Wellness Program Compliance in the Workplace

midwestern logoHealth insurance providers often provide financial incentives for businesses to offer wellness programs. Therefore, in order to promote healthier lifestyles and receive benefits, it’s become more and more popular over the last few years for employers to implement these programs. While these programs are intended to encourage a healthier standard of living, they have recently come under fire by the EEOC for violating federal law. Therefore, a comprehensive Employment Practices Liability Insurance policy is a critical component for all businesses to mitigate risk and financial liability in the event of a lawsuit.

According to Inside Counsel, the EEOC issued a final rule on May 17 to amend the regulations, and the accompanying interpretive guidance, implementing Title I of the Americas with Disabilities Act for employer wellness programs. The EEOC also amended the regulations and interpretive guidance implementing Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. The final rule indicates that a spouse may be provided with limited incentive to give information about the other spouse’s health status as part of the wellness program. However, as the program is voluntary, the law indicates that only limited incentives can be offered to those who choose to answer health-related questions.

In order for the programs to be voluntary, the following must apply to the workplace wellness program:

  • It must be voluntary, not mandatory.
  • Health coverage must still be provided to those who opt out of participating in the wellness program.
  • No retaliation can be taken upon those employees who don’t wish to participate.
  • Employers must be diligent in notifying employees explicitly how their medical information will be handled.

About K2 Insurance Services

At K2 Insurance Services, LLC, we are dedicated to creating a leading underwriting and distribution franchise both in the standard and specialty program insurance markets. K2 was formed by two insurance industry veterans with the purpose of acquiring managing general agents and developing multi-line programs. Our goal is to distribute innovative products through retail and wholesale distribution channels. To learn more about our services and partners, please contact us today at (855) 976-8113 or visit K2INS.COM.

Hiring Freelancers: Employment Practices Liability?

midwestern logoAs the shift from a traditional 9-5 to a gig economy continues, it’s important to recognize how it impacts both employers and workers alike. With this change comes more Employment Practices Liability for the employer in terms of classifying the worker and paying them properly. As such, heed the following advice for ensuring compliance with hiring freelancers versus full-time employees.

Misclassifying employees affects all parties. Without being classified as a full-time employee, workers miss out on benefits including 401 k, health insurance, and vacation time while businesses can face penalties, fines, and even jail time for failing to classify their workers correctly. In fact, According to a report from SIA, a global staffing and workforce solutions advisor, more than one-third of midsize businesses have been fined or penalized for not complying with laws about how they manage their workforces.

However, classifying workers correctly continues to be a struggle. “Where worker classification is concerned, no hard-and-fast criteria exists, despite the fact that the Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board, IRS and a host of state labor-related agencies have their various interpretations,” said Jeff Wald, Work Market co-founder and president, in a telephone interview with Small Business Trends.

Therefore, it’s recommended that employers that hire freelancers take the compliance test to ensure they won’t get fined for improper employment practices. IRS 20-Factor can help to determine how much financial and behavioral control the employer holds over the worker, determining if they are actually an employee or a freelancer. Further, the Economic Reality Test will help to identify how reliant the worker is on a paycheck from the employer which will also indicate whether or not they are considered an independent contractor or not.

At K2 Insurance Services, LLC, we are dedicated to creating a leading underwriting and distribution franchise both in the standard and specialty program insurance markets. K2 was formed by two insurance industry veterans with the purpose of acquiring managing general agents and developing multi-line programs. Our goal is to distribute innovative products through retail and wholesale distribution channels. To learn more about our services and partners, please contact us today at (855) 976-8113 or visit K2INS.COM.

Preventing Employee Legal Concerns

Employers of all types are faced with a variety of risks on a daily basis. However, one that may not be considered too often is the potential for litigation over employee issues. Especially as our society is so litigious, there are certain precautions that employers need to take in order to reduce Employment Practices Liability claims. Therefore, employers need to heed the following advice and reduce their risk.

Comply with wage laws.

It’s imperative to categorize employees appropriately. This means that hourly and salary workers are paid in compliance with wage laws. Small Business Trends states that there are various criteria used when determining whether an employee is considered exempt or nonexempt:

  • Those earning less than $455 per week are nonexempt.
  • The basis test means that a salaried employee generally has a specific amount that they can count on each pay period.
  • The job duties test generally means that those with managerial duties and the ability to hire and fire are exempt employees.

There are more employee dispute lawsuits than ever before, with almost 9,000 last year alone. Therefore, employers should consult with a legal professional to ensure their pay structure is accurate and in compliance with the law.

Prevent discrimination.

While it may be a well-known fact that it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone due to race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or disability, there are some other factors that could lead to litigation for employers. For example, maternity leave policies, vacation pay, and sick policies all need to be in compliance with state law.

As such, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has a list of all the rules and regulations that must be implemented within any business. Once these are read and understood, employers are more likely to prevent discrimination, comply with the law, and reduce their chances of facing an employment practices liability lawsuit.

At K2 Insurance Services, LLC, we are dedicated to creating a leading underwriting and distribution franchise both in the standard and specialty program insurance markets. K2 was formed by two insurance industry veterans with the purpose of acquiring managing general agents and developing multi-line programs. Our goal is to distribute innovative products through retail and wholesale distribution channels. To learn more about our services and partners, please contact us today at (855) 976-8113 or visit K2INS.COM.