn't been looking for a job, but it was recommended to me by my sister. I asked for $18.50 an hour, but their offer letter said $17.50 an hour. The job is full time and comes with health insurance and dental, and 401k. I don't need the health and dental since I have my own insurance outside of the job. Can I tell them that I don't want the health coverage as a way to encourage them to give me the higher wage? I figure since I would be saving them money on health insurance, they might be more willing to give me the wage I want. Plus, they really really seemed to like me during the interview, and they sent me an offer letter only 24 hours later. So maybe I would get it? Does stuff work this way?


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: thehun on August 29, 2019, 01:45:33 PM
Most do not allow you to do that...its a HR liability...


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Andygold on August 29, 2019, 02:36:07 PM
I work for NY State so things may be a bit different here than where you are.  If for example, my wife was employed by a different company, and each of our jobs offers health insurance, one of us could "opt out" of taking the insurance, and be covered under the other's "Family Plan".  If I opted out, the state would pay me about $3,000/yr.  I would see it as $119.00 in each of my 26 bi-weekly paychecks.

The county I live in gives $1,000 if you opt out of a county job, and the local school district gives the teachers $5,800 if they opt out.

My job itself I believe pays around $18,000 per year for my insurance (I pay in as well and pay co-pays), so if I opt out, and they credit me with $3,000, they are making out big time.

It might be prudent to find out, if you can without causing trouble, what the job would be paying towards your health care.  Then you could figure out the cost savings to them.  I work a 35 hour work week, which is 1827 hours per year.  Using my numbers as an example, if I asked for an extra dollar per hour, it would cost them an extra $1827 per year in my salary, but opting out of health care coverage saves them $15,000 per year ($18,000 - $3,000). It's still a huge win for them.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 29, 2019, 04:01:00 PM
This is a small vet clinic. They have two locations within 6 miles of one another. The company has like 60 employees total. The place where I work has maybe a little over 30 employees. It's in downtown D.C., so a pretty rich clientele. It's kind of like a small boutique animal hospital in a richer part of town.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: xpdchief on August 29, 2019, 06:32:10 PM
Since you already have the letter of offer, I see no reason not to ask them about forgoing the health insurance benefit for stipend.  They may not be able to increase your hourly wage because of personnel reasons, so a stipend might be the way to go. 

It can't hurt to ask.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 29, 2019, 08:50:38 PM
Okay, here is a thought:

I am thinking that I should respond first, asking for $18.50 an hour based upon my credentials, and mentioning that I believe that based upon my experience, college degree, past work and volunteer exp. etc. I think I should get $18.50 vs. $17.50 an hour. Crossing my fingers that their initial offer is just a form of negotiation. If that fails, then I can respond by mentioning that they won't need to be burdened with providing me health insurance and that should help balance them out.

So it's a 2 step strategy. The first counter offer I make is merely an argument that I'm worth the extra dollar. If that fails, then go back with the detail about the health insurance.

Do you think that is a viable way to go? That way I don't put all my negotiating cards in a single bid.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: thehun on August 29, 2019, 08:53:13 PM
I always counter... good move.



Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 29, 2019, 08:55:45 PM
Do you think this 2 step negotiating strategy would work though? Or should I combine the two?


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: thehun on August 29, 2019, 09:44:47 PM
Well. Do you really need this job...or not...

If you believe you are worth it...go for it. But Id counter to $19.00..they will probably meet you at $18.50...if you go $18.50...they will probably meet you at $18.

I went $10k above what I wanted...at the end...receive $5k above my wanted target.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 29, 2019, 09:50:40 PM
Well. Do you really need this job...or not...

If you believe you are worth it...go for it. But Id counter to $19.00..they will probably meet you at $18.50...if you go $18.50...they will probably meet you at $18.

I went $10k above what I wanted...at the end...receive $5k above my wanted target.

I would totally do that. The problem with that is when I filled out the application, it asked for my desired wage, and I wrote $18.50, because their writeup on Indeed.com stated that the position pays between $17.50 and $19.50, so I figured I would be reasonable and strike a middle ground early.

I feel like it would be kind of hard for me to go back and say I want $19.50 when I stated $18.50 on my application.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: kfeltenberger on August 29, 2019, 09:51:25 PM
What is the position and how are you qualified for it?  Also, the coverage you have from outside the job; how certain is that over the long term?  

In the end, you only will know if you ask.  That said, don't negotiate yourself out of the position.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 29, 2019, 09:52:10 PM
Here is a draft of the email I am thinking about writing to him, as a counteroffer:

Let me know what you guys think.

Hello Mr. ****,

Thank you very much for the offer of employment! While I absolutely am excited about the opportunity to work at City Paws, I feel that given my education, research experience, volunteer experience, formal medical training, and also considering the cost of living in Washington, D.C., a wage of $18.50 more in line with my expectations. I sincerely hope we can come to an arrangement that is comfortable for both of us.

