If you are concerned that employees are getting different answers to their benefits questions based on which of your staff members is consulted, it might be time to create a list of top questions and answers around this important topic. Providing your staff with the consistent and correct answers to their frequent requests can reduce time and effort for your staff as well as improve the employee experience. 

1. How Much Sick Time and Vacation Time Do I Have?

This is one of the most common questions that  human resources departments will receive, particularly because there can be confusion for new staff members. Even with a clear written policy, it’s important to create a few scenarios that will help staff members understand unique circumstances. It might be helpful to capture some of the questions that you receive over the course of the year and save these to an FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) section of your company’s intranet.

If you live in an area with inclement weather, staff might also ask how that time away from the office should be treated. Staff may also accrue sick time and vacation time differently based on the level of their job and any upfront negotiations when they are hired.

2. How Are PTO Hours Accrued?

Accruals for PTO (paid time off) could include sick time and vacations as well as other time such as extra holidays or birthdays off. Accruing this time off is quite often confusing, as the math gets a bit complicated for many companies. Splitting an average of 15-30 PTO days off equally throughout the work year, so accruals are smooth and fair can add to the confusion. Be sure your staff is well-versed on how to demonstrate examples of PTO accruals for when the question inevitably arises.

3. Is There a Specific Season for Annual Benefits Enrollments?

When you acquire new staff members, they are often given a grace period during which they can add or update their benefits enrollments. As time passes, staff may still have questions about life situations such as births, deaths, marriage or divorce. Having a cheat sheet for your staff that addresses when and if benefits enrollment decisions can be changed often simplifies the conversation and shortens the time for employees to receive an accurate and meaningful response.

4. What Type of Wellness Benefits Are Available?

Many companies are seeing the value of offering wellness benefits along with traditional insurance. These employee benefits can work a variety of ways and may differ for remote staff members. Understanding the nuances of these programs helps your human resources staff make the best recommendations for new and long-time team members. 

5. What Type of Insurance is Offered and How Are Payments Calculated?

There are complex calculations involved in determining the employee’s percentage of payment for each service as well as for their portion of the premiums Working with your insurance benefits agent closely will help you create a wellness package that details exactly how payments are calculated and the long-term costs of the various insurance options. 

6. What Are My Options for Retirement and Employer Matches for 401(k)?

Retirement support is an extremely important benefit for staff members, and another one that can cause some confusion. Whether you’re a nonprofit and have other retirement plans available or a for-profit with a 401(k) savings option, staff members will want to understand how they can take advantage of this valuable benefit. Keeping tables of the various retirement options and clearly communicating them to staff members on a regular basis will help reduce any stress in your human resources office. 

7. How Can I Take Advantage of Benefits After I Leave the Company?

Unfortunately, this is often the most challenging question because the answer generally depends on the terms of the separation. Staff members whose job is phased out may have a longer period of benefits coverage to help compensate for their time in an upcoming job search. With other types of separation, specific benefits may end immediately upon termination of employment — such as medical, dental and life insurance — or could continue to be valid — such as specific retirement plans. While detailed answers may require additional research with your employee benefits team, it’s good for human resources staff to understand the most likely scenarios.

Keeping your HR team fully equipped with the answers that they need to be solid resources for your staff starts with having a well-connected insurance team. You can be confident that you’re getting the best possible service when you work with XXXX. Upgrade your benefits knowledge when you download our free tool today.