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new job’s insurance doesn’t cover my medication, a 6 a.m. training, and more — Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My new job’s insurance doesn’t cover my medication

My husband and I take Wegovy, which is a weight loss drug that has stirred up a lot of controversy. My healthy diet is finally working now that I don’t have to deal with insulin resistance and I’m having excellent results. Because insulin resistance is a medical condition, I have to stay on Wegovy for life to treat it and am fine with that. My previous company did not need any type or preauthorization or medical documentation. I just handed the prescription to my pharmacy and they called me once it was in.

However, I recently started a job at a new company. Since the drug is quite expensive and unaffordable for us out of pocket and not all prescription plans cover it, I asked for a list of the new company’s prescription plan formulary during the interview process to make sure it’s covered. If it was not, that would be a deal breaker for me and I would have removed myself from the process. I was thrilled when I saw Wegovy on the list.

I started a few weeks ago and I love the job and the team. However, when I called the prescription plan last week to see if I need a preauthorization, I was told that Wegovy is NOT covered and it is specifically excluded even though it was on the list. I spoke with the HR person who onboarded me and she has repeatedly assured me that they will fix it.

Today I found out that their way of fixing it is to have me file an appeal with the prescription plan and see if their broker can get it covered in the meantime. I asked about making it covered and not excluded going forward and she said they cannot do that until the next plan year and the VP of HR would have to weigh in. In the meantime, I have to try to do this appeal.

I am so upset about this. I am terrified it will not be covered and I will gain all the weight back. I feel like I was hired under false pretenses. I am not sleeping well and have so much anxiety about whether it will be covered as promised. While I love the job, I don’t want to stay if it is not covered. I would never have left my last company if I knew this would happen, because it wasn’t intolerable or toxic and had great benefits. Complicating this is that I took a signing bonus that I’d have to pay back if I leave within two years.

Do I have any recourse? If I decide to leave over this, can I get them to let me out of paying back the signing bonus since the reason I am leaving is that a drug that they told me is covered is actually not covered? What else could I have done to make sure it was covered beyond what I did?

You took every reasonable action to make sure it was covered before you accepted the job! The only other step you could have taken was to call the plan to confirm the info listed was correct … but it’s understandable that you didn’t think you needed to when you saw it on the list.

If you do end up leaving over this, you have a good shot at getting out of repaying the signing bonus if you point out that you did your due diligence but were given wrong info. Not a guarantee, especially since health care plans can and do change and it’s possible for a drug to be covered when you’re hired and not covered later on — but you have a good argument and would be on solid ground in at least trying.

But before it gets to that point, try framing it to HR this way: “I was careful to request your formulary to confirm the coverage before accepting the job. I wouldn’t have been able to accept the job had it not been listed as a covered prescription in the materials you gave me … and realistically, I can’t stay if I need to pay out of pocket for this. Given that, what are our options?” Wait to see what happens with the appeal first, though, since your company is likely to want to see if that works before talking about other steps.

2. My boss scheduled a 6 am training with little notice

My boss is the one who approves vacation and she has access to all of our work calendars, yet she keeps scheduling mandatory training when folks are on vacation or already in meetings, and she schedules things outside of normal work hours without checking that we don’t have other commitments first.

My workplace wants to do antiracism training, which I fully support. But our boss scheduled it without checking with anyone (or apparently her own calendar), so two out of five of us had already been approved for vacation or a personal day, and she herself had a conflicting meeting. She asked if we could move our vacations, but I was at my best friend’s wedding as the maid of honor, so it wasn’t something I could reschedule. My coworker had a plane ticket purchased. We both were able to attend the first day, but not the second. This was in June.

My boss was disappointed that less than half of the staff were at the full training (again, she was one of the folks who missed it) and decided to re-book us all on the online version. She didn’t tell us this was happening and it’s based in a different time zone, so we just found out today that we are expected to be at work at 6 am next Monday and Tuesday. Our usual workday is 9:30-5:30.

I had already scheduled work meetings and project deadlines during these days. One of my coworkers has a family commitment Sunday night and doesn’t expect to be home before midnight, so waking up early enough to look professional at 6 am is a hardship. Another coworker has a medical appointment during the training, which has been on her work calendar.

I care about antiracism and would have been willing to plan in advance to make this work, but it feels unreasonable to spring a 6 am start and take away 16 hours of our work week with so little warning. This month, I have already rescheduled something in my personal life once because my boss scheduled an evening event without checking the date with us. This is an ongoing problem. My coworkers and I are all feeling anxious about this, and we are looking for a professional way to assert a boundary about scheduling without implying that we object to antiracism training.

