Background: Because we hire good people that we trust — and because we believe in the benefits of taking time off (building into your family, recreation, exploration, re-charging, friendships, etc.) — we have an unlimited vacation policy.
Who's Eligible: Full-time employees of Differential at the time of hire.
How it Works and Restrictions:
- You must add time off through Gusto, which will automatically get added to the shared Differential Google calendar. This is not intended for purposes of tracking how much time you're taking (or to limit you in any way). It's for capacity management and planning purposes (as a client-services company, we must make sure we're fulfilling obligations).
- You must share your vacation plans with the immediate team you're working with well before (at least a few weeks) your trip. Be a good team mate and make sure you tie up any loose ends. Give people any critical information they need and a way to reach you (in case of emergency only).
- You can not take any more than two consecutive work weeks without prior discussion with your Alliance Coach or a partner.
- You can take time off in increments (i.e. a few hours at a time).
- Use good judgment with timing. If you're working on a project with critical dates/needs, plan around them to the best of your ability.
- Upon employment termination, any paid time off will be forfeited.
Final Thoughts: Please don't abuse this policy. For many reasons, we think this is the best possible policy (and checks the "flexibility" box very well), but it only works if you respect your team mates and our clients and use good judgment.
Use it! While not required, we highly recommend taking a total of at least 2 weeks of time off per year.
Actually disconnect. Don't be "that person" who is responding to emails throughout their time off. While we know that it's sometimes necessary to be available, legitimately spending some time "off the grid" is amazing for you, your personal and familial relationships. Also, no one person (partners included!) are so important that this company would fall apart if checked out for a week or 2.
Though we do have an unlimited vacation policy (see the previous section, "Unlimited Vacation"), meaning you can technically take whatever days off you like (by following the procedures outlined in that section), the following are paid company observed holidays, meaning we don't expect anyone to be working (and you do not have to request it off).
Full-time employees of Differential.
Company Observed Holidays:
- New Year's Eve (December 31 or a day of your choosing if New Year's Eve falls on a weekend)
- New Year's Day (January 1 or a day of your choosing if New Year's Day falls on a weekend)
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday in January)
- Good Friday (Friday before Easter)
- Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
- Juneteenth (June 19th)
- Independence Day (July 4)
- Labor Day (first Monday in September)
- Veterans Day (November 11 or a day of your choosing if Veterans Day falls on a weekend)
- Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November)
- Day after Thanksgiving
- Christmas Eve (December 24 or a day of your choosing if Christmas Eve falls on a weekend)
- Christmas Day (December 25 or a day of your choosing it Christmas falls on a weekend)
It is the policy of Differential to provide up to 26 weeks of parental leave to eligible employees, with the goal of reinforcing the freedom and flexibility of Differential.
The purpose of this policy is to give parents the needed flexibility and time to bond with their new child and adjust to their new family situation. At Differential, we believe in family over work and know that flexibility and family-friendly policies are essential to cultivating an atmosphere where employees can thrive professionally with relatively minimum sacrifice to family life.
Full-time employees of Differential who have been employed at least six months. The employee must meet one of the following criteria:
- Have given birth to a child
- Are a spouse or committed partner of a woman who has given birth to a child (inclusive of children born to surrogate mothers)
- Have adopted a child who is 17 years old or younger (does not apply to the adoption of a stepchild by a stepparent)
- Have become a foster parent to a child who is 17 years old or younger
Contractors and Interns/Apprentices are not eligible.
Amount and Provisions
Eligible employees may take up to 26 weeks of parental leave in total. For women who have given birth, the first six weeks will be compensated at 100 percent of the employee's regular pay with an additional 20 weeks available, unpaid (it should also be noted that we have a private, locked area for lactation / pumping purposes – please contact HR for assistance). For everyone else, the first three weeks will be compensated at 100% of the employee's salary with an additional 23 weeks available, unpaid.
If the employee is enrolled in the ZaneHealth plan, the benefits will remain the same while an employee is on parental leave. If the employee is contributing to a 401k through Guideline, the contribution amount while on parental leave is up to the employee's discretion.
All parental leave described in this policy is available for a 12-month period following the birth, adoption or placement of a foster child.
Multiple births, complications, adoptions or foster placements and anything else not mentioned here do not automatically increase the length of parental leave, but if there is a need/issue, let's talk – chances are we'll be glad to work with you. If an employee leaves Differential, they are not eligible for payment of unused parental leave. Parental leave can not be used for purposes other than those described in this policy.