Thank you,
Adam ********


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: kfeltenberger on August 29, 2019, 09:54:33 PM
Well. Do you really need this job...or not...

If you believe you are worth it...go for it. But Id counter to $19.00..they will probably meet you at $18.50...if you go $18.50...they will probably meet you at $18.

I went $10k above what I wanted...at the end...receive $5k above my wanted target.

I would totally do that. The problem with that is when I filled out the application, it asked for my desired wage, and I wrote $18.50, because their writeup on Indeed.com stated that the position pays between $17.50 and $19.50, so I figured I would be reasonable and strike a middle ground early.

I feel like it would be kind of hard for me to go back and say I want $19.50 when I stated $18.50 on my application.

Is this a position that you are qualified for solely because of your degree?  If so, then bringing you in at the low end makes sense if you have minimal (less than a two years or so of experience).  However, if you have a lot of experience and a proven track record, then you might want to look at this as a sign of how they do business if they stand firm.  


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 29, 2019, 09:55:13 PM
What is the position and how are you qualified for it?  Also, the coverage you have from outside the job; how certain is that over the long term?  

In the end, you only will know if you ask.  That said, don't negotiate yourself out of the position.

The position is for front desk receptionist/veterinary assistant (more front desk than anything else). I majored in psychology in college, with a heavy emphasis on animal behavior and conditioning. I was also a research assistant with my university's primate lab, where we did observational studies. I also volunteered as an EMT in college with the local fire dept. I also volunteered with a pet rescue during the summers. Just helping with the animals, and at their retail shop. I'm currently working as a cashier at REI, which isn't all that impressive, but we are trained to give really good customer service.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: thehun on August 29, 2019, 10:04:14 PM
Well. Do you really need this job...or not...

If you believe you are worth it...go for it. But Id counter to $19.00..they will probably meet you at $18.50...if you go $18.50...they will probably meet you at $18.

I went $10k above what I wanted...at the end...receive $5k above my wanted target.

I would totally do that. The problem with that is when I filled out the application, it asked for my desired wage, and I wrote $18.50, because their writeup on Indeed.com stated that the position pays between $17.50 and $19.50, so I figured I would be reasonable and strike a middle ground early.

I feel like it would be kind of hard for me to go back and say I want $19.50 when I stated $18.50 on my application.

Gotcha...I would hold firm on $18.50 and counter with that...more than likely will meet you in the middle at $18.00...


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 29, 2019, 10:07:23 PM
How does my counteroffer email look? I did edit a typo since I posted it above. But I am anxious about sending a response soon since they emailed me early today, and I don't want to create a negative impression.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 29, 2019, 10:09:44 PM
Hello Mr. ****,

Thank you very much for the offer of employment! While I absolutely am excited about the opportunity to work at City Paws, I feel that given my education, research experience, volunteer experience, formal medical training, and also considering the cost of living here in Washington, D.C., a wage of $18.50 is more in line with my expectations. I sincerely hope we can come to an arrangement that is comfortable for both of us.

Thank you,
Adam ********


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: thehun on August 29, 2019, 10:48:11 PM
Looks pretty good.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 30, 2019, 06:18:53 PM
Okay. So I sent the email around 5:30am this morning before leaving for work. I still havn't heard anything. Should I be getting worried?

So the current time line is as follows:

I had my interview this past Wednesday at 11:30am. It went super well, and they seemed super into me. I saw an email the next day (Thursday) around 11am giving me the job offer at $17.50 an hour. I spent the day anxious about how to respond. I drafted a response and sent it this morning at 5:30am. I sent the email exactly as written in my post above. It is now 6:17pm and I have not heard anything. Did I totally f*** this up?


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: thehun on August 30, 2019, 06:24:15 PM
It is Labor Day weekend...you probably wont hear back until next week.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: kfeltenberger on August 30, 2019, 06:51:33 PM
What is the position and how are you qualified for it?  Also, the coverage you have from outside the job; how certain is that over the long term? 

In the end, you only will know if you ask.  That said, don't negotiate yourself out of the position.

The position is for front desk receptionist/veterinary assistant (more front desk than anything else). I majored in psychology in college, with a heavy emphasis on animal behavior and conditioning. I was also a research assistant with my university's primate lab, where we did observational studies. I also volunteered as an EMT in college with the local fire dept. I also volunteered with a pet rescue during the summers. Just helping with the animals, and at their retail shop. I'm currently working as a cashier at REI, which isn't all that impressive, but we are trained to give really good customer service.

