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
Updated to reflect the 2020 FICA tax rates and benefit amounts.
As mandated by the Connecticut Insurance Department, all Connecticut employers should use the Connecticut Continuation Coverage General Notice.
As mandated by the Connecticut Insurance Department, covered employers should use the Connecticut Continuation Coverage Election Notice.
Updated to reflect benefits claims amendments to the temporary disability benefits law, effective October 4, 2019.
Updated to include a forthcoming provision regarding the individual health insurance mandate.
Updated to reflect changes to Colorado's Wage Protection Act Rules and the addition of the Colorado Vacation Handbook Statement.
Colorado employers seeking to indicate that Colorado employees will receive pay for vacation upon termination of employment should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Updated to incorporate the state paid family and medical leave law, with notice and posting requirements, effective September 30, 2019, and new hire notice and contribution collection requirements, effective October 1, 2019.
Updated to include a provision regarding the DOL final rule on association retirement plans, effective September 30, 2019.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding employee benefit programs. Support on following regulations and requirements on this topic.