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.
Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor
Employee benefits, such as health insurance, sick pay, disability pay, workers' compensation insurance and retirement savings plans, may be subject to withholding for federal income taxes (FIT), Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes or federal unemployment (FUTA) taxes. This section assists HR professionals in understanding how each particular type of benefit plan must be structured and how to properly tax and report contributions, reimbursements and distributions in order to ensure compliance with the Internal Revenue Code.
Maine excludes from taxable income health insurance benefits for employees' same-sex spouses and their children.
The US Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) published two compliance tools to help employers see if their health plans comply with the requirements of Part 7 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires plan sponsors to meet fiduciary, reporting and disclosure requirements. ERISA also sets minimum standards for participation, vesting, benefit accruals and funding. This Legal Insight focuses on a plan sponsor's fiduciary and disclosure responsibilities under ERISA and explains how to navigate DOL regulations and enforcement activities.
An employer may use this policy to convey the purpose for and importance of conducting exit interviews with employees departing the organization. Given that employers may collect valuable, candid information regarding employment practices from outgoing employees and may also identify post-termination risks such as lawsuits, employers are strongly encouraged to conduct exit interviews with all willing, outgoing employees. This policy can be used to put current employees on notice of the employer's intention to conduct such interviews and what the employer intends to do with the information it gathers.
In David v. Alphin, the 4th Circuit denied a group of 401(k) and pension plan participants' claims alleging that plan administrators made imprudent investment decisions.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, signed into law on January 2, 2013, made several payroll related changes. To help employers understand the impact of the new law, XpertHR has updated several sections of the Employment Law Manual and all related Worked Examples and How To tools.
This Worked Example illustrates how employers should calculate an employee's total FICA withholding for each pay period.
Employers need to do everything they can to minimize claims by employees and the government. This section assists HR professionals in implementing proper policies and procedures, and understanding where the greatest risks lay and what the federal government's major enforcement initiatives are.
Notice 2012-76 should be used by plan sponsors and practitioners submitting determination letter applications from February 1, 2013, through January 31, 2014.
HR guidance on helping employees prepare for retirement.
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