Your experience is mostly theoretical with a little hand's on in areas that aren't really applicable to a domestic pet veterinarian.  The pet rescue is good, probably the best practical skill that you've mentioned.  In the end, it isn't what you're worth, it is what they believe the position is worth.  I interviewed for a job recently where I was told that my qualifications and experience exceeded everyone in the department, the person who would be my supervisor, and that person's supervisor.  In short, he told me that with my background, I was "worth" about twice what the position I applied for would pay...and that fact wouldn't change what the position offered.

As for being concerned that you haven't heard anything, there are two things to consider; one, it is a Friday and they were probably busy with people dropping pets off for boarding for the weekend, and two, it is a holiday weekend.  That said, if you don't hear something Tuesday, I would call directly and speak to whoever issued the letter. 


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 30, 2019, 07:41:11 PM
Do you think the way I worded the email was too aggressive maybe?


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 30, 2019, 07:43:45 PM
What is the position and how are you qualified for it?  Also, the coverage you have from outside the job; how certain is that over the long term? 

In the end, you only will know if you ask.  That said, don't negotiate yourself out of the position.

The position is for front desk receptionist/veterinary assistant (more front desk than anything else). I majored in psychology in college, with a heavy emphasis on animal behavior and conditioning. I was also a research assistant with my university's primate lab, where we did observational studies. I also volunteered as an EMT in college with the local fire dept. I also volunteered with a pet rescue during the summers. Just helping with the animals, and at their retail shop. I'm currently working as a cashier at REI, which isn't all that impressive, but we are trained to give really good customer service.

Your experience is mostly theoretical with a little hand's on in areas that aren't really applicable to a domestic pet veterinarian.  The pet rescue is good, probably the best practical skill that you've mentioned.  In the end, it isn't what you're worth, it is what they believe the position is worth.  I interviewed for a job recently where I was told that my qualifications and experience exceeded everyone in the department, the person who would be my supervisor, and that person's supervisor.  In short, he told me that with my background, I was "worth" about twice what the position I applied for would pay...and that fact wouldn't change what the position offered.

As for being concerned that you haven't heard anything, there are two things to consider; one, it is a Friday and they were probably busy with people dropping pets off for boarding for the weekend, and two, it is a holiday weekend.  That said, if you don't hear something Tuesday, I would call directly and speak to whoever issued the letter. 

Yeah, I mean, I'm there to learn. But I want to negotiate as much as I can. Living in D.C. isn't cheap, and most of my friends who graduated are making better than I am. I'm of no opinion that I am the best thing ever or anything, but I thought that this is how negotiations worked. I'm not sure how I actually rank up as a candidate since I am new to working in a vet office.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: kfeltenberger on August 30, 2019, 08:18:25 PM
Do you think the way I worded the email was too aggressive maybe?

Too aggressive?  In this employment climate, probably.  I would have made it three paragraphs (I always try to do at least three in any business correspondence - intro, body, and summary/closing) and re-reading it, a lot of what you mentioned as justification for the salary increase isn't really relevant to the actual position.  What skills did the job listing say were required/good to have?  Those are what you should have zeroed in on.  Also, bringing up the cost of living probably undercut you; they live there and know the situation, and by bringing it up the way you did might signal that you're only looking at money rather than being part of the team.

I know...some of this seems counter intuitive; why would they overlook your education that you worked so hard for, or why would they do this or that?  They're looking at a position that has certain requirements, anything that they can get over and above those requirements is icing on the cake. 

I wouldn't ever tell an employer, or imply, that you're "there to learn".  Perhaps learn their policies and procedures, but they expect you to know the bulk of what is needed when they hire you.

Don't judge your success by that of your classmates'; they may have had other majors that had entry level opportunities that a psych degree doesn't offer. 

This last part is more food for thought...Do you have a goal of what you want to do in 10 years?  Does it have to be in DC?  If you really want to do something with a psych degree, you'll most likely need a MS or PhD, unless you have other skills/education to supplant it like going back to college and picking up some HR focused courses and perhaps leveraging your existing credits into a degree in HR or business.  Coupled with a psych degree, that could be very attractive.

If you want, PM me and we can discuss this off list.

Kurt


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on August 30, 2019, 08:31:40 PM
Okay. Im going out to meet with some friends tonight. I will message you tomorrow in the early afternoon.


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: Frostburg on September 09, 2019, 11:23:53 PM
Oh yeah. Just to update this thread for anyone else who might find themselves in a similar position as me. I sent the email, and it took them a week to respond due to the holidays, but they offered me $18.25 an hour, so that is a win!


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: xpdchief on September 10, 2019, 05:34:44 AM
Congratulations!


Title: Re: Negotiating a salary by declining health insurance?
Post by: thehun on September 10, 2019, 08:11:03 AM
Oh yeah. Just to update this thread for anyone else who might find themselves in a similar position as me. I sent the email, and it took them a week to respond due to the holidays, but they offered me $18.25 an hour, so that is a win!

Boom! Told you it will happen ... congrats ... negotiating a salary is a great skill to have for both you and the employer.