As an employer, you might be asking yourself about the pros and cons of employment group benefits.  Employer-sponsored benefit plans cover everything from drug and dental coverage to life insurance.  Job seekers are drawn to positions that offer group benefits, especially when it comes to extended health coverage that provides more insurance than offered through government health plans.  So, employer-sponsored health plans can help Canadian employees cover more of their healthcare costs, but are there benefits for employers.

In a nutshell, employment group benefits may include life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, extended healthcare coverage, dental care coverage, and even disability benefits.  Generally speaking, the costs of these benefits are moderate for the employer, especially given the value they offer.  This is especially true since insurance providers will often offer much more affordable rates for group packages when compared to the retail market.  And all your employees will be eligible to receive these benefits in most cases.  Insurance companies offer benefits for all group members without the need for medical exams to determine eligibility since the plans tend to be lucrative for them as well.

As mentioned, job seekers are drawn not just by salaries but also benefits packages and the peace of mind offered by these packages is often psychologically more attractive than a salary increase that costs the employer the same amount.  There are even flexible benefit plans available that allow employers to offer various benefit options for different job classifications.  And sometimes, employers can subsidize the cost of some benefits packages by requiring employees to make contributions to participate in a plan.

But beware.  Unionized workplaces are well-known for offering insurance benefits to employees, particularly in order to protect employers from worker disputes or grievances.  Unfortunately, even when certain benefits are not offered, employees can still try to make legal claims for benefits that are not outlined in a collective bargaining agreement – and there are precedent cases that provide evidence.

Indeed, unionized employers may be liable for group benefits even when they have insurance coverage.  It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the collective bargaining agreement specifically outlines the details of the insurance policy with respect to the nature and amount of the benefits.  In other words, if there are discrepancies between the collective bargaining agreement and the insurance policy, the employer may be liable.

Ultimately, employment group benefits can provide employers a cost-effective way of attracting the top candidates to positions in their company, but it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the details of the benefits are clearly and accurately stipulated in any employment contract.  That being said, with a meticulous employment contract, group benefits are often one of the best ways to attract talent to your business.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article, and this website generally, is not intended as legal advice and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.  To provide legal advice on your problem, a lawyer must first understand your specific situation.

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