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Integrated Insurance Management, LLC

Insurance and Risk Management


 
A Ridgeview Family Company
 

Employee Benefits Basics

Disclosure: Each Person and Insurance policy is unique and the following is general information, please contact us for more specifics related to your policy and situation

Employee benefits in the United States include relocation assistance; medical, prescription, vision and dental plans; health and dependent care flexible spending accounts; retirement benefit plans (pension, 401(k), 403(b)); group-term life and long term care insurance plans; legal assistance plans; adoption assistance; child care benefits and transportation benefits; Paid time off (PTO) in the form of vacation and sick pay. Benefits may also include formal or informal employee discount programs that grant workers access to specialized offerings from local and regional vendors (like movies and theme park tickets, wellness programs, discounted shopping, hotels and resorts, and so on).

Companies that offer these types of work-life perks seek to raise employee satisfaction, corporate loyalty, and worker retention by providing valuable benefits that go beyond a base salary figure.  Fringe benefits are also thought of as the costs of retaining employees other than base salary.  The term "fringe benefits" was coined by the War Labor Board during World War II to describe the various indirect benefits which industry had devised to attract and retain labor when direct wage increases were prohibited.

Some fringe benefits (for example, accident and health plans, and group-term life insurance coverage up to US$50,000) may be excluded from the employee's gross income and, therefore, are not subject to federal income tax in the United States. Some function as tax shelters (for example, flexible spending, 401(k), or 403(b) accounts). These benefit rates often change from year to year and are typically calculated using fixed percentages that vary depending on the employee’s classification.

Normally, employer-provided benefits are tax-deductible to the employer and non-taxable to the employee. The exception to the general rule includes certain executive benefits (e.g. golden handshake and golden parachute plans) or those that exceed federal or state tax-exemption standards.

American corporations may also offer cafeteria plans to their employees. These plans offer a menu and level of benefits for employees to choose from. In most instances, these plans are funded by both the employees and by the employer(s). The portion paid by employees is deducted from their gross pay before federal and state taxes are applied. Some benefits would still be subject to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA), such as 401(k) and 403(b) contributions; however, health premiums, some life premiums, and contributions to flexible spending accounts are exempt from FICA.