Overview: 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
The US Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a temporary enforcement policy relating to its recently proposed 60-day extension of the applicability date of the final rule defining who is a "fiduciary" under ERISA.
Updated to include information on a Supreme Court of Connecticut ruling regarding the state ABC Test for independent contractor classification.
Updated to reflect temporary guidance on the fiduciary rule in light of the Department of Labor's proposed 60-day delay of the rule's applicability date.
With all of the fireworks surrounding the current political climate, some big changes in a major US territory may have flown under the radar. Puerto Rico has dramatically overhauled some key employment laws, and this podcast takes a look with Littler employment attorney Shiara Diloné.
Updated to include municipal trends in protections for part-time employees, effective March 13, 2017.
Under the Health Care Security Ordinance, an employer with 20 or more employees must file an annual report by April 30 each year.
An employer that is liable for, or responsible for collecting, certain federal excise taxes must file Form 720 with the IRS for each quarter of a calendar year. Sponsors of self-insured health plans and health insurance issuers must report the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee on Form 720 annually by July 31.
Entities that provide prescription drug coverage to Medicare Part D-eligible individuals must disclose to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) whether coverage is "creditable prescription drug coverage."
Entities that provide prescription drug coverage to Medicare Part D-eligible individuals must disclose to those individuals whether their drug coverage is creditable or noncreditable prior to October 15 each year, when an individual joins the plan and upon the individual's request.
Updated to reflect an extended deadline for providing the initial written notice for qualified small employer HRAs under the 21st Century Cures Act.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding employee benefit programs. Support on following regulations and requirements on this topic.