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Employee Benefits That are Required By Federal Law

Employee benefits and tax laws go hand in hand. It's believed that the major turning point in modern employee benefits as we know them was during World War II. Since employers were unable to attract employees because of their inability to raise salaries, they used benefits programs as a substitute for increasing salaries, from healthcare to contribution plans. While World War II is responsible for a drastic growth in benefit plans and programs, they were actually in effect many decades before. It seems that employee benefits have held a lot of importance for legislators, unions, workers, and politicians. New business owners may face the predicament of not being able to afford employee benefits or not knowing them all. To help you wrap your head around the employee benefits required by federal law, we've created a brief overview that should point you in the right direction.

1. Workers' Compensation Insurance

Businesses are required by the law to have workers compensation insurance, which allows a business to be able to withstand many different unfortunate situations.

  • Injured employees are covered by insurance, which means medical expenses for employees who are involved with work-related accidents are covered.
  • The business state laws may also have additional requirements that the workers' compensation providers.
  • Lost wages that the employee suffers from the accident are covered, but the percentage may differ according to the state.
  • The legal fees that are associated with negligence-based injuries can be covered.
  • Death benefits to the beneficiary of the worker if they suffered an injury that resulted in their death.

Employers are mandated to provide compensation for personal injuries that occur during work. It's very important for employees to be aware of their rights in some cases, as insurance companies may not fulfill their end of the deal every time. If you live in North Carolina or anywhere else in the U.S., you can find out more about this process by consulting with a workers' compensation lawyer in your state. A seasoned lawyer can help you in every step of the way to file a claim and reclaim your employee benefits.

2. Unemployment Benefits

Both the federal and state governments are responsible for the unemployment benefits program since it's a joint initiative made to combat the financial problems of unemployment. Workers who are trying to find employment but to no avail get to receive cash stipends from the government. The Federal Unemployment Tax Act and other state-based agencies provide direct compensation to unemployed workers. Even though unemployment benefits have federal outlines that apply to all states, every state has slightly different benefits or rules. It's directly supervised by the U.S. Department of Labor to ensure the compliance of every single state with the program.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is a program designed to handle emergencies like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It can be seen in action as millions of Americans were directly affected by the pandemic, causing them to go unemployed amidst waves of chaos. It's a recent program that increases the unemployment benefits; $2 trillion were signed by the president as an emergency stimulus package to provide Americans with a safety net during the massive waves of unemployment caused by the economic shock made by the pandemic.

3. Social Security Tax

Employees and employers are both required by federal law to pay social security tax, which is used to fund social security programs. It's a tax that's directly applied on payroll, governed by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. Freelancers and self-employed workers have their social security tax mandated by the Self-Employed Contributions Act. This tax is responsible for supporting millions of Americans who depend on the benefits provided with retirement, disability, and veteran survivorship; the official name for the program is Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Program. Employers are responsible for withholding the social security tax from the payrolls of their employees, directly forwarding it to the federal government. The Social Security tax in 2020 is 12.4%; half paid by the employers and the other by the employees.

4. COBRA Health Benefits

When a worker leaves their job or gets fired, a federal law called COBRA ensures that the employee still has health insurance coverage. COBRA is short for the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act, passed 20 years ago by Congress. It's quite useful in providing families with a safety net for the families of the employee. Even though the employee still pays for the full medical price instead of their employer, it still gives a chance to the unemployed worker to purchase health insurance coverage on their own without the ridiculous premiums that plague the conditions of unemployment.

Employee benefits are great aids to workers in every state. The security provided by such benefits helps employees prepare for times of hardships, in addition to providing their families with medical and financial safety nets. Even though all states share the same employee benefits federal laws, there are many variances between them, so be sure to check your state laws and regulations for the most accurate information.

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.

Pre-Read

When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.

Highlight

Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.

Summarize

If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.