Benefits For Non-Traditional Workers Pushed

Employers can expect more pressure to provide benefits to contingent workers such as temporary employees and independent contractors, according to attorney Wayne S. Jacobsen, partner with Los Angeles-based O'Melveny & Myers LLP. Jacobsen recently released a forecast of benefits-related hot potatoes, with that issue being the hottest. Employers can expect both increased litigation from employees and pressure from the Dept. of Labor to extend the benefits. Other issues Jacobsen expects employers to wrestle with in 1999: disability discrimination, employee stock ownership, pension surpluses, and safe harbor 401k plans. "Look for common medical plan provisions such as limits on payments for fertility treatments to be attacked as violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act," says Jacobsen. He also says medium and small businesses can benefit from recently adopted tax incentives for employee stock ownership plans, and that employers with 401k plans who decide to match dollar for dollar employee contributions (up to 3%) and 50 cents on the dollar for the next 2% will now be exempt from performing complicated non-discrimination testing.

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