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

  • ACA, HIPAA Excepted Benefits Final Rules Released

    Date:
    01 October 2014
    Type:
    News

    On October 1, the Departments of the Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services published final rules regarding excepted benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and Public Health Service Act (PHSA), as amended by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The rules specifically cover vision and dental benefits and employee assistance program (EAP) 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.

  • Work-Related Injuries or Illnesses Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to notify workers that workers' compensation insurance is available and instruct them to promptly report any work-related injury or illness should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Workers' Compensation Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees that workers' compensation insurance is available and instruct them to promptly report any work-related injury or illness should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Disability Benefits Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees of the forms of income replacement available to protect families against financial loss should a wage earner be unable to work for an extended period of time should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

About this topic

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