“We really want to take this full training, but these dates don’t work for a bunch of us and some of us will end up missing it again. Can we schedule it with enough lead time that we can all ensure we’ll be there — and can we check calendars and confirm the dates before it gets booked so we can be sure we can attend?”

After that: “Can we talk about how stuff gets scheduled in general? There have been a few times recently where important things got scheduled without much lead time and when folks were scheduled to be out. Obviously schedules won’t always line up and sometimes conflicts can’t be avoided, but especially if something is mandatory, could we make a practice of checking shared calendars to try to get the maximum availability?”

You’re probably feeling aggravated because this shouldn’t even need to be said — but use the same tone you’d use to raise a work problem that felt less charged (like if the printer kept jamming or you needed a workaround to a software limitation) and it’ll likely go over better.

3. Should I mention my divorce to my boss?

I work in higher education and manage a small staff team that supports an academic department. I report directly to the department chair, who is a wonderful boss. We have a good culture of accommodating folks where needed for medical issues, moving house, etc. though we try to do our best to schedule these things (where possible, especially for things like pre-planned surgery) for non-busy times of the academic year.

My issue is that I am in the process of filing for divorce, and it’s likely not going to be a smooth process. It is going to require me to have quite a few meetings with my attorney as well as court dates. These meetings will need to happen during the workday, and with court dates you don’t get a lot of flexibility in scheduling. Unfortunately we’re also entering a very busy time of year (start of the semester) but sometimes life events happen in a way that’s not convenient for anyone and we have to work with what we have.

Hw much of this should I disclose to my boss? I’m worried that if I suddenly am taking very short notice days off for legal proceedings that he’ll think I’m interviewing. I love my job and have no plans of leaving, but I’m also not comfortable getting into the details of why this needs to happen now and can’t wait until winter break or another similarly less-busy time.

If you don’t want to be specific at all, you could say, “Unfortunately I have a family situation unfolding that’s going to require a number of appointments during the workday over the next few months and I won’t have a ton of flexibility on times and dates. I know the timing isn’t ideal so I wanted to give you a heads-up. I’ll of course work around it as best as I can.”

But if you’re comfortable with it, it would also be fine to say, “I’m starting the process of a divorce and there are going to be some meetings and court dates that I won’t be able to move. I wanted to give you a heads-up since I know the time of year isn’t ideal, but unfortunately I won’t have a ton of control over the timing of some of it.”

4. Should I put a job I left quickly on my resume?

I was laid off in January, as part of a global workforce reduction (not a surprise, and nothing to do with my performance). I interviewed with a lot of companies and was able to land a new job quite rapidly.

Two months and a half ago, I joined my current company, and I realized I do not like it (beyond quite a few bad things I see in the culture, I want to be in a more hands-on position), and after being honest with my manager, they decided to lay me off this week (I’m still on a trial period). I had another offer in place before disclosing this to my manager, which I have now accepted.

Should I keep this company on my resume and on LinkedIn? I fear it might look bad having a hole of a few months, then two months in a company, then another company. If asked, I can be honest and open about it: I was not a good fit and did not enjoy the work I was doing, so I preferred to jump the boat faster rather than later. But I know it still does not look great, and not having it would mean that I just have the hole lasting a couple more months, which can be justified by “I was laid off and took my time to find the right place to work.”

Leave it off. Two and a half months of work won’t give you enough accomplishments to make it worth including. And a gap of a few months isn’t a big deal at all, particularly after a layoff.

You were laid off, you found a new job a few months later, end of story.

5. Is my schedule legal?

I am salaried at 37.5 hrs a week, Monday – Friday. Every fourth weekend I am on-call and need to respond to and fix any IT issues that occur. I am not paid extra for this and there’s always work to be done on both Saturday and Sunday. When it is my weekend, it means I work 12 days in a row.

Additionally, because the systems always have to be monitored, I regularly work on holidays. So the entire company gets a paid holiday and I am stuck working. I don’t receive additional pay or official comp time for this. My boss will let me take a day off in trade if I ask, but I don’t take advantage of it as much as I should. Nothing is tracked in payroll, so if I leave the company, I’d be forfeiting any holiday time that everyone else has received. Is this legal?

Assuming you’re correctly classified as exempt, it’s legal — exempt employees don’t need to be paid overtime, and no law in the U.S. requires special holiday pay. The exception to this would be if your offer letter or other employee documents are written in a way that guarantee you holidays off (although even then you’d need a lawyer to look at the specific wording; offer letters aren’t the same as a binding contract).

However, you can certainly try negotiating comp time and/or a raise in recognition of the amount of time you’re putting in. You might get it if you ask! And if nothing else, you should immediately start taking more advantage of the days in trade your boss will already approve.


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