Category: Benefits

From 401(k) plans to vacation policy, this topic gives HR and Compensation professionals specific strategies on how to handle benefit plans. Articles also provide guidance to brokers, advisers and consultants.

Resuscitate COBRA Premium Subsidies to Help Unemployed, Commonwealth Fund Says

In the waning days of the COBRA premium subsidy, The Commonwealth Fund is calling for the program to be resuscitated as a way to help unemployed and uninsured workers until health care reform is fully implemented. In an Aug. 24 issue brief,  the Fund noted that “the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression has […]

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Make Smart Post-Recession, Performance-Based, Pay Decisions

How can you make smart decisions on pay budgets, merit budgets, and overall compensation given the economic turmoil of the last few years? Consultant David Wudyka tells us what’s going on and what we can do about it. Wudyka is founder and managing principal of Westminster Associates, a Wrentham, MA based, full-service HR and compensation […]

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When Handing Out Severance Pay, Don’t Forget Employees on Leave

If an employer grants severance pay to laid-off employees, it must also pay those who were on leave for disabilities at the time of the layoff. A California auto plant failed to do so and has now agreed to pay into a $6 million settlement fund (along with Toyota) to settle an Americans With Disabilities Act […]

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Be Aware: IRS Eyes Join DOL’s on Your Form 5500

If you file the Form 5500, you know what an odious exercise that can be. And you’d better get it right. Not only is the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) examining the form you file — so is the IRS. The DOL wants the forms to be complete and accurate, of course, […]

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Verizon Strike Raises COBRA Coverage Issues

I often feel like raising a picket sign when I look at my phone bill, but that’s another story — right now, I just want to use the news of the Verizon strike to remind you of its COBRA continuation coverage implications. As has been widely reported, approximately 45,000 unionized Verizon workers went on strike […]

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Successor Company May Be Liable for Benefits Claim on Predecessor Plan

In this time of corporate restructuring, successor liability in relation to ERISA benefit plans is something to plan carefully in all of its dimensions before complicated, expensive claims take you by surprise. A case involving a top-hat deferred compensation plan — in which a federal court denied a successor employer’s motion to dismiss it from […]

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Fed Agencies Packing in More PPACA Health Reform Rules

When it comes to implementing health reform, the federal government agencies definitely are not taking a summer vacation. Just this week, new rules on communicating health plan information to consumers, health insurance exchanges and premium tax credits have been issued. Here’s a quick list: 1. Communicating health plan information. The U.S. Departments of Labor, Health […]

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Can Benefits Bills Distract Congress from Debt Acrimony?

This summer, the U.S. House and Senate took a break from its floundering over debt and deficits to consider a few measures affecting employee benefits. Perhaps it was refreshing, spending at least a little time thinking about something else. Let’s take a look at the latest House and Senate bills that could affect employee benefits. […]

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Beware the Undead: ERISA Equitable Relief Ruling Brings Cases Back from the Grave

A landmark Supreme Court ruling on relief available under ERISA in employee benefit cases is bringing cases back to life that we thought were dead and gone. In CIGNA v. Amara, the U.S. Supreme Court on May 16 ruled that ERISA’s enforcement provision allowing for “appropriate equitable relief” — ERISA Section 1132(a)(3) — aka Section […]

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Flex—‘Nice-to-Have’ or Business Imperative?

At World at Work’s Total Rewards conference held recently in San Diego, sessions on flextime were eagerly attended. Burrus shared her tips for developing a flex program that supports the business while at the same time pleasing employees. Burrus is the Workplace Flexibility Practice Leader at Waltham, Mass.-based WFD Consulting. She offers six stages of […]

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