While most employees work a typical 9-5 workday, an HR manager’s job tends to spill over into evenings and weekends. With so many responsibilities, it can be easy for HR professionals to get bogged down with transactional tasks like answering employees questions.
In part one of this three-part series, we talked about typical payroll questions your employees will ask you and how to proactively manage this part of your job. In part two, we’ve compiled the answers to 6 HR questions your employees will ask you and how you can answer them while still having a productive workday.
1. What is Open Enrollment and When am I Eligible to Enroll?
Open enrollment is a period when employees can enroll in or make changes to a health insurance plan each year. The open enrollment period for 2019 coverage runs from November 1, 2018, to December 15, 2018. Employees can also apply and enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time of the year.
2. What’s the Difference Between my Deductible and Premium?
The premium is the amount an employee pays each month to carry health insurance and is determined by the insurance plan the employee chooses. In addition to a monthly premium payment, employees are also responsible for deductibles and copays. A deductible is the amount an employee will pay for health services before their insurance will cover health services.
3. How Will my Health Benefits Impact me During Tax Season?
4. What is COBRA and When do I use it?
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a law that provides the continuation of group health coverage. Employees who lose their health benefits due to unemployment can continue group health benefits for a limited time by their group health plan.
Check out our blog for a more detailed overview of COBRA that managers and supervisors can use as a guide for answering in-depth COBRA questions.
5. What’s the Difference Between an FSA and HSA?
Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are accounts that employees can contribute to tax-free to use for medical costs. FSAs and HSAs allow employees to set aside money for qualified expenses like deductibles, copayments, and prescription costs.Knowing the differences between an FSA and HSA can be tricky so we’ve provided a basic overview of the differences between the two:
Health Savings Account (HSA)
Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA)
An employee must have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
No eligibility requirements.
2018 contribution limit is $3,450 for individuals or $6,900 for families.
2018 contribution limit is $2,650.
Unused balances roll over into the next year.
Unused balances do not roll over into the next year and you forfeit any unused balance.
You can transfer your HSA to your new employer.
You’ll lose your FSA with a job change (unless you’re eligible for FSA contribution through COBRA.)
Effect on Taxes
Contributions are tax-deductible, but can also be taken out of your pay pre-tax. Growth and distributions are tax-free.
Contributions are pretax and distributions are untaxed.
6. What’s the Difference Between FMLA and Short-Term Disability?
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. FMLA allows employees to take a medical leave of absence without fear of losing their job.Employees are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they experience one of the following events:
Short-Term Disability insurance is used when an employee is unable to work due to an illness or accident and they can receive a portion of their paycheck during a leave of absence. An employee’s plan will determine what is considered disabled and can vary from company to company. Some plans decide an employee is eligible for short-term disability when they can no longer perform their job duties. While other plans consider an employee disabled when they can no longer complete their work based on their training and experience needed.
Can You Use Both At the Same Time?
An employee can use both FMLA and Short-Term Disability at the same time during a leave of medical absence. Since employees do not get paid with FMLA, they can receive some income during their leave with Short-Term Disability insurance.
Proactively Manage HR Questions From Employees
As an HR manager, you are asked a variety of questions every day. But this important part of your job doesn’t have to take up the majority of your time. By providing your departmental managers and employees with a frequently asked questions document, you can be more proactive about company communication. Optimize this process even further by using a self-service platform to communicate and distribute important information, so you have more time to focus on other strategic tasks.