While every employee working for you is entitled to a salary and overtime, there may be additional benefits you need to offer. These benefits are great for retaining high-quality workers, and they can also attract better talent to your organization. Some of the benefits you may choose to offer include retirement plans, health insurance, medical and family leave, domestic partner benefits and childcare assistance. With any of these, there will obviously be a few things to sort out first, so make sure to get everything squared away so that you will be ready to answer any employees’ questions regarding employment benefits.
1. Question: What Information Does an Employer Have to Give a Worker Upon Hiring?
Your job listing will likely contain information related to what benefits are entailed with a particular position. At first, you may just briefly state that the person will get health insurance, including dental, vision and medical, as well as vacation time or a pension plan. Once an individual actually gets the job, he or she will likely want to know more about the fine print of these perks. For example, will health insurance be comprehensive or are there some pretty severe limitations? This kind of information could influence whether someone will continue working for you.
After an employee joins a group health insurance policy, he or she must receive a summary of the plan within 90 days. This summary should explain everything about how the health plan works. You may also get employees who specifically request to receive a handbook detailing all of the benefits that currently come or eventually will come with the position. You will need to provide this information when requested.
2. Question: Do Benefits Have to Start on an Employee’s First Day?
Not every benefit has to begin on a worker’s first day at a new job. However, some benefits are required by law to begin right away. For instance, Medicare and Social Security contributions need to begin immediately. However, other benefits such as retirement options and health insurance can begin further down the line. Some employers may choose to offer health insurance once an employee has been working for the company for at least 30 days or some other length of time.
Additionally, not every employee necessarily has to receive the same benefits. Health insurance may be something that business owners only offer to full-time employees, so part-time workers would be ineligible. The same perks can be applied to vacation time and pension plans.
3. Question: Can Benefits Be Different From One Employee to the Next?
This question can get a little tricky. Generally speaking, you can offer different benefits to different groups of workers. As mentioned above, full-time employees can be eligible to certain benefits that are not open to part-time employees. However, if you are going to segment benefits like this, then you need to be certain that everyone within the group receives the perk. If your company has a policy to offer health insurance to full-time workers and one of your full-time employees is not receiving health insurance, then that would be against the law.
However, you can offer benefits to groups within those groups. One example would be offering three weeks of paid vacation per year for full-time employees who have worked with you for less than two years. Full-time employees who have worked with you for more than two years can then earn four weeks of paid vacation a year. As long as you are consistent with each group and subgroup, you will likely remain on the right side of the law, but you should check with federal and state laws concerning the matter.
Your company should have rules in place for how benefits are distributed. These rules will come in handy if an employee approaches you with questions or concerns about the policy.
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