Category: Benefits

Navigating Multiple Leaves of Absence Requirements

Navigating the different types of leave available for employees can quickly get confusing. FMLA, ADA, Company Leave, FFCRA, PTO, STD, LTD – it’s a sea of acronyms, each with their own set of rules and guidelines that often overlap or weave together. Keeping track of the various types of leave available can be challenging, but employers would be best suited to strategize which leaves may be applicable to them and develop policies around them. Because employees will inevitably need to take time off, employers need to have a basic knowledge of laws and policies that protect both the employee and protect the company.

Types of Leave

Generally, when looking at the wide variety of time the employee can take off, employers should understand that there are two main functions of defining leave: How does the employee receive pay and How long must the employer hold the employee’s job and/or benefits? Both of these items are very clearly defined in the federal FMLA regulations applicable to employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. Outside of the standard FMLA, employers are encouraged to have a company leave policy which defines these same benefits.

Where FMLA protects the employee for not only their own health condition, but that of their immediate family member, the ADA may protect just the employee by providing a reasonable accommodation, which could include a short-term leave of absence. The ADA doesn’t require employers to hold the employee’s job or their benefits nor does it require continuation of pay. However, the employee may be eligible to use Short-Term or Long-Term Disability along with company Paid Time Off, Sick Time and or Vacation time during this absence.

Because these leaves can stack together, employers need to closely evaluate every situation to determine what different leave options may apply.

What to Do Now

Take a moment to review your current employee handbook to ensure that you have a clearly defined FMLA policy if applicable.  Even if you are subject to FMLA, all companies should also have a leave policy defined for those employees who are either not yet eligible for FMLA or where FMLA doesn’t apply.  In that company leave policy, the employer can define whether the leave is paid or unpaid and how long the employee is allowed to remain on the company benefit plan during leave.  Additionally, the employer can define how long they will hold the employee’s job during leave.  It is important to be consistent with these guidelines to prevent discriminatory practices.

Employee Benefits …”Can We Talk?”

Employee BenefitsThe late comedy legend Joan Rivers used the catchphrase “Can we talk?” in discussing various topics. She explained her use of the phrase, saying “I always try to be very honest. My humor is truly stripping everything. Bam!” she explained. She went on to describe her approach: “Let’s stop the nonsense.”

One area of Corporate America that could use a similar approach is the area of employee benefits. Insurance companies and consultants would like to talk trends, utilization, probabilities and the like. But what is missing from the conversation is the person. Not “employees,” but the individual person. How the person thinks, what he or she fears, how and what he or she will choose and why.

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Have You Considered a Self-Funded Approach?

Self-Funding for Health BenefitsSelf-funding has been used as a tool to maintain the cost of health-related employee benefits for many years.

Historically, this approach has been utilized by groups of 100 or more employees.

However, due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a new market is being created for smaller groups allowing them to take advantage of self-funding health care plans to save money and gain control over costs. As an employee benefits administration company, we’re here to help you understand the different approaches to health care.

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How to Launch a Wellness Program

How to Launch a Wellness Program

Approximately, 80% of the US population is in the workforce or linked through family relationships/retirement putting employers in a key role for health and wellness issues. People spend the majority of their week at the workplace, making the worksite and excellent place to conduct a wellness program. Launching a worksite wellness program doesn’t always mean spending large amounts of money by installing fitness facilities and hiring an on-site wellness coach. However, in order to launch a successful wellness program there are some key steps and planning required. Read More