(by Slava Darozhkin)
It’s no easy leap for any HR department to go from entirely dollar-based compensation packages to getting involved with reimbursing employee health costs and expanding their expenditure. Businesses still look for any way to save, understandably, while also being generous with their employees.
That being said, however, staying cost-efficient forces the priority list to be implemented and often-times companies want to only offer health-related packages to only some employees.
The question is, is this allowed? The answer is that there is no legal prohibition, save for the discriminatory aspect. Obviously, your choice in which employees get the better compensation packages can’t be made based on prejudices outside of the direct scope of the employee's job.
Areas to stick to when choosing whom to offer reimbursement to might include:
Full-time or part-time status
Whether an employee works in or out of state
Whether an employee is salaried or hourly
An employee's job titles
An employee's seniority
As long as the decision isn’t based, at all, off the individual’s age, color, nationality, disability, citizenship status, ethnic, racial, religious, or sexual orientation, and remains a direct reflection of their work performance, yes, your business can choose which “class” of your employees qualifies for a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) — each state also has additional descriptions for discrimination, which can be viewed here. Remember though, the entire class must be treated equally — if two employees are in the same department, they must both benefit or not.
Is It Worth Picking Who Gets Employee Benefits? Or Am I Just Creating Problems?
While it would be saving the business some cash flow, it defeats the purpose of offering these larger compensation packages in the first place: to make the employees feel valued and human. By creating more barriers for the “right” employee, less of an open and loving environment is promoted.
The QSEHRA program actually allows small businesses to be able to customize their budgets, which is a great way to offer employee benefits at a price that the company can handle. Instead of opting for fewer, higher cost plans, you can offer more quantity at a lower cost, covering more employees, and making everyone feel better about themselves.
We at Zupnick Associates always opt for equal treatment across the board to accomplish more, at a more efficient rate. When you’re ready to take your employees to the next level, reach out to us and let us help you find the right plan for you.