Start new year on a better note

The year-end buzz is gaining momentum as employees’ mentally shutdown at work, embrace office functions and count the days to their annual leave. Irrespective of whether you had a fantastic or tough year, you can still finish on a winning streak… 

I suggest you consider the following issues before going on leave:

• Medical Aid Contribution
I frequently find employees to be in the dark about their medical aid scheme, plan, cover, costs and tax consequences. Merely ticking of the same choices every year is not always cost effective nor does it guarantee appropriate cover.  Your decision must also reflect your financial and health profile. From a tax position, your employer’s contribution to the scheme is tax free if it does not exceed two thirds of the total amount.  The latest round of tax amendments discard this treatment with effect from 1 March 2006.  The tax free contribution per month will be R500 for the taxpayer, R500 for the first dependant and R300 per dependant thereafter.  You should determine the potential cashflow consequences to avoid nasty shocks in a few months.

• Relationships
It is an opportune period to nurture relationships. Thank customers, employees and other parties for their ongoing support.  A short call, well written e-mail or small gift can make a big difference when you resume business in the new year,

• Performance
If you are fortunate to be exceeding management expectations at this time of the year, send them a summary of your achievements. It will contribute to your performance track record in the next appraisal. 

• Career
We are working in a fast paced environment that demands ongoing career management.  It is grossly neglected during the year when we are engrossed in the rat race. Take some time to reflect on your progress this year and start planning the year ahead.   

(Star Workplace, December 2005)

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