HR Support on Employee Benefit Programs & Strategies

Editor's Note: The benefits challenge - balancing compliance, communications, competitive advantage and cost.

Tracy MorleyOverview: Employee benefit programs typically account for one-third of employee compensation costs. HR professionals are charged with managing this investment wisely. This includes ensuring compliance, controlling costs, having an effective communication strategy and making sure the benefits program attracts, retains and engages employees.

This is especially challenging in light of rising health care costs and an increasingly complex regulatory environment. With only so many dollars to spend on employee benefits, a key part of the strategy is to determine how much to invest so that both the needs of the employee and the employer are met. The regulatory environment has a significant impact on how employee benefit plans are designed and administered as employers ensure plans are operated in compliance with ERISA, COBRA and HIPAA.

Having a benefits strategy that is linked to business strategy can serve as a significant competitive advantage for employers. Clearly aligning the vision of employee benefit programs with the employer's business goals demonstrates how HR functions as a business partner and contributes to the bottom line. Effective benefit communications can support this vision and will ensure that both employers and employees get the most from the substantial investment in benefits.

Trends: The newer requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Health Care Reform or Obamacare, in addition to the repeal of section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the legalization of same-sex marriage in numerous states, will challenge HR professionals in both the short- and the long-term as they monitor developments and adjust benefit strategies accordingly.

Author: Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor

Latest items in Employee Benefits

  • Taxation of Employee Benefits: Louisiana

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    The value of health insurance benefits provided to an employee's same-sex spouse or partner and their dependents is taxable in Louisiana.

  • Business Travel and Reimbursement Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees of when they will provide reimbursement for business travel and help employees maintain reasonable limits on business expenses should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook to communicate their Business Travel and Reimbursement policy to employees.

  • Holidays Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees which holidays are observed and the circumstances under which employees will receive holiday pay should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook to communicate their Holidays policy to employees.

  • Floating Holidays Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees that they provide floating holidays and the circumstances under which those holidays will accrue, carry over and/or be forfeited or paid upon termination of employment should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook to communicate their Floating Holidays policy to employees.

  • Personal Leave Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to provide personal leave to employees, establish the terms of the policy and preserve the employer's discretion to approve or deny the request should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook to communicate the employer's Personal Leave policy to employees.

  • Benefits Overview Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees with an overview of benefit offerings to employees should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook to communicate their Benefits Overview policy to employees.

  • Medical and Dental Insurance Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees who is eligible to participate in medical and dental insurance, whether and to what extent coverage may extend to spouses and other family members and when benefit selections should be made should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook to communicate their Medical and Dental Insurance policy to employees.

  • Same-Sex Marriages, Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees that that they are compliant with legal requirements regarding same-sex couples, civil unions and domestic partnerships and to provide a point of contact for employees in these relationships who have benefits-related questions should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook to communicate their Same-Sex Marriages, Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships policy to employees.

  • Flexible Spending Accounts Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees of the different forms of flexible spending accounts (FSAs) that they offer should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook to communicate their Flexible Spending Accounts policy to employees.

  • Group Life Insurance Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to identify which employees may be eligible for group life insurance and the types of life insurance available to them should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook to communicate their Group Life Insurance policy to employees.

About this topic

HR and legal considerations for employers regarding employee benefit programs. Support on following regulations and requirements on this topic.