Overview: The days of guaranteed employer-provided pension and health insurance are long gone. These days, employees are primarily responsible for ensuring they can retire comfortably. This is not always easy, since many employees start saving too little too late.
Even though the rules of the game have changed, employers can still serve as a valuable resource to employees when it comes to retirement planning. Employers can be proactive in their efforts to educate employees on the importance of saving for the future; encourage employees to contribute to a retirement plan; explain how investment strategies change based on factors such as age, the number of years left to retirement and individual goals; ensure employees fully understand their retirement plan's periodic benefit statements and other materials available to them including the plan's Summary Plan Description (SPD); and encourage employees to research retirement planning options on their own or with a financial planner.
Employees that receive education and support from their employer have a better understanding of what they need to do in order to prepare for retirement.
Trends: Employers continue to be creative in their efforts to educate employees on the importance of saving for retirement and retirement planning in general. More than likely, auto-enrollment and escalation features will become more prevalent as a means to help employees invest for their future.
Author: Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor
The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a group of retired employees are not necessarily entitled to permanent, contribution-free health care benefits. Writing for the Court, Justice Clarence Thomas said, "Employers or other plan sponsors are generally free under ERISA at any time to adopt, modify or terminate welfare plans."
On January 4, 2015, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the nation's first mandatory retirement savings plan.
The IRS has issued the annual pension and fringe benefit plan cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for tax-year 2015. Employers must reprogram their computers and payroll systems with these amounts before the first payroll of 2015.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Kansas employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to taxation of employee benefits.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Kentucky employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to taxation of employee benefits.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Ohio employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to taxation of employee benefits.
This chart provides employers with a comparison of the current and prior year retirement plan cost of living adjustments and fringe benefit limitations. It helps employers ensure that they are withholding the correct amount of taxes from the pay of employees who receive various benefits. The chart will be updated annually when new amounts are announced by the Internal Revenue Service, which is usually by the end of October.
Employers and employees each contribute into the Social Security retirement system via Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes. This Quick Reference chart provides employers with a comparison of the current and prior year Social Security taxable wage base, FICA tax rates and Social Security benefit amounts.
The Internal Revenue Service has announced the tax year 2015 cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans and other inflation-adjusted amounts. Many of the pension plan limitations will increase for 2015 because the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. Other limitations will not change because the relevant thresholds were not met.
The Social Security Administration has announced that the Social Security taxable wage base will be $118,500 for 2015, as adjusted for inflation. As in prior years, there is no limit on the amount of wages subject to Medicare tax withholding. The Social Security and Medicare (FICA) tax rates will not change for 2015.