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Strategic Considerations in Designing Employee Benefit Programs

Specialists engaged in developing and administering employee benefit plans face some strategic design questions at the outset:

  1. What is the competitive profile for the right functional benefits to be provided?
  2. What specific features should be provided within each provided program?
  3. Which class of employee should be covered under each program?
  4. The how, why, when, and what involved in financing these programs.
  5. What are the tax, accounting, recordkeeping, legal, auditing, risk-mitigation, and actuarial considerations of provided programs?
  6. How should the plans be administered?
  7. How should the plans be communicated?

Each of these questions is critical, and must be addressed. The purpose of this book is to assist with addressing questions 4, 5, and 6. The need for this strategic approach is accentuated for the following reasons:

  • Benefits are a major part of an employee’s total compensation package in most organizations; benefits have a distinct advantage in that they can be a tax-effective way of compensating employees.
  • Benefits can be a significant cost item for most organizations. In tight economic conditions, it becomes imperative that employee benefit costs are managed and controlled both strategically and effectively.
  • Employee benefits are continuously buffeted under changing tax or labor laws, as well as the regulatory climate. Because of this fluidity, it is important to take a strategic, systematic approach to employee benefits planning. A recent example of these phenomena comes to light by uncertainties created by the recently enacted PPACA. This law seems to demand that employers solve societal problems by way of their employee benefit plans.
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