Spell It Out
If you don't have a written description of the medical and insurance benefits your company provides, get out a typewriter. Under Section 89k of the tax code, which should take effect on January 1, 1989, such policies must be in writing to remain tax exempt. In addition, workers must receive reasonable notification of their benefits and have legally enforceable rights -- so that they could sue if benefits were arbitrarily denied.
The new provisions are easy to comply with, says John Egner, senior legal counsel for The Johnson Cos., an employee benefits and compensation consulting firm. The key: a summary plan description distributed to all employees -- something many smaller companies have done without. Employers must also provide descriptions of such perks as company-subsidized cafeterias and employee discounts, notes John Eggertsen, a Detroit attorney specializing in benefits law. "I'd be surprised if one out of 10 small employers gives adequate descriptions to its employees," he says.* * *