Benefits

Benefits, HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

For the First Time, EEOC Directly Challenges a Workplace Wellness Program

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By Russell D. Chapman

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed its first lawsuit directly challenging the operation of a wellness program.

In EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, the EEOC alleged that the employer imposed a wellness program on its employees in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the complaint filed Aug. 20, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the EEOC claims that the defendant, Orion Energy Systems, administered a wellness program in which employees were asked to complete a health risk assessment, which included questions regarding medical history and blood work. Read more…

Benefits, Legal Issues

What Employers Should Know About the Americans With Disabilities Act

ADA

By Sandra S. Moran

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s efforts to enforce the 2008 American with Disabilities Amendments Act have certainly not waned as it continues to challenge leave policies.

Armed with a recent $1.35 million settlement to dismiss a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC (EEOC v. Princeton Healthcare System), employers should evaluate their policies and procedures regarding leave to ensure they comply with the ADA.

This is especially true for health care providers, as the EEOC has shown less tolerance for ADA violations in the health care sector given the fact that they expect health professionals to be particularly understanding of those with disabilities. Read more…

Compensation, Rewards & Recognition

The Problem When Managers Get Too Fond of Discretionary Rewards

© Dawn Hudson - Fotolia.com

Ah, management discretion.

Leaders often have a great fondness for discretionary rewards, particularly in bonus and incentive plans.

And why not? Discretionary rewards keep all the power and control with them. Wild card in hand, they are free until the moment the reward decision is made to do whatever feels right, based on their personal judgment call. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

California Repeals 60-Day Waiting Period on Health Insurance

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By Sara Richland

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a “waiting period” is defined as the period that must pass before coverage for an individual who is otherwise eligible to enroll under the terms of a group health plan can become effective.

The ACA prohibits group health plans and group health insurance issuers from imposing a waiting period that exceeds 90 days after an employee is otherwise eligible for health coverage.

Generally, an individual is “eligible” to enroll in a health plan if he or she has met the plan’s substantive eligibility conditions, such as being in an eligible job classification, earning a certain level of commission, or satisfying a reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period. Read more…

Compensation, Rewards & Recognition

Retention and Reward: Struggling With the Consequences

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Employee retention is a double-edged sword.

According to Merriam Webster, in addition to being a sword with two sharp edges, this is defined as something that can have both favorable and unfavorable consequences.

That’s about right. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Some 16% of Large Employers Plan to Still Offer “Skinny” Health Plans

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Nearly one company in six in a new survey from a major employer group plans to offer health coverage that doesn’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for value and affordability.

Many thought such low-benefit “skinny plans” would be history once the health law was fully implemented this year. Instead, 16 percent of large employers in a survey released Aug. 13 by the National Business Group on Health said they will offer in 2015 lower-benefit coverage along with at least one health plan that does qualify under ACA standards.

The results weren’t unexpected by benefits pros, who realized last year that ACA regulations would allow skinny plans and even make them attractive for some employers. But the new survey gives one of the first looks at how many companies will follow through and offer them. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

New Obamacare Wrinkle: Some Employees Get Automatically Enrolled

Health care reform has been a key initiative of President Obama's administration.

Newly hired employees who don’t sign up for health insurance on the job could have it done for them under an Affordable Care Act provision that may take effect as early as next year.

But the controversial provision is raising questions:

Does automatic enrollment help employees help themselves, or does it force them into coverage they don’t want and may not need? A group of employers, many of them retail and hospitality businesses, want the provisions repealed, but some experts say the practice has advantages and is consistent with the aims of the health law. Read more…

Benefits, HR Basics

Benefits Communication: Why It Matters Now More Than Ever

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It’s a wait-and-see year for employers, in part driven by the seemingly endless legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act.

But health care is big this year, like it’s been every other year in recent memory.

Whether or not you believe ACA successfully or unsuccessfully reformed the structure of health insurance in America, you’ll agree costs are still an issue. Cheryl DeMars of The Alliance succinctly said, “The work of bending the cost curve is largely the business of physicians and hospitals, employers and consumers — not regulators.” Read more…

Benefits, HR Basics

HR 101: How to Develop a Successful Sick Leave Policy

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One of the many policies human resource departments develop and implement involve employee sick leave.

Paid sick days are usually offered by an organization as part of their benefits package.

  • In some companies, employees are given an allotment of days to use throughout the year.
  • There are other businesses where paid sick days are accrued over the course of the year and can vary based on years of service. Read more…