The Partnership ...Part II

 

 

In my previous blog “The Partnership”, I talked about insurance that covers losses

through circumstances over which you have no control, personal injury or illness

and physical damage to your property,as a method of guaranteeing your future

and that of your business.

 

 

 

 

 

This blog continues that theme through using insurance plans to

hire the best employees

that will grow the business and guarantee its and your successful future.

If you employ or intend to employ people to work in your business, you need to consider your responsibility for their safety and well being.

A safe workplace environment will require you carry additional insurance for officers and directors’ liability, worker’s compensation, employment insurance, and make contributions to Canada Pension Plan. In addition, you can include an employer sponsored group health benefit to cover medical expenses and drugs and possibly a dental plan.

Many insurance companies offer Health Care Benefits including prescription drugs and modest dental plans to start up and small companies (fewer than 5 employees). Long term disability benefits are not included; however, by sourcing companies that provide those benefits or ones that offer benefits for hard to insure employees, a plan for every business can be created.

These plans are part of a comprehensive wage/salary package that attracts the brightest and the best to work for you to grow the business you dream about today and the future.

Many small business owners believe they are too small for employee benefits plans. Plans can be designed for any size group; even ONE person! Start ups worry they can’t get benefits because they don’t have a track record in business.

Obligations of an Employer to Employees

Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace and guard the welfare of employees who make the enterprise function.

Many employers overestimate the extent of insurance coverage within the Commercial General Liability policy that governs bodily injury to employees. These are some important facts you need to know:

Commercial General Liability specifically excludes coverage where WCB is mandated.

It is NOT a substitute for workers compensation benefits,

and it does NOT apply to employees on the job.

Take time to understand the limitations and exclusions within the insurance policies you rely upon when an unexpected event leads to a claim.

 

Insurance brokers have an obligation to determine their client is informed.

Ask questions. We have the answers.

 

Let’s review government regulations/Provincial and Federal

Workplace Safety Insurance Board

The regulatory body responsible for compliance with labor laws and for the protection and safety of workers in Ontario. WSIB regulates and adjudicates and administrates, in addition provides return to work, rehab and Health Care benefits.

Employers must know if their workplace is mandated to provide coverage for employees and within a limited time of opening a business.

There is No such thing as “opt out”

Many industries permit the business owner to waive WSIB, permitting them to purchase a private plan that covers 24/7/365 to guarantee income replacement, medical expenses and death benefits for unexpected injury or illness.

*The construction industry in Ontario must adhere to Bill 119, a 2012 provincial regulation requiring all workers, including owners, to be covered.

Selecting the right alternative job for a worker returning from a workplace injury is not easy for employers. A worker returning from a WSIB paid leave due to a workplace accident who cannot return to the original job due to impairment, must be offered a situation that accommodates the new reality or action can be taken by WSIB against the employer.

Other Employer Considerations…

The Cannabis Act, October 2018 creates a new operational policy for WSIB changes are effective immediately. The regulations are found on the website.

Employment Insurance

The benefit intended for the employee is income in the event of job loss, lay off, termination, accident (not job related), sickness or parental leave.

Eligibility for E.I. benefits is taken into consideration in the design of an employee group benefits plan. If short term disability is an intended benefit, the employer can apply for a rebate on E.I. contributions.

Canada Pension Plan

Employer is responsible to remit employer and employee contributions.

 

Contract Workers

Employers can contract individuals to work for them. Contracts can be structured between the employer and the individual. In this situation E.I. and CPP contributions may not be a requirement for the employer. WSIB however, may be a requirement, depending on the industry. The employer is responsible for WSIB coverage, but also can require the individual to provide proof of coverage – depending on the contract and whether the contractor is independent. Forms by industry are available from WSIB online and subcontractors need be able to prove they work for more than one employer.

Temporary Foreign Workers

Employers in certain industries hire temporary foreign workers. The question for them is when does a worker become eligible for provincial health care benefits (OHIP) in Ontario.

The Ontario government has a strict criteria for temporary foreign workers and the information is available from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care under the Health Insurance Act Reg. 552 closed and open work permits. The concern for some employers and their workers is the residency requirements under the act and the waiting period before qualifying.

Private insurance can step in with a Visitors to Canada policy to bridge the gap while waiting for OHIP eligibility. If the insurance is purchased BEFORE entering Canada/Ontario, the applicant’s coverage for medical expenses incurred due to injury or illness begins on the 1st day they arrive.

These employees don’t qualify for long term disability benefits on a group insurance policy. However, a personal income replacement contract for Temporary Foreign Workers, with a 2-year benefit is available.

Group Insurance Plans

Employer Group Insurance plans will always attract employees.  Even the smallest businesses can access employee group benefits. Certain associations offer plans; for example, Chambers of Commerce in most cities and towns. Trade associations and professional associations also offer members the opportunity to access.

Association plans are not necessarily the most economical, nor are they flexible in design, so when contemplating this benefit, it is important to do your homework. That can be a very daunting and time-consuming task for a business owner.

The important things to consider are:

  • 1.    What is the purpose of these benefits

  • 2.    How generous does a plan need to be to respond to my business needs

  • 3.    Will I pay the premiums, or will I share the cost with my employees

 

Pension Plans

Pension plans can also be created for employers and employees. A simple Group RRSP can be set up with employer and employee contributions or employee only with the employer providing administration services through systematic payroll deductions.

There are a number of strategies that can be added to a CORE plan that are cost and tax efficient for both employer and employee.

Health Care Spending Account

Allows business owners to use corporate (before tax) dollars to pay personal Health Care expenses for themselves and family. This strategy can also be used to enhance employee group benefits selectively.

The Partnership: You and Your Insurance

My goal is to unravel and simplify insurance as it relates to the success of every business, regardless of products or services.

The right insurance will:

  • 1.    Protect your business from unexpected loss

  • 2.    Guarantee Business Continuation

  • 3.    Help hire and retain the best employees

Consult a knowledgeable insurance agent specific to the types of insurance you need: Commercial General and Personal. Then ask lots of questions. Be sure you understand the coverages and benefits specifically designed for you and your particular business.

Insurance should help meet business goals which includes

hiring and retaining the best employees.

Partner with the right insurance to guarantee your future and that of your business.

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