Paid time off for sick days are built into our Unlimited Vacation Policy. Stay home and focus on getting better when you are not feeling well. We do not require a doctor's note.
Chronic Illness Leave
This is when you are seriously sick. Your first priority is to get better. Talk to your Alliance Coach about how Di can help.
Every person and every situation is different and we are happy to talk it out and find the right time off that works for you.
Time off for victims of intimate partner violence/gender-based violence
We support time off to meet with law enforcement, move away from an abuser, and/or arrange for other potentially life-saving services.
Jury Duty and Court Cases
It's your civic duty and Differential will compensate you at your normal salary.
We'll keep your job for you as required by USERRA. Visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/vets/programs/userra for more information.
Now the the fun stuff! Everyone is paid on the 1st of every month via Gusto. We pay via direct deposit. If you have questions, ask Colin Flynn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We look at competitive rates from the Cincinnati area, and target to be in the top quartile of pay.
Career Growth At Differential
Our compensation is simple but powerful. While you may be able to make more money working somewhere else, we are willing to make sacrifices in pay in exchange for the freedom and flexibility we currently enjoy.
A Value Based System
It's extremely important that we have a fair and transparent system to empower employees and ensure that they aren't being taken advantage of. No intense salary negotiations are accepted. Instead, we offer competitive salaries at every level of employment.
When hiring, the level a person starts at is based on their experience and responsibilities. In the circumstance where we've made a mistake on an entry level, we will quickly change the level to match the employee's skill level. Each employee of Differential may be designated as either exempt or non-exempt based on federal and / or state wage and hour regulations.
We value long-term employment and strives to be a place where people with a passion for building digital products can grow and sustain their career. We have an Alliance Framework to support you in your Career Path. Everyone has a Work Coach and an Alliance Coach who are your advocates and help you grow through regular 1-on-1 meetings. In the spirit of our coaching culture, your Work Coach will provide guidance on your day-to-day work, while your Alliance Coach will provide insight on your career growth at Differential more broadly.
We base our levels on the midwest pay scale, specifically focusing in Cincinnati. We evaluate the levels every year based on compensation (using pay scale or equivalent) and then we adjust our pay to be in the top 25% of salaries in the Cincinnati Area. We also use the CPI (consumer price index) to evaluate the rates of inflation on cost of living. If a trend is prevalent, we will adjust levels to keep pace with inflation. We may choose to lag a quarter or two behind so that we don't ever adjust salaries lower.
We use titles to encapsulate peer groups and provide a high-level career progression blueprint – a Career Path. These career progression blueprints are meant to provide clarity and context for Alliance conversations. Most people start off in either the Designer Career Path or Developer Career Path. The levels in each Career Path are the pay scales as you progress throughout the company. The important thing to note is that we evaluate based on "proven ability" and "proven experience," meaning that you should be performing and doing the work of the level above where you currently are, and be capable of reaching the level above that before a promotion would take place. At the end of every year, we do a company wide evaluation using three criteria: 1) Core Values. 2) Experience. 3) Responsibilities. That means you don't have to ask for a raise or promotion – Everyone is evaluated at the same time, using the same criteria. Our compensation framework is designed to align career growth with compensation growth.
Employment at Will
Your employment is on an at-will basis, meaning that either of us may end the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause and with or without notice.
Flex Reimbursement Policy
The goal of this policy is to reinforce the freedom and flexibility of Differential for its employees, encourage education and training, provide resources for a health and wellness program, and keep everyone's tools up to date.
After an all-team meeting in Cincinnati (Di Week 2015), one common answer and theme to the question "What does the last company you ever would work for look like?" was the concept of freedom and flexibility (including benefits).
Full-time employees of Differential. Contractors, Interns/Apprentices are not eligible except as noted below.
$1,000 for every year of service (with a maximum of $3,000) per employee per year. The account resets on January 1st each year. A new employee who starts January 1st or later will be granted that stipend immediately ($1,000 as people need items when they start). Apprentices can be reimbursed up to $200 strictly for parking / transportation.
New Employee / New Computer Additional Amount
As a new employee, we recognize that a good computer is essential to our work. In addition to the $1,000 first year tech stipend, we will add an additional $1,500 if you would like to purchase a computer. This is only valid for new employees that is used within the first 3 months of employment.
If the employee leaves or is terminated before their 1 year anniversary, the employee will be required to reimburse the company for the $1,500 computer stipend.
