PLANNING YOUR OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR SUCCESS

Better Benefits Attract and Retain Talent

A high-quality employee benefits package is one of the best tools in your arsenal to attract the right talent, enhance employee engagement, and retain your most valuable employees. According to a 2018 Harris Poll/Glassdoor survey nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. workers cited attractive company benefits and perks as key factors in their likelihood to apply for a job, and other surveys have found that excellent benefits play a role in retaining employees.

Employees today expect their employers to be creative, consider employee needs, make benefits easy to use, and offer them choices to help manage their lifestyles. Besides health insurance, benefits protecting their incomes, such as disability insurance, financial planning, and retirement savings plans are important. In addition, consider that employees are tech savvy and expect to have online tools and calculators, along with complete communications, to assist them in making decisions regarding their benefit options.

5 Steps for Success

To prepare for this year’s open enrollment, focus your efforts on designing the best benefits and communications program. Make the most of marketing your benefits programs to your employees by:

  1. Reviewing workforce demographics and benefits usage to get a better understanding of employees’ stages in the lifecycle. Knowing your audience and targeting benefits communications to meet those lifecycle needs makes the benefits more personal and relevant. Employees with young families, older workers preparing for retirement, empty nesters, and young singles all have distinctly different benefits needs and interests.
  2. Packaging benefits by target group with messaging that speaks to each group’s needs while consistently reinforcing the overall benefits strategy and company branding in the messaging. Different communications delivery systems may also be important to different employee groups.
  3. Starting the messaging with why the benefits are structured as they are and what the company’s overall benefits strategy is designed to accomplish. Don’t sugarcoat any bad news about changes in the benefits program. Employees will see through it and resent attempts to hide changes that may be perceived as negative. This is a good time to highlight the important value of their benefits programs, promote wellness, encourage retirement savings, and encourage cost-effective usage of benefits programs.
  4. Keeping the messaging straightforward. Provide clear information, checklists, and decision support tools that are easy to follow. Have the details available but keep the key messages and “what you need to do for enrollment” information central to the enrollment materials.
  5. Bringing company managers and supervisors into the discussions prior to launch. Give them a heads up regarding the upcoming benefits changes and enlist their help in the process.

4 More Things to Consider

The next step is to tackle the “how” of the benefits communications and enrollment program, including:

  1. Communications delivery methods. Electronic communications? Mobile apps? Webinars? In-person company meetings? Text messages? Packages mailed to home addresses to involve the family? Use of social media? Intranet messaging? Gaming techniques? Frequent emails or instant messaging? Live hotline for questions and concerns? Combination of all methods?
  2. Enrollment methods. Online? Manual? Mobile? Make it as administratively simple as possible for both employees and the benefits administration staff. Use electronic tools if the budget allows.
  3. Timing. Establish a timeline working backwards from the date that the information must be completed with the carriers and other benefits providers. Then work forward to deliver the communications program.
  4. Frequency. Employees need time to consider their options and allow the information to soak in. Consider sending employee prompts and reminders so that the enrollment process is completed in a timely manner.

The annual open enrollment communications opportunity is precious — you can influence how employees see benefits or cost changes, motivate employees to change their health or savings habits, and let employees know that management is listening, considering their feedback valuable, and responding to their needs.

We Can Help

Archway Benefits can be an invaluable resource for help understanding the ever-changing benefits landscape and communicating your offerings to your employees. Contact us today! 408-454-7014 or at jmckenzie@archwayinsurance.com.

