One of the best ways to keep the employee turnaround rate low and your employees happy is to provide them with a fair and even generous benefits package. When many people accept a job offer, it’s because they are not only happy with what the job is, but they are also pleased with the compensation and benefits they will receive. However, even if you aren’t able to go above and beyond with the benefits package, there are certain employee benefits the government requires you to offer your employees. If you’re a new business starting out, it’s necessary to understand which benefits are legally mandated so you don’t find yourself in legal trouble in the future.

Pay

First and foremost, you will need to pay your employees at least a set wage based on the state’s minimum wage requirements. This typically only applies to hourly employees, not those who are paid a salary. In addition, you will need to understand how to pay for overtime. Any time worked by an hourly employee beyond 40 hours must be paid at an overtime rate, which is usually based on time and a half, or 1.5 times their normal rate of pay.

Insurance

With the federal mandates that all individuals must carry health insurance, it’s more important than ever to understand if your business is required to offer health insurance to your employees. Any employer with at least 50 employees must offer at least the minimum health insurance to at least 95 percent of their eligible employee base.

Worker’s Compensation

Regardless of what your job entails, there are dangers that exist. In order to protect yourself, your business and your employees, you are required to pay for worker’s compensation insurance. This insurance provides coverage if an individual is injured on the job and files a claim. This insurance may provide coverage for lost wages, medical expenses, disability, death benefits to survivors and more.

Medical Leave

There are situations where individuals may need to take advantage of the Federal Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. This can occur due to the birth of a child or due to an injury or illness that either leaves the employee unable to work or they must take care of a dependent family member. If you have at least 50 employees, you must follow the guidelines set forth in FMLA. This act allows individuals to take up to 12 weeks off per 12 month period as long as they are eligible. This protects their job and ensures they still have access to their benefits during that time. The 12 weeks do not need to be used together and can be spread out throughout the year if needed.

Unemployment

If an employee is let go for any reason other than performance issues, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits and your business must pay into this insurance for every employee you have. This gives your employees compensation if you are unable to keep them on your employment roster due to cut backs within the company and due to no fault of their own.

COBRA

Whether an employee leaves of their own accord, or they are laid off, your company is required to offer COBRA insurance coverage if you have at least 20 employees in your organization. This means those who no longer work for you are able to purchase health insurance at the full premium for up to 18 months after employment. This can help reduce gabs in insurance, which is particularly important due to the requirement for all individuals to carry health insurance at all times.

Optional Benefits

There are other benefits you can offer your employees but aren’t required. These can include additional insurance policies like dental and life, bereavement pay, sick pay, vacation, paid holidays and more. The more benefits you are able to offer your employees, the happier they will be to remain at your company and help you succeed.