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Employee Benefits: Issues that Employees Are Looking for

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Employee benefits are becoming a major part of what employees are looking for from their companies. Even though employee benefits might not make person take the job just because of that, they should have major influence over someone’s decision making process when thinking about accepting a job offer. “Flexible scheduling, paid time off, and child care were singled out as key programs that impress job candidates” (Business News).

Benefits also can be a way to motivate employees into better enjoying their jobs. More enjoyment and motivation for employees means more profit for employer because those employees then produce on higher rate. Considering all that, employee benefits are not just one way benefits. They benefit everyone involved if they are used the right way as well as rationally. By employers surveying their employees to see what kind of needs they have, they can better suit the benefits for their employees. The legally required employee benefits constitute about 22% of the benefits package that employers provide. These benefits include employer contributions to Social Security, unemployment insurance, and workers compensation insurance.

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Social Security is the federally administered insurance system. Both employer and employee must pay into the system including certain percentage of the employee’s salary. This is regulated by current federal laws. It is mandatory for both employees and employers. Social Security provides an insurance plan designed to indemnify covered individuals against loss of earnings resulting from various causes. Retirement, unemployment, or disability could be reasons of this loss of earnings. A loss of income through loss of employment has to be incurred in order for Social Security to pay off. Also, an individual must have been engaged in employment covered by the Act to be eligible for old age and survivors insurance (OASI) as well as disability and unemployment insurance under the Social Security Act. The Social Security Program is supported by means of a tax levied against an employee’s earnings which must be matched by the employer. Self-employed persons are required to pay a tax on their earnings at a rate.

Unemployment Insurance provides compensation to employees who lose their job for no fault of their own. It is different in every state and is mandated at the state level. The first step is to register the business with the state’s workforce agency. Unemployment payments are intended to provide an unemployed worker time to find a new job equivalent to the one lost without major financial distress. Without employment compensation many workers would be forced to take jobs for which they were overqualified or end up on welfare. Employees who have been working in employment covered by the Social Security Act and who are laid off may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits during their unemployment for a period up to twenty-six weeks. Eligible persons must submit an application for unemployment compensation with their state employment agency, register for available work and be willing to accept any suitable employment that may be offered to them. The amount of the compensation that workers are eligible to receive, which varies among states, is determined by their previous wage rates and previous periods of employment. Funds for unemployment compensation are derived from a federal payroll tax. The unemployment insurance program is based on a dual program of federal and state statutes. The program was established by the federal Social Security Act in 1935. To support the unemployment compensation systems a combination of federal and state taxes are levied upon employers.

Workers’ compensation is meant to protect employees from loss of income and to cover extra expenses associated with job-related injuries or illness. Accidents in which the employee does not lose time from work, accidents in which the employee loses time from work, temporary partial disability, permanent partial or total disability, death, occupational diseases, non-crippling physical impairments, such as deafness, impairments suffered at employer-sanctioned events, such as social events or during travel to organization business, and injuries or disabilities attributable to an employer’s gross negligence are the types of injuries and illnesses most frequently covered by workers’ compensation laws.

The employee does not have to sue the employer to get compensation. The compensation is normally paid through an insurance program financed through premiums paid by employers. Medical expenses are usually covered in full under workers’ compensation laws. It is a no-fault system; all job-related injuries and illnesses are covered regardless of where the fault for the disability is placed. Benefits paid are generally provided for four types of disability: permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, temporary partial disability, and temporary total disability. Before any workers’ compensation is reorganized, the disability must be shown to be work-related. This usually involves an evaluation of the claimant by an occupational physician. Workers’ compensation laws typically provide that injured employees will be paid a disability benefit that is usually based on a percentage of their wages. Each state also specifies the length of the period of payment and usually indicates a maximum amount that may be paid.

Family and Medical Leave is a benefit that is sometimes confusing for employees. What the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) require is for the employer to provide 12 weeks of unpaid time off to employees during a 12-month period of time. The leave protects the employee from losing their job to care for themselves or an immediate family member, including the birth of a child, placement for adoption or foster care of a child. The leave is unpaid unless the employer offers paid leave as part of an optional benefits package.

As I stated before, United States have many laws that protect employees and give them different benefits. This is very important for labor force because employees’ safety is the first step towards better work force future. These laws really improved if we compare them to the years when our parents used to work, and many companies offer even more benefits than it is required by law.

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