Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor

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Gatebuilder Ministry
A ministry to ministries. We want to help you become a more effective servant of our Father and your community.

Living Smart
Outreach Ministry

Equipping people to be positive,  productive members of the community.

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Prayers and prayer resources for Baha'i, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans, New Age, Pagans and other faiths.


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Religious Education
Resources to expand your knowledge and understanding of the world's major religions

Music Ministry
Ron's original gospel songs and links to Christian music web sites.

Resource Directory
Where to find help for medical problems, abuse, finances and other issues.

Career Planning
How to identify the right career, locate potential employers and get the job you want.



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May the Lord continue to bless and preserve you.
Guide to Employee Benefits

Your benefits package could add as much as
30% or more to your compensation.

In today's job market many employee benefits are considered standard--they come with the job and are not subject to negotiation. However, an increasing number of employers are offering flexible benefit packages, which allow employees a variety of choices regarding their benefits. Benefits offer a number of advantages to both the employer and employee

Insurance

Medical insurance-Employers get a group rate, so even if you have to contribute part or all of the premium,  it still is cheaper than you could get on your own. There is also a considerable tax advantage to getting health insurance through your employer. As an individual, you can deduct health costs on your income tax, but only if you itemize your deductions. Even then, you must subtract 7 1/2% of your income. So if you make $30,000 per year, the first $2,250 of health costs (including insurance) is not deductible. Your employer gets to deduct health insurnace premiums with no deductible. This also includes dental and optical insurance.

Another big advantage to employer group health insurance is not having to prove insurability. If you or a family member has a health condition, this can be a huge benefit. For more information, see
Factors to Consider When Choosing Health Insurance

Dental insurance-Not included in most (if not all) medical plans, so you may want this coverage. Gaining in popularity, and, again, often at a cheaper rate than you could get on your own. For an explanation of the differences between medical and dental insurance, see
Choosing dental insurance differs from medical plans

Optical/eye care insurance-Eye exams, glasses or contact lenses, and other eye-related issues are not covered by most medical plans, so you might want a separate plan.

Disability insurance. There are actually two kinds of disability insurance: short-term (up to six months) and long-term (beyond six months). You should really take advantage of this insurance. You can find several good articles about disability insurance at Disability Insurance.

Life insurance-Many organizations provide basic term coverage, which you can add to, to provide more coverage for your family. Many companies also offer accidental death insurance and/or business travel insurance- These are usually extra options for which the employee pays most or all of the cost. Although insurance companies give a discount because they are able to save money on billing costs, a standard rule of thumb is to buy more term life insurance instead of specialized policies like cancer policies, business travel policies, etc.
.
Time Off

Paid vacation time-Most organizations have a system based on level in the organization and years with the organization. Entry-level workers often start with a week or two of paid vacation. You should also look into the company's policy on providing trips to conventions, seminars and other business-related functions. These are often held at resorts and great tourist locations. This benefit can provide your family a chance to see and do things you could not afford otherwise.

Paid sick leave and personal leave-Most organizations give employees a certain number of paid sick or personal days per year.

Paid holidays-Most organizations also have certain holidays when they are closed for business and pay their employees for the day off (such as Thanksgiving, New Year's, Labor Day, etc.).

Comp time-Many organizations offer some compensation for employees that work past normal hours -- whether when at the company or traveling on business.

Flexible work schedule-This is especially useful for parents of small children and students. "Flextime" can be a great benefit if you have to juggle your work schedule around other responsibilities. You can find several good articles about flexible work schedules, telecommuting and other issues at WorkOptions.com.

Unpaid leave time-The company may allow you to take time off to pursue an advanced degree or complete a special project not related to your employment. When you are ready to return, you know your job will be waiting for you.

Reducing Employee Expenses

It takes money to make money. This is true for individuals as well as organizations. Employees have certain costs associated with making a living. You may be able to take part of some of these expenses as a tax write-off. The company can take 100% of all of them. This can be an excellent negotiating point.

Child and Dependent care-Some employers offer a plan for employees to deduct a pre-tax amount for care of dependents. Others subsidize (or even offer) child care.

Company car-If your job involves considerable travel, the company may provide you with a car. More often, they will compensate you for using your own car on business. Make sure you get all the details on rate of compensation, company limits on compensation, required documentation and other details. Most firms have standard policies on compensating car expenses. If you are not careful, you can wind up pouring your pay check into your gas tank.

Employee expense account-Also used for those whose job involves considerable travel. Again, be sure you read the fine print on the company's reimbursement policy. Be sure you clearly understand how long it will take the company to issue your expense reimbursement check. You don't want your unpaid expenses to cause a personal cash flow problem.

Parking, commuting, expense reimbursement. A perk that not many get, but some companies do offer various benefits related to commuting to the company.

Uniforms, tools and maintenance-You can deduct these items from your income tax but only if you itemize deductions. You can only deduct amounts above 2% of your income. The employer can deduct 100% from the first dollar. Another great bargaining point.

Personal development

Education and training programs-You are going to have to continue to develop your knowledge and skills to keep up with changes in technology, regulations, scientific advances and other issues. Find out what opportunities the employer offers for you to keep your skills current.

Tuition reimbursement. Organizations that want to encourage their employees to gain further education and training offer some form of partial or complete tuition reimbursement.

Professional membership dues-Membership in professional organizations is another excellent way to keep up with current developments in your profession. These organizations also provide an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues. I have often learned more from the cocktail party after a seminar than I did from the seminar itself.

Employee Assistance Program. Free or low-cost counseling offered to employees for dealing with situations such as substance abuse and marital or family problems.

Health clubs. Some organizations get a group discount to health clubs and country clubs for their employees

Relocation Expenses

While many higher level positions will also include relocation expenses for new hires, new grads need to be aware that relocation expenses are rarely paid at the entry level. However, whether an organization offers a relocation package depends on many factors, including organizational politics, the economic situation, and the supply-demand balance for job-seekers with your skills and abilities.
What's included in a relocation package?
House-hunting trip expenses
Lodging fees
Moving expenses
Mortgage/Closing cost fees
Brokerage fees
Temporary housing expenses
Spouse re-employment expenses

Retirement and savings plans

401(k) plans. Pension plans are giving way to 401(k) plans, which are also a retirement vehicle. Money is contributed on a pre-tax basis, offering you both a savings plan and a tax break. Employers often match (or match up to some level) employee contributions.

Pension plans. Employer contributions that accumulate over time, but may also require you to be employed a certain period of time to be fully "vested" in the plan.

Profit sharing. If you are working for a growing and profitable organization, profit-sharing programs can offer you great year-end bonuses based on the success of the organization or your division.

Stock Options/ESOPs-Plans that allow employees to purchase company stock options at below-market prices.

Termination agreement (severance pay)

Improvements in your working environment

Special equipment (i.e. computer)

Desirable office