Human Resources and Benefits

Four Additional Benefits Your Staff Will Appreciate

office benefits
1. Wellness Program: With the rising costs of health care, both employers and employees can take responsibility for their own health by participating in a wellness plan.

2. Company Discounts: Although often overlooked, employee discount programs can be a very popular benefit to staff. This gives employees the chance to buy brand-name products or services at a discount.

 3. Education Plan: Today’s work force requires lifelong learning to keep pace with the changing demands of employment. You can consider varying levels of support, from paying the full tuition costs of an MBA program to a partial reimbursement or contribution to the cost of a community college course.

4. Commuter or Parking Benefits: Depending on employee commuting needs, you can consider covering the cost of a monthly city transit pass or paying an amount of pre-tax payroll dollars for vehicle parking.


Improve Your Benefits Program With These Tips:

  • Communicate Cost: Foster employee appreciation by making sure employees know the cost their employer incurs to offer benefits.
  • Don’t Foot the Entire Bill: Help keep costs down with an element of consumerism; require employees to share in the cost of benefits.
  • Offer Wanted Benefits: Employers may be offering costly benefits that are not used or needed by employees. Evaluate and remove unused benefits.
  • Accurate Paperwork: Although staff may be stretched thin, make sure HR duties are given to an employee with the time and knowledge to accurately handle benefits paperwork.


Cafeteria Plans

Cafeteria plans create a great opportunity for employers to enhance the benefits package they offer their employees.  In addition, they offer tax saving advantages for both the employer and employee.  Employees’ pretax contributions are not subject to federal, state, or social security taxes. Employers save on the employer portion of FICA, FUTA, SUTA, and workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Both parties save on taxes and therefore increase their spendable income. (The rules that define “taxable wages” may vary by state.)

Cafeteria plans include Health Savings Account (HSA), Premium Only Plans, and Flexible Spending Arrangements.  Below are brief explanations of cafeteria plan options.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Health Savings Accounts are available for individuals on certain high deductible health plans.  These accounts are funded by the employee or by the employer.  Similar to the FSA, Health Savings Account funds can be used to pay for certain medical expenses for eligible individuals and their spouses and/or tax dependents.

Premium Only Plan

The Premium Only Plan is an option that was created in an effort to make benefit programs more affordable for employees.  Under a Premium Only Plan, an employee may choose to pay for qualified benefit premiums with pre-tax dollars.  The qualified premiums (if offered by the employer) include:

  • Health
  • Accident
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Prescription
  • Cancer
  • Hospital indemnity
  • Medicare supplement
  • Disability (although not recommended)
  • Employee group term life (up to $50,000)
Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSA)

A Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), commonly known as a flexible spending account, allows an employee to set aside a portion of his or her earnings to pay for qualified expenses.  Qualified expenses can include medical and dependent care costs.  Two common types of FSAs include the Medical FSA and the Dependent Care FSA:

  • Medical FSA:  used to pay for medical expenses not paid for by insurance.  This typically includes deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance for the employee’s health plan, but it may also include expenses not covered by the health plan, such as dental and vision expenses.
  • Dependent Care FSA: can be established to pay dependent care expenses you incur while at work.  This includes child care for children under the age of 13 as well as adult day care for senior citizen dependents, such as parents.


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