The cafeteria services (K-12) of the Plante and Moran company have been under debate for some good time. The outsourcing of the cafeteria or its internal upgrade depends on several issues. Some of these issues are so urgent and require quick and permanent solutions. They include: the control of health care costs; employee’s health that has been threatened by lack of exercise, smoking, stress, and obesity; and the lack of the company’s ability to meet its health care costs. All these factors put the company under serious search for solutions.
Over the last few years, the cafeteria has undergone through numerous changes of both administrative and legislative concern in order to find long lasting solutions for the above issues. Most of the changes have been quite open to make the cafeteria services more flexible and attractive to employees. The recent legislative changes, however, have created a very big impact.
The optional services include: the over-the-counter drugs which are permitted and excluded for tax; the permission of dependents, including students, to be entitled to take part in parents’ cafeteria plans with Dependent and Medical Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). The extended repayment period has also extended the time limit for incurring the medical and dependent expenses. The 2008 Heroes Assistance and Relief Tax Act give tax benefits to individuals in the military. This act allows for the amendment of the cafeteria laws to enable the workers have an active responsibility for at least 180 days.
This report evaluates the above factors and gives a recommendation on the possible ways forward.
For proper control of the health care costs, the company needs to control the obesity threats associated with the fats and calories in the cafeteria’s menu and provide proper equipments for exercise. This can be achieved through:
- Creation of an onsite workout room for the employees
- Contracting a local gym for the development of an employer-sponsored program for the employees
The data used in this research is purely secondary information. The information has been collected from various sources including the cafeteria plans of 2009 and the Decision Support (EPSI). In the analysis of this data, a menu of fully integrated support features, including costing, product line analysis, productivity, operational budgeting, and capital budgeting have been considered. A similar criterion was used all through in the analysis so as to limit error chances that could arise.
For the two possible options, the strengths and weaknesses were established and listed below using the costs and convenience as the measuring factors.
The creation of an onsite workout room for the employees required that huge sums of money be put aside for the construction purposes. The equipping of this facility also required large sums of money. Both the construction and equipping of the Onsite Workout Room must be done at once implying that employees would be constrained to cater for the additional expenses which might not be possible.
On the issue of convenience, the onsite workout room may not favour employees so mush. There are possible cases of employees not accessing it during non-working hours and weekends. It can also be quite tricky for family members to use the same facility.
However, the onsite workout room encourages employees’ unity, uplifts their happiness and promotes their solidarity as workers.
When a local gym is sought, an Offsite Workout Room results. In such a case, the company would not be constrained to cater for the construction costs. Also, there would be no need for equipping this facility as all the costs are incurred by the contracted firm. Members would only be required to give some annual subscriptions, which in real sense, is negligible compared to te amount required for the construction purposes.
On the issue of convenience, the Offsite Workout room may favour the employees so much. There are high chances of this facility operating during both working hours and non-working hours including weekends. There is also possibility of the family members using the same facility.
Finally, this arrangement may lead to employee’s happiness as they can move to the gym with the family members under no or limited restrictions. The access to the facility is also not restricted.