|Nov 07 2019||
EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES FOR BENEFIT PLANS
By: John Morlock
Employee benefit plans can be a more important factor in retaining workers than compensation. This has always been true, but even more so today with so many regulatory changes. Especially when an employee has a family, having consistent coverage eliminates uncertainty. So as small businesses grow, they will usually start offering benefit plans to their employees. However, in doing so, they often do not realize the responsibilities and potential liabilities they are undertaking.
In 1974, Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, commonly known as ERISA. Despite its name, ERISA encompasses all employer sponsored benefit plans and establishes rules that must be followed to maintain compliance and, importantly, allow for the plan costs to be tax deductible. One such requirement is that all benefit plans must have at least one fiduciary who is responsible for the administration of the plan. The definition is very broad and an owner is a fiduciary just by the fact that they make the decision on whether to offer a benefit plan, regardless of whether they are involved in any aspect of the plan’s actual administration.
Whether a company offers a medical plan, dental plan or 401(k) retirement plan, fiduciaries are required to ensure that the plans are properly administered in compliance with ERISA and other government regulations. This includes the plan design, conducting annual enrollment meetings, payroll deductions, benefit payments, selecting investment options, annual reporting and a number of other administrative responsibilities. Failure to comply can result in significant penalties assessed against the company and in some instances against the fiduciaries personally.
The thought of these additional responsibilities on top of managing and growing their businesses can be overwhelming to some owners and deter them from offering benefits to their employees. Yet this could be a big mistake as previously mentioned employee benefit plans can be a significant factory in attracting and retaining workers. That is when they need to call Total Team Solutions. In addition to payroll and human resource advisory services, we specialize in benefit administration and not only offer large group plans that our small business clients can adopt into at significant cost savings, but also assume fiduciary responsibility for all aspects of the plans we administer.
So whether you currently offer employee benefits or are considering offering them for the first time, contact John Morlock at Total Team Solution and let the experts guide you through the process and ensure compliance with all of your fiduciary responsibilities. You can reach him at email@example.com or call him at 800-836-9678.
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