It's getting to be that time of the year when HR and Payroll teams are working with their brokers to get the best benefits they can for their employees. Once you get all the details worked out with your broker, you need to prepare your software for expiring benefits, new benefits, and updated rates. Every software is slightly different in the steps, but they break down into a few common steps.
- Review existing benefits, including eligibility rules
- Add any new benefits and related earnings or deductions
- Update the ending date on any benefits that are set to expire
- Update rates for any benefit with changes
- Figure out what and when you need to update the system for employee enrollments and related earnings and deductions
- Review the changes for employees in both benefits and payroll before the first payroll of the new year
- Have someone check your math to be sure you have the correct rates for benefits
- Have someone review the taxability of all earnings/deductions related to benefits. Be sure 125 deductions are set up correctly and reduce the appropriate taxable wages.
- Decide how you are going to communicate with employees. Your HCM software might help with notices and communication to the employees. Can you create a video explaining your benefits and showing how to complete open enrollment and make it available in your HCM software? Or do you need to have in-person meetings and get those scheduled?
- What tools or documents can you provide the employees to help them compare benefit plans?
- During the first payroll of the new year, hand calculate taxable wages for a variety of employees to be sure everything is set up correctly
- This is an excellent time to review your settings for Life Events if your system supports Life Events
- Keep in mind that if you have a feed to your carriers or are outsourcing open enrollment, providers typically require a 30-45 day notice of changes to the feed. It could take 6-8 weeks if you have a new carrier with an EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) feed.
Open Enrollment usually comes at a stressful time when the HR and Payroll teams are working on year-end, bonuses, and holiday time. Start planning early to help reduce the stress during this time of year.
We have created and attached a checklist for Sage HRMS and Scissortail HCM to help you set up and process Open Enrollment for both products.