The recent flap about the anti-discrimination bill and Microsoft got a couple of us talking at dinner about how progressive Microsoft's benefits package was compared to the rest of the software industry. One of the the things that came up is also mentioned in the Music for America blog which points out

Microsoft has a stellar record as pioneering same-sex partner rights, and they haven't reneged on this stance internally. Microsoft continues to offer same-sex partner domestic benefits – benefits which are exemplary, especially for health insurance coverage.

Being that Microsoft is the only company I've worked for as a full time employee I do take a bunch of the benefits we get for granted. Although I often end up surprised to hear that other companies in the software industry fall far short of what Microsoft offers.

For example in his post, uh oh, what happened to my bank account? Mark Jen wrote

next, let's look at the health care benefit provided. arguably, this is the biggest benefit companies pay out for their employees. google definitely has a program that is on par with other companies in the industry; but since when does a company like google settle for being on par? microsoft's health care benefits shame google's relatively meager offering. for those of you who don't know, microsoft pays 100% of employees' premiums for a world-class PPO. everything you can possibly imagine is covered. the program has no co-pays on anything (including prescription drugs); you can self-refer to any doctor in the blue cross blue shield network, which pretty much means any licensed professional; and you can even get up to 24 hour-long massage sessions per year.

I also saw similer sentiments in a recent post by Jim Stroud entitled Life with Bill... where he wrote

To all concerned, I am now on the Microsoft payroll effective immediately. Google was a groovy gig, but Bill gave me an offer I could not refuse. (Ask me about the benefits. WOW!) I am SO happy and can truly see myself here for the long haul.

I guess it's a sign I'm getting older that I actually care about things like benefits packages. It's likely that companies like Google tailor their compensation package to what the young, single geek fresh out of college is interested in while as the average age at Microsoft has gone up its compensation package has targeted the older, married geek instead.



Friday, May 6, 2005 10:11:03 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Somewhat related, I was listening to radio reports of GM's credit rating being lowered, and apparantly one of GM's problems with not just downsizing to cut production costs is that they must continue to produce at a large scale in order to meet their retirement benefits for a large retiree contingent. Having a good benefits package helped keep the unions happy when times were good, but it is having a definite effect on GM's ability to react to changes in it's business.

All this is not to say that good benefits are bad, but there is certainly a lot to consider. Having a great medical benefits package is great, especially when your workforce is thirtysomething, but take that same workforce twenty-five years from now and those medical costs could well influence decisions in how the company operates. Either that or just jettison the oldsters and go get a new batch of twentysomethings.....

Saturday, May 7, 2005 2:48:25 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I cannot agree with you more, Dare! I have worked at several other companies and the benefits here at MS cannot be beat. For example, my wife had our daughter 15 months ago at Providence's Pavilion for Women and Children. The insurance statements told the tale quite well... The total charged by the hospital was over $18,000 and after insurance discounts I think Blue Cross paid them just over $12,000. What came out of our pockets? Zero! Absolutely nothing!

As an aside...I really got irritated with co-workers that were up in arms over the minor benefit cuts made last year. I repeatedly told them that they are not 'entitled' to them...they call them benefits for a reason and if they were really upset they should compare ours to other companies. Very few continued the argument after they did some actual fact-finding.

Saturday, May 7, 2005 9:21:07 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Yeah dude, you have great benefits. I've worked at several places and used to dream about moving to Seattle to work at MS because of the benefits. The vacation time! Sweet.

Anyways, now I have NO benefits except what I create myself. ;)
Saturday, May 7, 2005 4:57:08 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I have always been struck by how completely generous Blue Cross/Blue Shield is when they do not have to pay the bills themselves! :-)
Friday, May 13, 2005 10:32:03 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
The medical benefits are good as long as you don't consider teeth to be a part of the body.

Every time I get anything more than a cleaning on my teeth, I wind up with a lot of out of pocket expenses. In fact, I think I even have to pay for part of the cleaning. I definitely had to pay a bunch for the last filling. A filling!

Put a co-pay on the drugs and cover our teeth. That's what I say.
Wednesday, November 2, 2005 8:25:05 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Protect yourself and your family from unexpected occurrences that can happen before or during your trip. Travel insurance is offering worldwide travel protection for country residents.
Wednesday, November 2, 2005 8:26:02 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
"It is very comfortable if you have only 2 weeks vocation; why spend 2 days in the train if you can take only 2houres of plane. Now all depend only to your choice. Take a nice air travel!!"
Wednesday, October 25, 2006 2:47:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Great! I just received an interview invitation to work in Microsoft, I guess I must not refuse it =) !
Karina Pedroza
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