Employee Benefits 2016-2017
As an employer, you have to offer some specific employee benefit services to comply with current laws. But of course, you can choose to provide generous employee benefits services as a way to entice and retain valuable and highly qualified employees. By providing such small business employee benefits solutions, you present an image of a compassionate employer, and you can gain greater loyalty and productivity from workers who feel appreciated.
Our Cincinnati Insurance Company provides many management options for all of your employee benefit services if you do not have an HR dept.
Required Employee Benefits Services
As an employer, you’re required by law to provide certain types of benefits. You have to:
• Conform to all the workers’ compensation requirements.
• Offer time off for your employees to fulfill their civic duties. These include serving on a jury, going off to vote, or performing a required military service as part of the reserves.
• Pay federal and state unemployment taxes to help out the unemployed.
• Withhold and pay for FICA payroll taxes, which include a 6.2% Social Security tax and a 1.45% Medicare tax.
• Follow the rules set out by the Federal Family and Medical Leave (FMLA). Basically, you have to provide an unpaid but job-protected leave for 12 weeks in a year for the birth or adoption of a child, to deal with a serious medical condition affecting an employee or their close family, or any emergency involving the active military duty of a close family member.
Health Benefit Services
If you have at least 50 employees, then you must provide some sort of health plan. The Affordable Care Act mandates that the employee benefits solutions you get from your employee benefits specialist must include the following:
• Emergency services. These refer to visits to the emergency room, for conditions that can lead to death or serious disability if they’re not treated immediately. An employee cannot be penalized if the ER doctors are not part of the approved network or if they don’t get any authorization to go to the ER beforehand.
• Ambulatory patient services. This is outpatient care when the worker receives health care services without being admitted to the hospital.
• Inpatient care or hospitalization. This type of care includes the lab tests and medications, along with surgeries and transplants.
• Maternity and newborn care. This ranges from prenatal care to caring for a newborn baby.
• Pediatric services. Care provided for the children of employees.
• Addiction treatment and other mental health services. This covers the diagnosis and treatment of various mental health conditions, including substance abuse.
• Rehab. These include assistance in recovering or developing coping skills, as well as various rehab devices.
• Lab tests. These tests can help with diagnoses and can include preventive screenings such as breast cancer screenings.
• Preventive services. These include immunizations, regular checkups, and care for chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma.
To make sure you comply with the employee benefits law, you should get the assistance of employee benefits consulting firms in Cincinnati to make sure that you get the right small business employee benefits packages.
Other Possible Benefits
Your company may not seem all that great if you only offer the bare minimum group employee benefits services, compared to your competitors who offer other types of voluntary employee benefits. So you may want to think about offering these additional perks in your employee benefits packages for small groups:
• Dental insurance. While not mandated by law, this is a pretty common element of employee benefits for small business, especially around Ohio. Your company can cover the full or partial cost at about 80%. Or you can have your employees pay the total cost of the dental service, while you shoulder the costs of the administrative expenses and the payroll deductions.
• Flexible spending accounts. An FSA is a tax-deferred savings account you can set up for your employees so they can pay for expenses not covered by your insurance plan. These flexible employee service benefits can contribute pretax money to the account, which they can then use to pay for various out-of-pocket medical costs, fees for day care, or private pre-school and kindergarten expenses.
• Life insurance. While this isn’t really a priority for young employees, it’s quite an enticement if you’re looking for experienced older workers. Just about every large company with at least 250 employees offers this benefit, while it’s available with only 15.5% of companies that have fewer than 10 employees.
• Retirement benefits. With pension plans, there’s a predetermined amount of money for every retiring employee, depending on their salary and the number of years they’ve worked for you. A 401k plan specifies the amount of the contribution of the employer and the employees towards the retirement package, but it’s usually tied to the performance of the investment tool.
• Paid leave. This may refer to vacation leave, sick leave, and holidays. The workers can get a number of days off while still receiving pay for those days.
• Flextime. Workers can choose to work unusual business hours as long as they complete their assigned tasks within a given deadline. Many creative jobs offer this perk.
• Sabbaticals. This is somewhat rare, but the few companies that offer this benefit contend that it does a lot of good. A sabbatical is an extended leave (anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months) for a senior employee who has worked for at least 5 years for your company. They may use the time to pursue other interests, travel extensively, living elsewhere or study a particular subject. According to some, sabbaticals boost retention rates among senior employees, renew their energy, and enhance their creativity. This may be a paid or unpaid leave.
• Tuition assistance. If your employee wants to study a subject in school, you can offer to reimburse their tuition as a benefit. This can help you as an employer as well, especially when the new subject or skill can help with your business. Many businesses offer tuition assistance for language studies, especially when the customers are mostly immigrants. Advanced business programs can also make it easy for you to justify the promotion of certain employees.
Employee Benefits Specialist
Even before you try to set up a benefits package, you may want to get some help from a Cincinnati, OH insurance & employee benefits specialist. An employee benefits specialist or broker can help you pick the best employee benefits Cincinnati has to offer. Legacy Innovative Benefits Solutions, LLC. offers employee benefits services that can help you navigate through those potential minefields.
• Legal errors. Crucial benefits such as retirement plans and health insurance will be closely monitored by government organizations such as the IRS and the Department of Labor. Commit a legal error, and penalties may be imposed on your business. You may even lose tax credits retroactively.
The most common mistake is leaving some employees out of your benefits plan. It’s very common to overlook offering your benefits to your custodial and clerical staff. It can be a mistake to exclude part-timers too. One good rule to keep in mind is that, if a single employee receives a benefit with tax advantages (getting paid with pretax money) then every employee must have this benefit too.
• Costly mistakes. This type of mistake can get your business in a financial mess with your insurance company or even with your own employees. The most common errors here include absorbing the entire cost of the benefits without requiring employees to contribute money. So if you’re offering insurance, you should require at least a small co-pay amount from employees. Some who already have insurance may decline your offer, and that will save you money.
Another mistake is getting group rate coverage for your friends and family when the policy is for employees only. Mishandled paperwork is also very common, and this seemingly tiny mistake can lead to lawsuits later on.
All these reasons emphasize the need for a proper consultant to help you out. With an expert’s help, you can comply with the law and avoid penalties, and avoid mistakes that can derail the normal operations of your business. Offering a benefits package is supposed to help your business; it’s not supposed to make it more difficult for you to run your business efficiently.
Using an Employee Benefits Specialist
When you have several dozens of employees for your small business, it can be hard to keep track of how specific workers have used their benefits. It can also be a hassle for everyone if your people have to ask you about what benefits are available. It’s much more convenient if you just have a website featuring your employee benefits online. You can feature your list of benefits for employees to attract workers, and your current employees can log in to view their specific benefits information.
You may want to get the employee benefits services offered by our employee benefits specialist. These can help with employee benefits management so that the entire issue runs smoothly.
You may also want to make use of various small business employee benefit management services tools so you can see what kind of a return you’re getting from your current employee benefits program. How much are you spending for each type of benefit? How many people does each benefit help? Does this really help in making your employees more productive and motivated? Such questions may be answered with the right tools for employee benefits and health insurance management offered by our Cincinnati office.