2022 Tips and Reminders for Compensation and Benefits Managers

As the new year begins
SHRM online collected the following expert predictions on how compensation, benefits and workplace culture are likely to change.

Take action to counter the great resignation

Employers facing labor shortages are now open to adopt certain changes, such as:

  • Promote the company as a “Better Place to Work”. With the rise of remote work, the the competition is no longer just for the business next door, but now for the business across the country.
  • Adopt a total reward strategy. This involves extending benefits beyond traditional health, dental, vision, disability and life insurance plans.
  • Consider increasing wages if possible. Is your business competitively paying for the work it expects?
  • Policy flexibility where appropriate. Amazon, for example, no longer searches for marijuana in drug tests.
  • Be creative in work / life balance. The pandemic has shown that office workers can work virtually anywhere in the country or around the world and be just as productive as long as they have housing and flexibility.

—Bobbi Kloss is the director of human capital management services for Benefit Advisors Network, a national network of independent benefits brokerage and advisory firms.

Expect challenges around DE&I and the future of work

Many workforce trends that will continue into the new year have implications for diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategies and outcomes, such as:

  • Hybrid workplaces could lead to disparities. Having some remote employees and others on-site can create subtle inequalities. Companies will need to be intentional in tracking promotions, salary scales and opportunities to ensure that remote employees are not treated less favorably.
  • The Great Resignation shows no sign of stopping. In 2021, we’ve seen people quitting their jobs en masse in search of more money, more flexibility, and more happiness. In response, we will see employers pushed to make changes such as offering increased wages, hiring incentives and competitive advantages to attract talent, and they will also focus on internal mobility, retraining and re-employment. development to retain existing employees.
  • Businesses can no longer ignore mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the mental health and emotional well-being of workers. To create an enabling environment for mental health, companies can appoint a senior executive responsible for mental health initiatives, provide mental health benefits comparable to physical health benefits, ensure easy access to resources without stigma, and measure to what extent they meet employee needs.
  • Parental leave will take center stage. The pandemic has brought to light the challenges facing working parents and caregivers. We will continue to see discussions around parental leave as workers demand better policies that put families first.

Mandy Price is CEO and Co-Founder of Kanarys, a technology company that provides organizations with tools to tackle DE&I challenges.

Solve virtual care and health equity issues

Employers will seek to increase the availability of telehealth and improve mental health while working towards health equity, ensuring the same access and quality of health care to all employees, including those from historically disadvantaged groups. Among these trends:

  • Virtual health is here to stay, but integration with in-person care is essential. Virtual health is playing an increasing role in primary care and chronic disease management. Realizing its full value means helping patients integrate the care they received in person in a doctor’s office or clinic with the care they receive through a telehealth service, as these providers may not share clinical data. It will also be important to create a level playing field when it comes to how insurers reimburse healthcare providers.
  • Eexpansion of virtual mental health services. The pandemic has exacerbated long-standing challenges with mental health and emotional well-being, including the lack of locally available therapists and the stigma that often prevents people from seeking in-person care. Employers have responded by offering digital therapy, which can fill access gaps for employees. However, employers must remain focused on the quality of these resources.
  • Gateway to greater equity in health. Employers seek to achieve health equity by providing inclusive and affordable health benefits and wellness programs, using representative networks of health care providers, and analyzing claims for signs unequal treatment. The aim is to reduce differences in health outcomes among the workforce, including among the underfunded or marginalized.

Ellen Kelsay is President and CEO of the Business Group on Health.

Reminder: Expiring employee benefit plan relief provisions

Under the pandemic relief rules, employers can allow participants in healthcare flexible spending accounts (FSAs) or dependents’ ASPs to carry over unused balances from a plan year ending in 2021 to a plan year ending in 2022, or extending the grace period for spending unused FSA funds for plan years ending in 2021 to 12 months. Employers can choose to provide either. other of these extensions.

Other relief provisions ended at the end of 2021, although the pandemic is not over. The expired relief provisions include:

  • The amount that employees can reduce their salary to fund a dependent ASP rises to the legal limit of $ 5,000 in 2022, compared to $ 10,500, for single taxpayers and married couples filing jointly. It works out to $ 2,500 for a married person filing separately, compared to $ 5,250.
  • Employees can no longer change their salary reduction choices to health or long-term care FSA mid-year unless the change of choice is due to a change of status event such as marriage, divorce or new child; such mid-year election changes were allowed in 2021.
  • If an employee quits a job in 2022 without using all of the dollars from a health FSA, the employee will have to forfeit this unused amount; in 2020 and 2021, employers could allow laid-off employees to access these unused amounts for health care expenses until the end of the plan year.
  • High deductible health plans linked to health savings accounts (HSAs) will no longer be able to subsidize telehealth services until the deductible limit is reached. In 2020 and 2021, insurance coverage that subsidized the cost of pre-deductible telehealth services did not prevent a worker from making HSA contributions.

While these relief provisions end in early 2022, it’s important to show employees the value of continuing to participate in employer-sponsored FSA and HSA programs.

William Sweetnam is the legislative and technical director of the
Employer Council on Flexible Compensation.


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