Up until March 2010, the general rule was that an employer could change or even eliminate a health plan so long as it followed the rules and guidelines set out by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
However, under the new federal Health Care Reform Law passed in 2010, employers with at least 50 employees will be required to provide and keep health care coverage for its employees by 2014. They'll have to pay a penalty to the federal government if they don't do so.
There are two basic types of retirement plans:
Generally speaking, pension benefits, both vested and nonvested, must be shared as part of the property division in a divorce. For state government workers, state retirement system rules determine how pension dollars accrued during a marriage may be divided.
In dividing this asset a court may award the entire pension to the employee-spouse and order him to buy-out the other spouse's interest or share in the benefits. Alternatively, a court may divide the plan between the parties assigning each spouse a percentage to be paid out when the pension benefits are distributed, usually at retirement.
Any employee with a retirement plan who's also in a divorce should talk to an attorney about how retirement and pension benefits might be split.
Your employer is required to have an "interactive dialogue" or discussion with you to find a reasonable accommodation that won't place an undue hardship on the company but will allow you to perform the essential functions of the position. The key word is "interactive" with neither you nor the doctor dictating what the accommodation will be.
Not necessarily. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives certain former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage for up to 18 months. COBRA applies to companies with 20 or more employees.
You will have to pay for your own health coverage but you'll get the same discounted or "group rate" your former employer pays.
Also, keep in mind the new the federal Health Care Reform Law enacted in March 2010. Under this law, if you don't find a new job with employer-paid health care coverage, you'll have to buy your own insurance or else pay a penalty to the federal government.
And, an employer can't give time off for vacations and holidays to a particular group of employees. Rather, the benefit must be applied equally to everyone. The employer may, however, give different groups more or less time. For instance, part-time employees may get less vacation than full-time employees.
Generally, employers offer time off as a way to recruit and maintain a skilled workforce or to follow a union contract.
A: The laws in your state specify if unused vacation must be paid. Many states require employers to include any unused vacation pay you would've been entitled to in your last paycheck. Other states don't, however.
When an employer provides paid vacation, it can establish the rules for when you actually get that benefit. The rules may be stated in a policy or handbook. If not, courts may consider pay documentation and the employer's past practice to see whether the employer must pay unused vacation when you quit.
Up until March 2010, private employers weren't required to provide health. That all changed when the Health Care Reform Law was enacted. Generally, by 2014, employers must provide health care coverage to their employees. Private employers aren't required to offer or pay for life insurance, though.
Also, union contracts sometimes include provisions for insurance as part of the agreement with the company.
Most federal government employees must be given health insurance. Likewise, many states have laws requiring health benefits be given to state government employees. Hawaii requires all employees who work over 20 hours per week be given benefits.
In any event, many employers offer heath and other insurance, such as life insurance, as a way of attracting and keeping a workforce.
An employer isn't required to provide you with paid sick leave. However, many employers voluntarily offer it to attract and retain employees.
If your employer is subject to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you may receive unpaid sick leave. FMLA provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for certain medical situations for either the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family.
Your employer decides if it's FMLA time, not you. But if you feel the FMLA has been incorrectly applied, you should talk to your state Department of Labor or to an experienced attorney .
Also, your employer can require that you follow the rules of the plan, which may require you to fulfill a waiting period or wait for an open enrollment period before you may join the insurance plan.
Some of these rules may change, though, with the federal Health Care Reform Law enacted in March 2010. This law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide them with health care coverage by 2014. The law doesn't apply, specifically, to part-time workers, but under the law, they'll have to buy their own insurance. And if they don't, they'll have to pay a penalty to the federal government.
A 401(k) is a type of retirement savings plan. It allows employees to contribute part of their wages to an account with either pre-tax or after-tax dollars. If your contributions to the plan are pre-tax, you don't pay any tax until your contributions are withdrawn or paid to you when you retire. If your contributions are after-tax, you don't pay any tax when you withdraw your contributions after reaching retirement age.
If you're not sure about whether pre- or after-tax contributions are best for you, talk to your tax attorney or other financial advisor.
"Vesting" is the term used to define when the funds in your pension plan become yours to take, either upon termination or retirement from the company. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires an employee be at least 25 percent vested in benefits from employer contributions after 5 years of service. ERISA also requires an employee be 100% vested after 15 years of service.
Public employee - those who work for the federal or a state or local government - are covered by the FMLA no matter how many employees work for the employer.