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Government's involvement in and regulation of employee benefits

Please answer this questions. (Human Resources Questions)

First: Other than the mandates of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and a few other ineffectual reporting and disclosure requirements, benefit programs were practically unregulated by the federal government. Before the major shift that came with the enactment of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, which was primarily aimed at traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plans but applicable to other employer sponsored retirement and benefit programs.

a) What is the government's current role in regulating the administration of employee benefits?
b) Do you think there is too little or too much government intervention? Why?

1-There has been great concern expressed by many about the government's involvement in employee benefits. Is this appropriate in our capitalistic society? Or is the government taking control too far?

Second: There are certain benefits that are legislatively mandated and cannot be altered or dropped by an organization for any reason other than the organization is closing its doors for good! Social Security and Medicare, unemployment insurance, worker's compensation, COBRA and FMLA are all federal and state mandated programs.

a) What do you think determines the types of programs that the government chooses to make mandatory?

b) Do you feel these programs are efficient and effective? Why or why not?

Solution Preview

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS AND PROGRAMS

Other than the mandates of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and a few other reporting and disclosure requirements, benefit programs were practically unregulated by the federal government. Before the major shift that came with the enactment of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, which was primarily aimed at traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plans but applicable to other employer sponsored retirement and benefit programs.

a) What is the government's current role in regulating the administration of employee benefits?

The government does not mandate employers to put up plans in relation to employee benefits. Based on The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) which is administered by the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the provisions of Title I of ERISA cover most private sector employee benefit plans. Such plans are voluntarily established and maintained by an employer, an employee organization, or jointly by one or more such employers and an employee organization.
(http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/erisa.htm#who).

The role of the government only comes in when the said plans and programs have been established voluntarily by the organizations along the following:

1. ERISA sets uniform minimum standards to ensure that employee benefit plans are established and maintained in a fair and financially sound manner. In addition, employers have an obligation to provide promised benefits and satisfy ERISA's requirements for managing and administering private retirement and welfare plans.

2. EBSA, together with the Department of the Treasury's Internal Revenue Service (IRS), has the statutory and regulatory authority to ensure ...

Solution Summary

Government's involvement in and regulation of employee benefits are examined.

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