Newsletter from Integrated Benefit Solutions
DOL Increases Civil Penalty Amounts for 2021
The Department of Labor (DOL) has released
its 2021 inflation-adjusted civil monetary penalties that may be
assessed on employers for violations of a wide range of federal
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA);
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); and
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).
To maintain their deterrent effect, the DOL is
required to adjust these penalties for inflation, no later than
Jan. 15 of each year. Key penalty increases include the
maximum penalty for violations of federal minimum wage or
overtime requirements increases from $2,050 to $2,074 per
maximum penalty for failing to file a Form 5500 for an
employee benefit plan increases from $2,233 to $2,259 per
maximum penalty for violations of the poster requirement
under the FMLA increases from $176 to $178 per offense.
Employers should become familiar with the new penalty amounts and
review their pay practices, benefit plan administration and
safety protocols to ensure compliance with federal requirements.
5 Steps for Year-round Benefits Engagement
Open enrollment is something you probably only
think about a few times a year. For employees, it might be even
less often. And that’s unfortunate
because that means employees may not be maximizing their
benefits. That’s why it’s important to
touch on benefits throughout the year—to ensure employees are
making the most of them.
This article offers five steps for providing employees with
thoughtful, year-round benefits engagement.
1. Have a
Goal in Mind
It’s no good to send random
communications to employees. Your benefits communications should
be informed by a clear goal. For instance, your goal may be to
reduce employee questions during open enrollment. From there, you
could survey employees to figure out their top questions to
ensure you hit the right marks.
As you communicate throughout the year, don’t
lose sight of your goal. You’ll want to
make sure each message is relevant to both your main objective
and to employees’ interests or benefits options. With your
communications, employees will immediately want to know “what’s
in it for me,” so be sure to stay on topic.
3. Aim for
All your messaging should get straight to the point. Employees
can get tired of seeing the same information over and over. If
your communications go on and on, employees will be disinterested
even faster. The basic message formula should be:
- The pitch:
“Here’s something you may not know about your benefits.”
- The why:
“This is why it’s important to you.”
- Call to action: “Here’s
what you should do to learn more about this information.”
If you find that a communication has multiple
versions of these elements, that may be a sign that it’s too lengthy.
4. Change Up
Not everyone retains information in the same way. So instead of
sticking to one medium, be sure to vary your communication
methods. This could mean mailing print flyers, sending mass
emails, posting videos on an intranet site
and tacking up posters. The idea is to get your message out
through every channel available.
5. Set Up a
Having communications that are goal-oriented, relevant, punchy
and multichanneled is great, but you
must also know when to send them. Consider setting up a
communication calendar to help. Think about important dates, and
schedule messaging for those instances. At the very least, having
a calendar will help you space out communications to reduce
Financial Planning Assistance During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is not only challenging the
way Americans live on a daily basis, but
also posing significant economic threats that could have a
lasting effect on their financial well-being. Furthermore,
studies suggest that financial worries can affect employees’
health and productivity. That’s why the
majority of employers believe they must help address these issues
before they worsen.
Amid the pandemic, more employers than before feel responsible
for helping improve employees’ financial well-being and reduce
their stress. According to a recent Bank of America survey, 62%
of employers feel "extremely" responsible for their
employees' financial well-being, compared with 13% in 2013.
Employers can choose to provide financial planning assistance in a number of ways, through HR, financial
advisors or other third-parties. Assistance may include budget
counseling, educational resources, and student loan paybacks and
purchasing programs—anything that helps reduce employees’
financial anxieties. Employers should consider surveying employees
to pinpoint what programs or resources would be most impactful
Easing the financial worries of employees has many positive
benefits. By helping employees with a major source of stress,
employers can improve morale, productivity
and overall employee well-being. Employers should review their
current financial assistance offerings to ensure they can satisfy
the evolving needs of their workers.
5 Must-Do's for Employee Orientation
Employee orientation is an important piece of HR and
employee management. A formal orientation is essential to setting
a new hire up for success and helping your company maintain the
corporate image and values you portrayed during the interview
process. Employee orientation can also be designed for current
staffers who are being promoted to a new position within the
company and need a similar type of program. Learn the must-do's
for employee orientation in the video below.