Ops Provide Supplemental War Benefits


Major MSOs are providing employees on active military duty with supplementary pay, making up the difference between their cable-system salaries and their military wages, although the length of such benefits varies.

For example, Comcast Corp. will compensate its employees with supplemental pay for up to one year. Cox Communications Inc. said it will shell out supplemental pay based on how long a worker has been with the company — up to 18 months for those who have worked for the MSO for more than nine years.

Charter Communications Inc. will continue to hand out differential pay for the first four weeks of military leave, with employees then able to take their floating holidays and vacation time, according to spokesman Dave Andersen.

Insight Communications Co. is being especially generous with its workers on military leave, trying to minimize the disruption in their families' lives, according to a company spokeswoman. Employees will get supplemental pay for as long as they are on active military leave, with the MSO making up the difference between the person's military wages and their Insight regular base salary, plus overtime.

Insight's employees will continue to get their scheduled merit pay increases, and all of their health-care benefits while they're active. While those on duty receive medical benefits from the military, continuing their MSO health benefits means less disruption and no need to change doctors, for example.

Insight employees will also continue to earn vacation time during their military leave and continue to get complimentary cable.

Other MSOs' policies regarding the extension of medical benefits for on-duty employees and their families also vary. Charter will subsidize medical benefits starting the month an employee goes on leave through the following seven months, according to Andersen.

A Comcast active-duty employee's medical benefits will continue for 30 days after they leave, according to company spokeswoman Jenni Moyer. Those employees can then pay for COBRA-type benefits for up to an additional 17 months.

Comcast is also continuing to provide complimentary high-speed Internet access and cable service to the families of employees on duty, according to Moyer.

"It's an important way to help the families stay connected with their loved ones," she said.