Published Date: 07/07/2014
By Pat Rountree
One of the areas that is often overlooked when hiring employees with a different employment classification is updating the handbook and the benefits plan documents. Most handbooks define employment status for regular full time and regular part time employees. For example, the The specified item was not found. has a sample Employment Status policy that includes:
Full-Time Regular Employees
Employees who are regularly scheduled, and actually work, 30 or more hours per week on a continuing basis. These employees are eligible to participate in ABC Company’s benefits program as outlined in related policies and benefit plan documents, or as required by law.
Part-Time Regular Employees
Employees who are regularly scheduled, and actually work, 20 to 29 hours per week on a continuing basis. These employees are eligible to participate in ABC Company’s benefits program as outlined in related policies and benefit plan documents, or as required by law.
Employees who work less than 20 hours per week. A part-time employee may occasionally work more than 20 hours per week. They are generally not eligible to participate in ABC Company benefits, except as required by law.
However, when you hire employees that do not fall into these categories (seasonal who may work full time for several months; casual employees who are hired to work as needed, sporadically; or interns who are hired to work full time for the summer), you may need to update the Employment Status policy, as well as review your group health benefit plan documents and other benefit plan documents to determine if modifications should be made to clarify that seasonal employees, casual employees and interns are not covered. If your benefit plan language states that full time employees are covered after 90 days, and does not exclude seasonal employees who work full time, they potentially could claim coverage under the plan language.
If you provide details of group plan coverage in your handbook, it is recommended that you also include a statement that if there is any discrepancy between the information in the employee handbook and the benefit plan document, the benefit plan document takes precedence.
Please contact a member of CAI's Advice & Resolution Team with questions at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.