Compliance Poster Update

We want to ensure you stay compliant! Here is information through CalChamber and an easy link to their 2019 all-in-one poster. This includes mandatory updates to the California Minimum Wage notice, the EDD Notice to Employees, and the DFEH Discrimination and Harassment notice.
Since January 1, 2019, all employers, regardless of size, should be displaying this updated poster in the workplace.
April 1 Mandatory Poster Update: 
Changes were approved to the CFRA notice, (now called the Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave notice), adding information about the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA). Effective April 1, 2019, this is a new posting requirement for California employers covered by the NPLA (20 to 49 employees) and an updated posting requirement for those covered by CFRA (50 or more employees).
CalChamber’s 2019 California and Federal Labor Law poster includes these mandatory updates. Click here to purchase your copy today.
Don’t risk noncompliance and steep penalties for not informing employees of their current rights in the workplace.
DESCRIPTION
CalChamber’s convenient 28″ x 46″ all-in-one poster contains the 18 state and federal employment notices every California employer must post—even if you only employ one person in California.
Be sure to display a poster in each business location where employees can easily see it and read it. You’ll need both English and Spanish poster versions if you have Spanish-speaking employees.
Remember, you must separately post the Wage Order(s) specific to your industry. New postings are required for January 1, 2019. Use their free  Wage Order Wizard to identify which of the 17 industry Wage Orders you need.

New Parent Leave Act

Overview of the Parental Leave Act

California’s new Parental Leave Act (PLA) provides up to 12 weeks of leave for new parents. This includes parents who have given birth to a child and parents who have had a child placed with them through foster care or adoption.

It does not offer medical leave so employees that are covered under the new act cannot take time for their own medical needs nor for a family member’s needs. Covered employees can use the leave within the first 12 months after becoming new parents.

Employers must provide employees with a guarantee of the same or similar job upon the employee’s return before the employee starts the leave. If the employer doesn’t provide this guarantee, then the employer is considered to have denied leave to the employee.

In addition, employers must provide group health insurance coverage for the 12 weeks that employees are on leave. Employers can only recover the cost of the health insurance premiums if the employee fails to return to work after the leave as long as the employee did not return due to a serious health condition.

If the employee fails to return to work due to a serious health condition or the employee does return to work, then the cost of the premiums must be born by the employer.

Employees Covered Under the Parental Leave Act

The act covers any employer who has at least 20 employees in a 75-mile radius. CFRA covers any employer who has 50 or more employees and does not include 75-mile radius requirements.

Employees who work at qualified employers must have worked at their employers for the previous 12 months. Further, employees must have worked at least 1,250 hours with their employers during that time frame.

In addition, the State of California, all cities and all subdivisions of the state or city governments fall under the act.

Differences between the Parental Leave Act and the Existing Family Right Act

The Parental Leave Act expands coverage under the Family Rights Act. While the Family Rights act covers employers of 50 or more, the Parental Leave Act covers employers with 20-49 employees.

Furthermore, the CFRA covers leave for medical or serious health conditions of the employee and the employee’s family. CFRA expands the coverage of the Federal FMLA, which covers employers with at least 50 employers in a 75-mile radius. CFRA also provides expanded coverage for family members above what FMLA provides.

In contrast to CFRA, California Pregnancy Disability Leave provides up to 4 weeks of paid leave for employees who are disabled due to pregnancy, including birth.

The new act does not specifically address whether Pregnancy Disability Leave should be taken concurrently with New Parental Leave or consecutively.

Getting Paid While on Leave

California Parental Leave Act isn’t a paid leave. However, California offers required paid sick leave for employees which provides up to 48 hours a year of paid time off.

The act allowed employees to use other paid time off or employer paid time during the Parental Leave.

Further, female employees can be paid for the first 4 weeks of Parental Leave through California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave which provides 4 weeks of paid leave due to a disability caused by pregnancy.

Resource for Harassment Training Requirement

Employers with 5+ employees (effective January 1, 2019):

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, with new anti-harassment laws being passed in several states, we know that evaluating Sexual Harassment Training is at the forefront of many of your agendas. We are happy to assist by recommending Traliant, our provider of choice.

Traliant is the online compliance training partner of 1,500+ clients, including the US Congress Office of Compliance (OOC), Hilton Worldwide, and LA Fitness, so you’ll be in good company.

