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This Model Policies and Forms for Illinois Employers is offered to you for free. Find state specific laws and regulations below.

Employee Benefits — Illinois Templates

Health insurance

Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees generally are deemed to be applicable large employers (ALEs). Such employers must either offer health coverage that is “affordable” and provides “minimum value” to their full-time employees and their dependents, or potentially make an employer shared responsibility payment to the IRS, if at least one of their full-time employees receives a premium tax credit for purchasing individual coverage on a Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace), also called the Exchange. Whether an employer is an ALE and is therefore subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions depends on the size of its workforce. In general, employers employing at least a certain threshold number of employees (generally 50 full-time employees including full-time equivalent employees, which means a combination of part-time employees that count as one or more full-time employees) are ALEs.

If benefits are afforded, in order to avoid misunderstandings or inconsistencies, employers that offer such benefits should distribute complete insurance information to employees regarding these benefits rather than including such detailed information in an employee handbook or personnel manual. The employer may simply wish to provide general descriptions of the available health benefits in the policy and refer employees to the relevant insurance documents for further information.

Continuation forms

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) specifies several requirements for employers that provided health-insurance coverage to their workers. COBRA covers employers with more than 20 employees, but does not require employers to offer health-insurance coverage. COBRA does require that those employers offering health plans provide continuing coverage to qualified departing employees and/or their beneficiaries. Employers must notify covered employees and their spouses of their rights under COBRA at the start of coverage under any health plan or when a qualifying event occurs.

Short- and long-term disability plans

Although employers are not legally obligated to provide any short‑term or long‑term disability benefits (with the exception of state‑mandated workers’ compensation insurance coverage), many employers provide such benefits to their employees. For those that do, it may be beneficial to state in any written employment policies the requirements for eligibility to receive benefits and the amount of such benefits. As in the case of health insurance, reference should be made to the plan documents for the details of coverage.

401(k) plan

Employers have no legal obligation to provide their employees with a profit‑sharing plan. Employers who do provide the benefit may wish to make reference to the plan’s availability and general terms in the employee handbook. Again, however, the employee should be given – and referred to – the plan documents for complete information regarding the benefit.

Continuing education

Employers are not obligated to reimburse employees for continuing education programs. Many employers choose to do so, however, because they believe such programs benefit the company by encouraging employees to become better educated in their respective fields of specialization and thereby improving company productivity.

If an employer elects to have a tuition reimbursement program, its terms should be in writing and contain the requirements for receiving reimbursement. To provide the employee funds for educational purposes in advance, the employer may wish to utilize a loan document and wage assignment to authorize payroll deduction in the event the employee terminates employment prior to completing the course or otherwise fails to complete or pass the course. It also should be noted that employees generally must be compensated for time spent attending mandatory on‑the‑job training programs or seminars.