Benefits

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Software Flaw Lets Employers Offer Health Plans Without Hospital Benefits

obamacare calculator 300

A flaw in the federal calculator for certifying that insurance meets the health law’s toughest standard is leading dozens of large employers to offer plans that lack basic benefits such as hospitalization coverage, according to brokers and consultants.

The calculator appears to allow companies enrolling workers for 2015 to offer inexpensive, substandard medical insurance while avoiding the Affordable Care Act’s penalties, consumer advocates say.

Insurance pros are also surprised such plans are permitted. Read more…

Benefits, HR News & Trends

Premiums For Job-Based Health Insurance Rose 3% This Year

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Premiums for job-based insurance rose modestly for the third consecutive year, reflecting slowed spending, even as key elements of the federal health care law went into effect.

Family premiums rose 3 percent in 2014, one of the lowest increases tracked since the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust began surveying employers in 1999. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)

Nonetheless, the cost of the average family plan rose to $16,834 annually, according to the survey of more than 2,000 employers nationwide. Read more…

Compensation, Talent Management

Pay and Performance, or What Withholding an Increase Can Do

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More pay might not change behavior, but withholding an increase sometimes will.

“That’s the last straw! I’m going to fire him,” said the irate mayor as he hung up the phone after mollifying a furious resident.

His city’s veteran long-service street superintendent had once again rudely blown off another citizen with a legitimate gripe. The mayor was tired of cleaning up such messes and being forced to calm down upset voters antagonized by the impolite official. Read more…

Compensation, HR Insights

Should You “Out” Employees and Make Public What They’re Paid?

Transparency

In a few weeks, I am going to talk with a local compensation association about pay transparency.

As I’ve been writing over the last few months, I think there’s a cultural shift underway, with pressure building from various angles to “out” employee pay.

It’s natural that employers in Silicon Valley are feeling the most pressure. Many of its company cultures strive to live up to open communications standards like “don’t be evil.” The rest scramble to lure talent away from these companies, even though their own devotion to core values is not as obvious to employees. Read more…

Benefits, Talent Management

Why Can’t We Get Past Our Great Vacation Evasion?

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As we all get back into the swing of work after the long Labor Day weekend, it’s worth noting that Americans aren’t the biggest fans of taking vacations.

Our labor-intensive society has made us one of the richest economies in the world, but unlike our similar rich neighbors, America gives its workers no guarantees for things like vacation time, paternity leave, or sick leave.

It’s turning us into what The Today Show dubbed a “No Vacation Nation.” Read more…

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

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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…