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By Manfred Gerstenfeld

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Companies are responding with a variety of methods aimed at reducing the effects of financial stress. 3 The survey found twelve percent of companies help organize carpools, fourteen percent offer public transportation discounts, and fourteen percent reward employee performance with a gas card. “What’s important is for organizations to reach out and find a way to demonstrate some level of concern, some level of care, empathy, and understanding,” Hochwarter said. 16 Easing the Burden of Employees’ Debt Peter Weaver and Gina Rollins Long-Term Effects Some of the changes employers and employees are making because of gas prices and the mortgage crisis might actually benefit society in the long run, according to Charlesworth.

His advice: Relax. Most cases dealing with fiduciary responsibilities involve employer stock, he says. The rules are pretty simple, Guldberg continues. First, don’t endorse any type of investment strategy or product. You can, however, educate employees about: ■■ The benefits of participating in a 401(k) plan. ■■ The benefits of increasing contributions to the plan. ■■ General financial investment concepts such as risk and diversification. ■■ Asset allocation models, showing examples of, say, investors at different ages who may prefer more-conservative investments or who are interested in taking more risks with their portfolios.

A layoff is a temporary separation from payroll. An employee is laid off because there is not enough work for him to perform; his employer, however, believes that this condition will change and intends to recall him when work again becomes available. Employees generally are able to collect unemployment Proactive HR Solutions | 80 benefits while laid off without pay, and frequently an employer will allow them to maintain benefits coverage as an incentive to remain available for recall. Once management has determined that an employee will not be recalled to work, the layoff becomes permanent and is more accurately called a reduction in force, or a termination.

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