- New computer (Differential does not provide a company computer to new hires but new hires can use their Flex Reimbursement to supplement the price of one)
- Red Bike membership (http://www.cincyredbike.org/)
- Bus tickets
- Second monitor
- Standing desk
- Computer accessories (mouse, keyboard, phone charger, computer stand, etc.)
- Co-working space
- Gym membership
- Tech conferences (SXSW, Meteor Dev shops, CodeMash, etc)
- Online classes / tutorials (egghead.io, teamtreehouse.com, codeschool.com, etc)
- Software (Sketch, Adobe CC, etc)
How to Get Reimbursed
You must use Abacus. Talk to your career coach or Colin Flynn (email@example.com) about getting an account. Receipts must be added and the expenses must be categorized for proper accounting.
Travel "Together" Stipend
As a remote-first company, we recognize the desire to connect with our co-workers beyond the computer screen. Our Travel "Together" Stipend provides each full-time Differential employee up to $2,500 per year to get together with other employees. We see this primarily to travel to conferences with a co-worker (and pay for the conference ticket), and for remote employees to come hang out with us in Cincinnati.
This stipend should cover the travel costs to Cincinnati for Di Week each year with enough money to make at least one more trip with other Differential employees throughout the year.
The stipend can go toward airfare, bus tickets, train tickets, conference tickets, gas, lodging and food. We trust our team members to make good decisions about how they spend their travel stipends and be good stewards of company resources. Just as with the Flex Reimbursement Policy, you must use Abacus to get reimbursed.
Co-working Space Stipend
One of the challenges of working remotely is a feeling of disconnect from other people and professionals (not to mention feeling cooped up!). Because of this, Differential offers full time remote employees up to $2,500 per year (in addition to the Flex Reimbursement Policy) to help cover co-working space membership costs and fees. Just as with the Flex Reimbursement Policy, you must use Abacus to get reimbursed.
401K - Guideline
A 401(k) plan lets you contribute money, pre-tax or post-tax, to a retirement plan. These assets can accumulate tax-deferred until withdrawn during retirement, and are limited by the IRS to a maximum pre-tax annual contribution of $18,500 if you are less than 50 years of age.
Our selected provider has the lowest fees in the industry (0.03% participant fee) with average fund expenses around (0.10%).
There are also three socially responsible investing (SRI) funds available to select in our plan.
Did you know that only 12% of small businesses have a retirement plan. Isn't that crazy?! So please take this opportunity to invest in yourself!
How It Works
You are automatically enrolled when you are hired. 4% of your salary will be put into the retirement plan unless you opt out.
Differential offers a 100% match on your first 3% of contribution and a 50% match on your next 2% of contribution. For example, if you contribute 5% of your salary, Differential will contribute and additional 4%. You are immediately vested.
Learn more at Guideline.com.
529 College Savings - Gradvisor
We wanted to provide a simple, payroll deductible 529 College Savings plan. We have partnered with Gradvisor.com through our payroll provider Gusto.
Differential is paying for the administration fees in regards to these 529 College Savings plan.
Learn more at gradvisor.com
Health Insurance Premium Reimbursement Arrangement - Zane Benefits
We offer reimbursement for health insurance premiums through Zane Benefits. Each individual employee can be reimbursed up to $450 per month; an employee plus 1 (spouse or dependent) can be reimbursed up to $550 per month; an employee and their family (spouse and dependents) can be reimbursed up to $1,000 per month. This plan should not disqualify you from being eligible to be on your significant other's health insurance, if applicable. We reimburse all health insurance premiums, including plans that provide transgender health care.
Full-time employees of Differential.
How To Submit a Request
Learn more here and if you have questions, ask Colin Flynn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Other Compensation Information
Differential provides insurance to compensate for any illness or injury an employee might suffer while working on company premises, traveling on official company business, or attending an activity officially sponsored by the company.
Visit https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/workcomp for more information.
The law provides unemployment compensation benefits to protect workers from economic hardship due to a loss of employment. An employee may be eligible for unemployment compensation if they were terminated for reasons other than misconduct, as defined by state law.
Visit https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/unemployment-insurance and https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/uifactsheet.asp for more information.
By court order, a creditor may force the company to withhold wages and turn them over to the court. We will make every effort to confidentially assist the employee through this process. Employees are expected to cooperate with the company fully during garnishment.
Child Support Reporting Requirements
If the state determines that you owe child support, it will send Differential an order requiring us to withhold money from your paycheck to pay your child support obligations. We are required to comply with such orders as a matter of federal and state law.