Knowledgeable Virginia Employee Labor Lawyers
Employee benefits are significant aspects of one’s employment that impact both the employees and their families. As such, employee benefit plans become powerful tools in attracting and retaining qualified and competitive employees. The Virginia employee labor lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. feel it is important that employers understand the precise parameters outlined by federal and state law and ensure that their employee compensation plans meet those obligations. Additionally, a comprehensive understanding of other legal and tax implications will help employers offer a solid employee benefits plan that meets their established goals and reduces risk.
Certain employee benefits are required to be provided by law. Other benefits may be offered by employers as an option to compensate employees. In any event, both required and optional employee benefits have multiple legal and tax implications for the employer.
Prevailing law requires employers to provide social security and workers’ compensation benefits. In short, this means that every business with employees must pay social security taxes at the same rate paid by their employees and must carry adequate workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage to an employee injured on the job and can be through a private carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the state Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Although not required by law, as part of the overall compensation plan, many employers offer optional common leave benefits. These include leave benefits for holiday or vacation, personal time, jury duty, sick leave, and funeral or bereavement leave.
For example, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that applies to private employers with fifty or more employees and to all public employers. The FMLA entitles eligible employees to up to twelve weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave during any 12-month period for certain reasons including the birth and adoption of a child or the care of an immediate family member who has a serious health condition. Under the FMLA, an eligible employee’s group health benefits are to be maintained during the leave as if the employee had continued working.
Employers should also be very familiar with the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Savings Act (ERISA). This body of federal law applies to private employers (not government employers) that offer employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, pension and retirement plans, and other welfare benefit plans including life insurance or disability insurance. ERISA does not require employers to provide certain employee benefits, but it does set rules for benefits that an employer chooses to offer. Designed to protect employees, ERISA includes guidelines regarding reporting and accountability, disclosures, procedural safeguards, and sets minimum standards for participation, vesting, benefit accrual and funding.
Since the passing of the recent Affordable Care Act (often referred to as Obamacare), employers are facing new requirements regarding health insurance employee benefits. Due to the complexity of this law, it will be helpful to obtain the counsel of knowledgeable Virginia employee labor lawyers who have studied the nuances of the Affordable Care Act and can help employers understand and fulfill their obligations.
For a better understanding of employee benefits law and for guidance in creating a proper employee compensation plan, contact Gregory M. Johnson, an employee benefits attorney at MartinWren, P.C., at (434) 817-3100. Drawing from the firm’s broad range of expertise in tax, employment, and business law, the Virginia employee labor lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. can ensure that employers are meeting their legal obligations in a way that is wise for their business and financial futures.