The Personal BeneFit Program™
Protecting the employer while serving the employee
We created The Personal BeneFit Program™ as a strategy to create knowledgeable employees. It’s more than a hand booklet, it’s a high level of service.
The goal of our program is to educate employees to become active, competent consumers rather than passive receivers of benefits. Our communications focus on getting employees to take ownership of their benefits and to use them wisely.
Employment benefits and rewards programs are a common and effective way of recruiting and retaining employees, but employers must be cautious. There are legal pitfalls that can come up for employers explaining what they offer if an employee doesn’t grasp the details.
Why clear employee communication is so important
The Supreme Court of Canada has said the employment relationship is a “special relationship,” characterized by a power imbalance in which the employer has the upper hand. Judges have often applied that principle and held employers liable when employees have not fully understood the terms of their benefit programs. Employer liability has been found even when the employer has given accurate information or urged employees to seek independent advice. That’s not enough, the judges say, in this “special relationship”.
Lehune v. Kelowna (City) is one such example. Here, Lehune, who was about to retire, was provided with inaccurate and incomplete information about his life insurance coverage.The employer’s labour relations and benefits supervisor told Lehune that his insurance coverage could not be extended beyond his retirement (Lehune was terminally ill at the time with cancer). In reality, the employer’s insurance policy did extend for 31 days beyond retirement and also had a conversion privilege that would have allowed Lehune to continue the coverage as a separate individual policy. Again, the failure to properly inform the employee of the true nature of the benefits resulted in liability for the employer.
How the Personal BeneFit Program™ works
With the support of company management, we determine the best method to present The Personal BeneFit Program™ to all employees. The communication can be done by department, by class of employees or one on one. The latter being the most effective way to communicate this.
Our Program explains to the employees how their group insurance integrates with the various government programs, i.e. Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan and WSIB as well as any personal insurance the employee may have.
It is important for employees to not only know what their group insurance plan covers them for but also for what they are NOT covered for.
As case law in Canada suggests, employers are being held to a demanding standard when communicating with their employees. It is no longer enough that employers simply disclose information to employees. Employers must also ensure that such disclosure is done with reasonable care.
Call us today for a complete demonstration of The Personal Benefit Program™.