Category Archives: Benefits

Benefit planning inevitably involves tradeoffs between an ideal package and one that will maximize the desired impact at a price that can be afforded. These articles will provide how to information on managing the wide variety of benefits including health care, life, and disability insurance, and retirement benefits.

Practical Examples: FMLA to Care for Children 18 and Above


"In yesterday’s Advisor, we offered guidelines for the minefield of FMLA leave for children 18 and older. Today, concrete examples from DOL of how to manage this leave, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."

My 20-year-old daughter has been put on bed rest because of her high-risk pregnancy. I am the only one available to care for her. Can I take FMLA leave for this reason?

Maybe. In order to take FMLA leave to care for your adult daughter, she must be incapable of self-care due to a disability and you must be needed to care for her because of a serious health condition. While any incapacity due to pregnancy will be a serious health condition for FMLA purposes, pregnancy itself is not a disability. However, pregnancy-related impairments may be considered disabilities if they substantially limit a major life activity.

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The 5 Hoops—FMLA Leave over Children 18 and Older


"Employees who are eligible for FMLA leave who want to take leave to care for a child 18 years of age or older must jump through five hoops to qualify."

  • First, the child must meet the FMLA definition of a “son or daughter.”
  • Second, the child 18 years of age or old must be “incapable of self-care.”
  • Third, the incapability for self care must be because of a mental or physical disability at the time FMLA leave is to commence.
  • Fourth, the child must have a serious health condition for which he or she needs care.
  • Fifth, the employee must be “needed to care for” the adult child.

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What Changes Are Employers Making to Retirement Benefits?


"In yesterday’s Advisor, we presented the first set of results from our 2014 Retirement Benefits Survey. Today, more survey results plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com"

Changes Contemplated

Our survey shows that 9.8% of employers plan to add or make changes to their 2015 retirement benefits package, 64.9% of employers have no additions or changes planned, and 25.3% are not certain at this point in time.

For those that are planning to add or make changes to their retirement benefits, 27.4% are planning to add a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k), 403(b), or Roth 401(k), and 20.8% are planning to increase their employer match to their existing defined contribution plan, while 6.6% are planning to reduce the level of their employer match.

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Retirement Benefits? Results Are In! Survey Says …


"Results are in for our 2014 Retirement Benefits Survey. Here are some highlights: "

  • 86.6% of the employers responding to our 2014 survey offer either a 401(k) or 403(b) retirement savings plan to employees.
  • 60.3% of the employers responding to our survey that offer a 401(k) or 403(b) plan to their employees also provide a matching contribution.
  • 41.4% of employers match employee contributions dollar-for-dollar. 31.3% go 50 cents on the dollar.
  • Other retirement benefits offered by our survey participants include: defined benefit plans (23.7%), Roth 401(k) (33.2%), 457 plan (13%), profit sharing (22.7%), stock options (3.9%), employee stock ownership plan (7.2%), union-sponsored pension plan (2.6%), and/or SIMPLE or SEP (4.3%).

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Perks—Do Yours Measure Up? Who’s Offering What?


"Employment branding, “Best Place to Work,” retention and engagement—a lot of it comes down to perks. Will the perks you offer help recruit and retain the best and brightest? How do your perks stack up against the competition’s?"

Help us find out!

Please participate in our brief survey and see how what you are doing stacks up against what other successful companies are doing.

Who’s offering what perks out in the real world?

  • Wellness
  • Life, Accident, Pet Insurance?
  • Flex, Child care, Telecommuting?
  • Financial Planning, Legal Assistance, EAP?
  • Tuition Reimbursement?
  • What else?

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Mercer Infographic: Taking Health Management to a New Level

This infographic via Mercer indicates that employers are increasingly willing to invest in health management — and they believe their programs are making a difference. “US employers believe that health management is helping to slow medical trend, and they are putting more emphasis on these programs,” says Beth Umland, Director of Research for Mercer’s Health & Benefits business. “Now more than half of large employers provide employees with financial incentives to participate, and a fifth reward employees for achieving or maintaining specific health targets. They’re also making health improvement more fun with contests and challenges, and providing mobile apps to track activity.”

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Compassionate Impulses—Understandable, But Dangerous


"Yesterday’s Advisor featured attorney Susan Fentin’s tips for managing employees with chronic health conditions. Today, how your managers’ compassionate impulses can lead to “regarded as” claims, plus an introduction to the audit guide that helps you find wage/hour problems before the feds do."

The Two Problems

Fentin, who is a partner in the Springfield, Massachusetts, law firm, Skoler, Abbott & Presser P.C., points out the two sometimes opposing desires of dealing with employees with chronic illnesses:

Supporting the employee with chronic illness, and
Managing the employee with the chronic illness.

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Chronic Illnesses—Tough to Balance Compassion and Business


"It might be HR’s toughest balancing act—how to manage your compassion for a chronically ill employee with your legitimate business concerns."

As an HR person, you care about people, says attorney Susan Fentin. Your impulse is to help; however, if the problem is driving the business down, you may not be able to help. You need to balance these sometimes-competing interests, and that’s not often easy.

What are the issues when an employee is chronically ill? Typically, says Fentin, we see:

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VBBD—Case Study Shows Real Savings


"Yesterday’s Advisor featured consultant Carla McCormick’s tips for moving toward Value-Based Benefits Design (VBBD). Today, she offers a case study in VBBD plus we introduce the all-things-comp-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com."

McCormick, a consultant with Fallon Benefits Group in Atlanta, made her remarks at BLR’s Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, held recently in Las Vegas.

Case Study in VBBD

Some facts about the client:

  • Global presence with more than 7,000 covered lives
  • Employee population includes office staff, manufacturing, and drivers
  • Average employee age: 45 years
  • Very low turnover

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VBBD—Where It’s Going in Benefits


"Value-Based Benefits Design (VBBD) is where we’re headed in benefits, says consultant Carla McCormick. If you are not evaluating it for your company, you should be, she adds."

What is VBBD? It’s about taking a comprehensive approach to helping employees to be healthier—and helping the company to save money. McCormick, a consultant with Fallon Benefits Group in Atlanta, made her remarks at BLR’s Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, held recently in Las Vegas.

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