This past June, federal agencies added some clarity to offer employers an additional “ruling” on what is known as the 90-day Waiting Period which will go into effect in January 2015. This ruling establishes parameters for employers whether they are self-insured or fully insured. In order to comply, employers must ensure that their employees had the ability to enroll in their benefits plans within 90 days of the employees first day of employment.
“Eligibility to enroll in a plan as defined by the federal agencies policies include having met the plan’s substantive eligibility conditions, for example, being an eligible job classification, achieving job-related licensure requirements, or satisfying a reasonable bona fide employment-based orientation period”. (Stephen Miller, CEBS, SHRM, 6/25/2014).
Additionally, it is important to note that the 90 days taken into consideration includes calendar days, and will include weekends and holidays. Employers hoping to utilize business days of the week as a count towards the 90 days risk failure to comply with the federal agencies ruling.
What does this mean to you as an employer? Simply put, it means that you have 90 calendar days from the time a new employee starts to ensure they have had the ability to enroll in whatever company related benefits you offer. Your compliance in this policy has no direct bearing on the size of your company and any previously understood exemptions do not exist as it relates to this federal agency directive. All organizations large and small must comply with this.
Questions about how to ensure that your firm is in compliance with this can be directed to Kellie Boysen with Alternative HR at 717-855-5589.