Medical Plan Benefit Questions

In the past the formulary (the drugs covered under our prescription plans) have changed twice a year: January 1 and July 1. Has there been anything done to line that up with our July 1st plan year start date? It's hard to calculate FSA amounts to elect when the prices change twice a year.

Michaels health plan watches every dollar to ensure that Team Member paycheck contributions remain as low as possible. You might not know that Michaels health plan is self-funded — that means that you pay around 30% of the cost of the health plan and Michaels pays the rest. Since it is not an insured health plan, extra costs aren’t passed off to an insurance company.

To keep Team Member contributions low, the medical plan covers certain prescribed drugs. The permitted prescribed drugs along with the portion the plan will pay to cover the expense of these drugs is included on a list of eligible drugs, which is called a formulary. Historically Michaels has updated this list twice a year to keep up with changes as new drugs are introduced to the market and as existing drugs become available in a generic form.

We have reviewed a recent request to update the formulary once a year to coincide with open enrollment instead of twice a year, and we have learned that our overall pharmacy costs are likely to increase which means Team Member contributions would also increase by making that change. We will continue to review the formulary timing and will consider moving to once per year if there are no cost increases associated with that change in the future.

Do we have any plan for prescribed medicine? Many drugs are not covered by our plan.

Please see the response above which explains why we have the drug list (formulary). We regularly review the drugs that are part of our formulary to balance Team Member needs and overall costs to both Michaels and our Team Members.

401(k) Plan Benefit Questions

Is a self-directed 401(k) option on the table for the future? With ETFs or stocks instead of mutual funds?

Some companies allow 401(k) participants to select additional types of investments in their 401(k) plan outside of the provided mutual funds selected by the company’s Retirement Committee. This type of investment choice is called a “self-directed 401(k) investment option”. Some individuals who work for companies providing a 401(k) self-directed investment option choose to invest in “ETFs” which stands for Exchange Traded Funds. ETFs operate somewhat like a mutual funds, however they are valued continuously instead of at the end of each trading day.

Michaels’ 401(k) Retirement Committee regularly reviews existing investment fund performance to ensure the funds are appropriate choices for our 401(k) participants. The Committee has considered self-directed investment options in the past, however, has decided against adding them as an investment option for two main reasons – (a) very few participants elect to actively invest their 401(k) assets and (b) it is very difficult to ensure Team Member compliance with stringent IRS and Department of Labor regulations.

Paid Leave Benefit Questions

Any chance we are reviewing a maternity leave program? Or increasing the coverage to be 100% paid for a full 12 weeks?


Salaried Team Members and Assistant Store Managers are eligible for company-paid short-term disability and Hourly Team Members may choose to purchase short-term disability coverage. Team Members receive a short-term disability benefit equal to 60% of regular salary up to a maximum of $1,000 per week while unable to work, including for giving birth (typically six weeks).

Prevalence for Retail:

Our practice mirrors the retail survey data.

Parental Leave: Regarding the benefits questions: I've heard several Team Members say that we could improve the amount of paid leave for new parents. Many companies are improving their plans to 6 or 12 weeks. Are we considering increasing this for our Team Members as well?

Michaels has a Parental Leave Policy available for Salaried Team Members, Store Managers, and Assistant Store Managers. It provides 80 hours of paid time off for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. This leave time is to be used within one year of the birth or adoption of the child.

Hourly paid Team Members are currently not eligible for paid parental leave, however they may request unpaid time off for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child.

Maternity - Birth Leave

Our maternity leave for mothers giving birth is common among retail companies. Most retailers provide for at least six weeks of short-term disability pay during this time. In addition, the Federal Medical Leave Act allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave within 1 year of the birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care.

Parental/Adoption Leave

Our parental leave program of two weeks is common among retailers for salaried and part-time hourly Team Members. We are evaluating our parental leave policy for our full-time hourly Team Members many of whom work in our distribution centers. 

Other HR Questions

Do we have any plans to make updates to the internal job posting in Workday to include the pay grade for the position?

Great question! We have now updated our Workday system to display this information for internal job postings.

Holiday Helpers

This program is available on a volunteer basis from mid-November through December for Support Center Team Members. We highly encourage Team Members across our Support Center to volunteer in our stores during this time to connect with our Makers and support our frontline store Team Members.

Cell Phone Reimbursement and Discount Questions

For Team Members that work daily in model stores or competitively shop competitors, the cell phone is essential to remain reachable while not working directly on a laptop. Would the cell phone coverage be reconsidered for those Team Members?

Michaels reviewed cell phone reimbursement a few years ago from a cost perspective and determined certain groups could receive reimbursement. At the current time, cell phone reimbursement is limited to store operations at director level or above if they travel 75% or more of the time and select roles that require first responders for urgent incident management issues. Please see the Mobile Phone Allowance Policy posted.

Could you look into the AT&T discount to also include internet for those who work from home?

Our AT&T Discount is negotiated directly with AT&T as a major vendor of Michaels. Michaels Team Members are eligible for a 23% discount on qualifying monthly service from AT&T. Mention FAN: 41028 when you contact AT&T to receive the discount. For more information and to shop online, please visit You can receive up to 30 GB of mobile hotspot data per line which can supplement for internet usage from home.

Do the cell phone benefits also cover pre-paid AT&T plans?

Please see response above, and check directly with AT&T at since AT&T is always updating their discounts to provide cost-effective service to Michaels Team Members.