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Frequently Asked Questions About Employee Benefits

written by: •edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 9/23/2010

When it comes to employee benefits, what are the most frequently asked questions? What do new hires most want to know and how can you ensure you have the answers they seek? Our HR expert, Jean Scheid, offers some insight on the employee benefit FAQs.

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    The Need for New Hire Orientation

    Employees Will Have Questions Before we discuss employee benefit most frequently asked questions, you can avoid many simple questions by providing orientation sessions for new hires. If your company is medium to large in size, these sessions are easy to hold monthly where HR representatives discuss benefits, work hours, vacation times, and other benefit questions new hires may have.

    All you need to begin a program such as this are handouts explaining company benefits, an HR rep that offers a brief overview of each, and a Q&A session.

    Always allow new hires a chance to have a one-on-one session with an HR rep in case one of them has a sensitive question he may want to keep to himself and away from the other new hires in the group session.

    Image Credit: (FreeDigitalPhotos)

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    Employee Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions

    When considering both new hire and current employees, expect questions—often many. Your HR policy manual should include quick access to answer these questions which often include items such as:

    • Work Hours – Times the employee should report to work, breaks, lunch times, and stopping times.
    • Time Cards – Although all employees, exempt or non-exempt, must have a record of time worked kept, many employees still punch a time clock and may have questions about how it works and where it’s located.
    • Vacation, Sick, & Personal Policies – Here, you should create a handout that offers the company’s policy on these time off periods that is written simply and easy to understand. Make sure you include whether times accrue or are lost if not utilized.
    • Health Benefits – Expect employees to have many questions about health benefits. They’ll want to know what the health care packages include; so as an HR manager, you’ll need to know these benefit plans inside out. Know about dental, vision, and healthcare plans including deductibles, allowable maximums, out-of-pocket expenses, and whether emergency room care is covered. You’ll also need to explain your drug prescription program if you have one.
    • COBRA Benefits – Employees that lose their job will want to know how COBRA works and what benefits they are entitled to.
    • Family Medical Leave Act – You’ll need detailed guidelines about this federally regulated policy and how and when it can be used.
    • Maternity or Paternity Leave – Other than the Family Medical Leave Act if your company offers this type of benefit, expect questions.
    • Workman’s Compensation – If employees are injured on the job, they must be aware of reporting injuries and may need the help of the HR rep to aid them in filing certain documents with the workman’s compensation carrier.
    • Performance Reviews – This is probably one of the biggest employee benefit most frequently asked questions. They will want to know the policies on performance reviews and chances for increases in salary or wages.
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    Other FAQs from Employees

    Employee FAQ Beyond these general frequently asked questions from employees, you’ll also find a handful of other ones such as:

    You can cut the rush of both new hire and long-term employees by providing your HR policies, including all benefits offered, in a place that is accessible to everyone. Do keep in mind that many employees may not understand how certain policies or benefits work, so take time to answer these questions and keep an open-door policy in your human resources department.

    Finally, expect unusual employee benefit frequently asked questions, and if you don't have a quick answer, tell the employee you'll research the query and get back to him as quickly as you can.

    Image Credit (FreeDigtialPhotos)