HR MANAGER'S BOOKSHELF - Recent pension and benefit offerings for HR professionals

Few books shed light on share ownership, disability and pension plans.

An Employer’s Guide to Disability Management
By Neil Rankin, 180 pages, Aurora Professional Press (2001), (905) 841-6472 or 1-800-263-3269, www.canadalawbook.ca

The author, a rehabilitation professional and consultant, points out that Canadian employers incur a cost of eight to 12 per cent of payroll in disability claims, and that one in seven employees becomes disabled every year. This book shows how employers can take a more active part in ensuring employees’ return to work, and how they can be more effective in meeting employees’ needs — physical, psychological and emotional — when they do return.

Chapters cover:

•an overview of disability management, the hard and soft costs, legal obligations, and relations with the stakeholders: the employee, the manager, doctors, benefits representative, health care providers and the union.

•case management for the return-to-work process, including assessment, job matching, and return-to-work planning including counselling, education, decision making, communication and ethical considerations;

•vocational rehabilitation objectives, assessment, providers and tools;

•policy and procedures for disability management, including workers’ compensation and responsibilities of all the stakeholders;

•profile of community service providers such as independent evaluators, surveillance professionals, physicians and rehabilitation specialists; and

•program design advice, following a committee approach, from goal setting through to evaluation.

Readers will also find a chapter on frequently asked questions and appendices providing sample return-to-work plans, letters, forms and skills analysis.

Employee Share Ownership Plans
By Perry Phillips, 258 pages (2001), Wiley. At bookstores or Wiley Canada, 1-800-567-4797, www.wiley.com

This reference on Canadian employee share ownership program (ESOP) design and implementation is written by Perry Phillips, an expert in share ownership and stock option plans.

ESOP objectives tie in with a number of business issues: productivity; competitiveness; recruiting; retention; succession; and creating a sense of “inclusive capitalism.” The book describes various types of plans and provides guidance on:

•design issues such as eligibility, financing and communications;

•technical aspects including business valuation, tax implications, legal requirements and international scope; and

•shareholder agreements, letters, questionnaires and other hands-on tools.

Phillips emphasizes that every plan must be tailored to the specific company and culture. To help with the task, the book provides case studies, checklists and proposed answers to frequently asked questions.

There is also an appendix with information on publications, web sites, institutions and professional resource firms in the ESOP field.

Cash Balance Pension Plans: a practical primer
By Teresa A. Daniel, 151 pages, IFEBP (2000), 1-888-33-IFEBP or www.ifebp.org

Published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, this book covers:

•exploring your retirement plan alternatives (defined contribution, defined benefit, hybrid);

•key plan components (interest credits, transition credits, investment of assets, vesting rules);

•design and implementation strategies; and

•employee communications and plan administration.

The book is based on the U.S. context for issues including funding, accounting, tax and legal issues as well as company profiles such as Georgia-Pacific, Avon and Bell Atlantic.

Appendices offer quick reference guides on subjects like plan overviews and retirement plan reporting, as well as sample communication plans, employee newsletters and summary plan descriptions.

Deferred Compensation/ Defined Contribution
By Paul Hackleman and Bill Tugaw, 179 pages, IFEBP (2001), 1-888-33-IFEBP or www.ifebp.org

This U.S. book examines the “new rules/new game” for public and private deferred compensation plans. It surveys legal, financial and workplace changes as well as new approaches to internal administration, management oversight, relationships with external providers and marketplace products like deferred retirement option plans, self-directed brokerage accounts, economy of scale discounts and use of Internet technologies for education and customer service.

Key messages to employers stress the need to:

•improve tracking and understanding of legislative changes and trends;

•design information systems effectively to capture current employee needs, future needs, and impacts on benefits and retirement strategies programming;

•re-evaluate relationships with other stakeholders such as external providers, decision-making bodies and unions; and

•establish processes for evaluation to prompt ongoing reconsideration of retirement benefits design to support organizational and individual requirements.

Ray Brillinger is a senior consultant with the IBM Consulting Group. He provides change management, business transformation and organization effectiveness services to client organizations. He can be reached at (905) 316-8733 or [email protected]

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