Employee Benefits Trends and Issues in Human Resources Essay

Running Head: ISSUES AND TRENDS IN HUMAN RESOURCES Issues and Trends in Human Resources Vivian Jones Belhaven University MSM 660 Instructor: Rickey Davis October 25, 2010 Abstract This paper will address some of the issues and trends in employee benefits. It will cover employee services, financial services, health care, workplace flexibility and non-financial compensation. “Employee benefits range dramatically between jobs and careers. Some jobs, such as those that pay minimum wage, do not provide employee benefits while others provide several benefits.

Great employee benefits include a health insurance plan, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance and a retirement fund. Beyond the basic benefits, some careers provide a bonus for good work, vacation time and other small benefits. While great benefits are ideal, there are sometimes issues that come with the benefits. ” (J, 2010) Employees receive a summary of the benefits provided by employees at the start of their work and an updated summary every few years while they work. The law requires a summary so that employees know the benefits they receive.

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The problem lies in the difficulty understanding the summary. Companies sometimes use technical terminology that makes it difficult to determine the exact benefits so the employees do not take advantage of the benefits. Providing whatever benefits can put you in a better competitive position to attract and retain seasonal employees. “A profit sharing plan could be adopted for all employees to share in the profit pool in proportion to their annual earnings relative to total earnings of all employees.

The profit pool could be some percentage as 10-20% as determined by management of the increase in pretax profits over the prior year. (Heatherfield, 2010) On March 23, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. A reconciliation bill was finalized March 26. The new health care law introduces a number of employer health plan changes that become effective Jan. 1 for calendar year plans. In this article, we will primarily address those issues that will affect employer plans in 2010 and 2011.

Many of the provisions of the PPACA will not go into effect until 2012 to 2014. The changes described below apply generally to both insured and self-insured plans, except for those marked with an asterisk that indicate that they are not applicable to “grandfathered plans” (i. e. , group plans or individual coverage in place as of March 23), according to current guidance. We expect that further guidance will be issued on grandfathered plans, including maintenance of grandfathered status. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, 2010) Seasonal tax associates who work part-time during the off-season providing client service and teaching an income tax school work enough hours to qualify for the company’s group health insurance plan. Group life and disability insurance and other benefits can be obtained through professional associations. Even if the employee pays the full premium, group rates tend to be lower than individual coverage. Provide eligible employees benefits of credit union membership.

Provide some paid time off for its associates to volunteer for company approved charitable activities such as providing free tax service for welfare-to-work program participants and residents of homeless and battered women shelters. Be creative. Little perks, like buying pizza for the staff of the office on the busiest days of the work week, help to make your employees appreciate their jobs. Be creative! “The federal health care reform law will have a substantial impact on employers. Here are the main issues that employers will want to be aware of:    1.

Keeping the same coverage Employers will be able to avoid some of the law’s requirements by keeping their coverage the same after the law’s effective date (March 23, 2010). Changes that must be made to all plans include: * Waiting periods for coverage must be less than 90 days;  * No lifetime benefit maximum limits; * Dependent coverage for adult children up to age 26; and * No annual limits on certain types of benefits (unless permitted by later-issued regulation). 2. New benefit and other plan changes

If an employer does not keep its coverage the same, employers will need to make additional changes such as:   * Extending 100 percent coverage for preventive care; * Removing any prior authorization requirement or increased cost-sharing for emergency * Services (regardless of whether the services are provided in or out of network); * No pre-existing limitation for children under age 19; and * Coverage of routine patient costs in clinical trials for life-threatening diseases. 3. FSA/HRA/HSA changes “The law also will require changes to these types of accounts.

In 2011, employees will no longer be able to receive pre-tax reimbursements from their FSA, HRA or HSA for non-prescribed over-the-counter medications, and the excise tax for nonqualified HSA withdrawals will increase from 10 percent to 20 percent. In 2013, employee contributions to FSAs will be capped at $2,500 annually, with the cap adjusted annually to the Consumer Price Index. 4. Employee notification of value of coverage and exchange information  Effective in 2011, employers will need to start reporting the value of the employer-sponsored coverage to employees on their W-2s.

And in March 2013, employers will need to begin notifying employees about state exchanges and the availability of premium subsidies and free choice vouchers, all of which will be available beginning in 2014. 5. Fees and penalties imposed on employer plans Under the law, employers will be subject to a number of fees and exposed to penalties for certain behaviors. Among them are the following:     * Effective in 2013, a fee will be assessed on employers with self-funded health plans to fund a comparative effectiveness research agency. For employers with fully insured health plans, the health insurer will be assessed the fee. ) In 2013, this fee will be $1 times the average number of lives covered under the plan; for 2014 to 2019, the fee will be $2 times the average number of covered lives. The fee will end on September 30, 2019. * Effective in 2014, if an employer has 50 or more full-time employees, and then the employer may be subject to penalties under the law if it provides either no health coverage to full-time employees, or provides coverage to full-time employees that are not affordable.

Penalties vary from $2,000 to $3,000 per employee. * Effective in 2018, a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost plans will be applied to plans costing more than $10,200 for individual coverage, or $27,500 for family coverage. 6. Employer administrative reporting duties The law will require employers to annually report to the IRS a number of pieces of data, including:   * Whether the employer offers minimum essential coverage to full-time employees; * Any waiting period for health coverage; The monthly premium for the lowest cost option in each enrollment category under the plan; * The employer’s share of the total allowed cost of benefits provided under the plan; * The number of full-time employees during each month; * The name, address and taxpayer identification number (or Social Security number) of each full-time employee, and the months each employee was covered under the employer’s plan, and * “Such other information as the [Health and Human Services (HHS)] Secretary may require. ” This requirement will likely be further refined in later regulations. . Changes to employee wellness programs * Effective in 2010, wellness programs may not require disclosure or collection of any information relating to the presence of firearms, and may not base premiums, discounts, rebates or rewards on the basis of firearm or ammunition ownership. * Effective in 2014, the law codifies the HIPAA nondiscrimination rules on wellness programs and increases the incentive cap of 20 percent of premium to 30 percent. The HHS Secretary has the discretion to increase the incentives cap to 50 percent. (Ransom, 2010) In conclusion the Bible teaches us that if we obeyed God, we have only done our duty and we should regard it as a privilege. Remember, obedience is not something extra we do; it is our duty. Jesus is not rendering our services as meaningless or useless, nor is he doing away with rewards. We should be grateful that we have a job and grateful that we have some benefits. “Luke 17:7-10, “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’?

Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done! ’

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