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Employee Benefit Contribution Pitfalls: Tips on How to Vary Contributions While Avoiding Legal Missteps - On-Demand

Employee Benefit Contribution Pitfalls: Tips on How to Vary Contributions While Avoiding Legal Missteps - On-Demand

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Employee Benefit Contribution Pitfalls: Tips on How to Vary Contributions While Avoiding Legal Missteps - On-Demand

Webinar now available On-Demand.


WEBINAR SNAPSHOT: Learn how to legally vary your employee benefits or contributions, as well as how to properly document, administer, and communicate these classifications without legal risk.


While it’s a given that even small businesses that offer benefits are more likely to retain top talent, the benefits strategy can vary greatly. You want to keep employees happy and reduce turnover, so providing an enticing benefits package is a necessity.

However, employers are constantly grappling with questions about how they can vary their benefits or contributions to those benefits. An employer may wish to offer different benefits to different employment types, such as full-time vs. part-time or salaried vs. hourly. Or the employer might vary premiums to reflect insurance rating. Disparities based on such factors are allowed in some cases, but there are also legal pitfalls for employers to watch out for. 

A benefits plan that unfairly favors high-income employees, for example, could have tax consequences, and could also endanger the plan’s qualified status. If the plan uses health or genetic factors, that could expose an employer to lawsuits and excise taxes under benefits laws.

Some premium variations can be passed on to individual employees. However, being too harsh on older, more expensive employees could violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Needless to say, employers should also bear in mind other employment discrimination laws and protected classifications. 

Use this on-demand webinar to learn which distinctions are allowed and how to document, administer, and communicate these distinctions to minimize exposure to legal risk. At our in-depth webinar experienced benefits attorney Ashley Gillihan will clear up confusion—and will be available to take questions live during the Q&A—concerning these issues.

After this webinar, you’ll be able to:

  • Recognize what is allowed if you want to vary benefits or contributions to employee benefit plans based on different factors
  • Evaluate full-time vs. part-time, hourly vs. salaried, and other distinctions when making different contributions to employee benefits
  • Identify the types of income-based discrimination that can jeopardize a benefit plan’s tax status
  • Distinguish between bona fide employment-based classifications and prohibited health-based or genetic factors
  • Recognize the special considerations that apply to cafeteria plan, health reimbursement arrangements, and health savings accounts
  • Legally document distinctions in employee benefits or contributions
  • Effectively communicate to employees to minimize liability
  • And much more! 

About Your Presenter

Ashley Gillihan

Ashley Gillihan, Esq.
Counsel
Alston & Bird, LLP

Ashley Gillihan is counsel in the Atlanta office of Alston & Bird and a member of the firm’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation and ERISA Litigation Groups. Gillihan focuses his practice exclusively on health and welfare employee benefit compliance and litigation issues for employers, health plan administrators and other health and welfare benefit plan service providers. He also has extensive experience assisting financial institutions and insurance companies who serve as Health Savings Account trustees or custodians. Gillihan is active in publishing and speaking on various health and welfare benefit plan related topics and serves as a faculty member and/or technical advisor for several health and welfare benefit plan focused organizations.

Gillihan is a member of the Employer’s Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC) Technical Advisory Council and the board of editors for the Benefits and Compensation Law Alert, published by M. Lee Smith Publishers. He was named to the Benefits Committee for the Self-Insurance Institute of America, Inc. and served from 2007–2008. He is also a faculty member for the Institute for Applied Management and Law (IAML), and is the former author of the Flexible Benefits Answer Book published by Aspen Publishers. 

Gillihan received his undergraduate degree from Western Kentucky University and his law degree from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in 1996. He is a member of the Alabama Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, and the Georgia Bar Association.