We selected Traliant because of their innovative approach to online compliance training, which covers important topics such as Preventing Discrimination and Harassment in a modern, engaging format. Unlike dated training videos you may have seen in the past, Traliant releases a new season every year with bite-sized episodes to cover current issues and keep their content fresh and engaging. Their industry-leading online training courses are accompanied by an easy to use LMS to manage your employees’ learning. Every training program comes with options to customize, by adding your logo, contact information, policies, and even images or employee Q & A’s.

For our California clients we recommend Traliant’s newly released California Edition of Preventing Discrimination and Harassment which complies with all the training requirements under California’s new workplace laws, enforced by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The web-based, interactive training is available in two versions: a one-hour (60 min.) course for employees, and a two-hour (120 min.) course for managers and supervisors.

This comprehensive course includes information and practical guidance on the federal and California state anti-harassment laws, and covers all the required topics and more, including sexual harassment and abusive conduct, preventing harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, discrimination, retaliation, bystander intervention, diversity and inclusion and workplace civility.

On August 1st Traliant will be launching a self-service site so you can quickly and easily purchase training. In the meantime, all purchases can be made through Traliant, honoring the pricing below.

Archway Benefit’s Partnership with Traliant Oers the Best Pricing for our Clients

Preventing Discrimination and Harassment training is just $14 per license (employee that needs to be trained)

  • Simple, easy flat pricing: $14 per license (manager or employee course same price)
  • Automated self-implementation process with Traliant logo/policy
  • Easy access and visibility to training reports
  • Upgrade options:
    • Add your logo and policy: $45 one-time fee
    • Spanish translation: $50 one-time fee (not related to the number of employees)

If you would like to make a purchase now or for more information, please reach out to Jory Aquino at jory.aquino@traliant.com.

Let Traliant take your compliance training from Boring to Brilliant!

New CA Requirements for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

The state of California currently requires mandatory sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training for supervisors working for employers with 50 or more employees. California-based supervisors must be trained every two years. New supervisors must be trained within six months of assuming the position.

2020 Training Requirements
By January 1, 2020, all employees working for employers with five or more employees will need to be trained. Supervisors must receive two hours of training once every two years, while non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of training once every two years.

What Kind of Training Must Employers Provide?
Employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training in a classroom setting, through interactive E-learning, or through a live webinar. E-learning training must provide instructions on how to contact a trainer who can answer questions within two business days.

Any training must explain:

  • The definition of sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • The statutes and case-law on prohibiting and preventing sexual harassment;
  • The types of conduct that can be sexual harassment;
  • That harassment may be based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation;
  • The remedies available for victims of sexual harassment;
  • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment;
  • Supervisors’ obligation to report harassment;
  • Practical examples of harassment;
  • The limited confidentiality of the complaint process;
  • Resources for victims of sexual harassment, including to whom they should report it;
  • How employers must correct harassing behavior;
  • What to do if the supervisor is personally accused of harassment;
  • The elements of an effective anti-harassment policy and how to use it;
  • “Abusive conduct” under Government Code section 12950.1, subdivision (g)(2).

Finally, any training must include questions that assess learning, skill-building activities to assess understanding and application of content, and hypothetical scenarios about harassment with discussion questions.

Who Can Provide The Training?
There are three types of qualified trainers:

  1. Attorneys who have been members of the bar of any state for at least two years and whose practice includes employment law under the Fair Employment and Housing Act or Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  2. Human resource professionals or harassment prevention consultants with at least two years of practical experience in one or more of the following areas: designing or conducting training on discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention; responding to sexual harassment or other discrimination complaints; investigating sexual harassment complaints; or advising employers or employees about discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment prevention; or
  3. Law school, college, or university instructors with a post-graduate degree or California teaching credential and either 20 hours of instruction about employment law under the FEHA or Title VII.

Neither DFEH nor any other state agency issues licenses or certificates validating a person’s qualifications to teach sexual harassment prevention training classes.

What About Seasonal and Temporary Employees?
Beginning January 1, 2020, employers must provide training for seasonal and temporary employees, as well as any employee that is hired to work for less than six months, within 30 calendar days of hire or within their 100 hours worked, whichever comes first. Temporary services employers are responsible for training their employees.