Benefits at Alternative Behavior Strategies, Inc
from the desk of Jessica Engel
When I first started working with ABS I was an Independent Contractor, as were all Behavior Interventionists at ABS in 2012. I had been an employee in the past, typically working for small businesses who had little funding to run operations, much less offer benefits. I had not had medical insurance coverage since the 90’s. Even as an Independent Contractor I could not afford the premiums on a private policy. Benefits? I didn’t think they existed.
February 2013 was a turning point for me. ABS was growing and Administrative Employees were needed. I was included in our first group of employees and we opened a group health insurance policy through Altius. Better yet, the company agreed to pay 60% of my premiums, adding free eye care and an affordable dental plan. By August 2013 all Independent Contractors became ABS Employees and all full time employees became eligible for the benefits. For the first time, in over a decade, I got a new prescription for glasses, had a check-up and a teeth cleaning, all at a minimal cost. Additionally, I got the assurance that if something happened to me/ my health, it wouldn’t put me, or my family, in financial ruin.
Full time salaried employees had been given 5 days of “vacation time” at the time of the employee change. Later on, this benefit transitioned into PTO, which could be used for any purpose. Consultants are able to accrue 10 days of PTO annually and Lead Interventionists are able to accrue 40 hours annually. This benefit meant that I could take a vacation with my family and still allow me to meet my monthly expenses. What a relief!
Last August, 2013 ABS added an HR partner (HR Solutions) in order to get additional services for ABS staff. They have been a tremendous source of information. They also manage our FMLA applications. When an employee inquired about maternity leave options they were able to give the legal answers. We wanted to add a benefit for this purpose so they aligned us with just the right UNUM policy. We were able to add a short and long term disability benefit package for our full time salaried employees, which has really been a help to employees who have gone on leave for maternity purposes. Our HR partner is convinced we have something in our water with the incredible amount of pregnancies we have had lately.
Most recently we added a 401K retirement policy for ALL employees. ABS is offering a discretionary match that will increase every 2 years with a 6% contribution. Not only that, but this retirement plan comes with the help of financial advisors that can help me, and any ABS employee, create a diversified retirement portfolio. This means I can rest assured, knowing my retirement plan is in place and my financial future is secure.
It’s amazing to think of the changes that have evolved at ABS. Working in this field is extremely rewarding but it goes without saying that some days are tough. It’s a relief when your benefits make it that much easier to focus on the things that matter most.