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Several laws have been put up, executive laws or federal; laws to protect an individual in the work place. Most of the laws have been designed in a way to protect the individuals and making sure that there are equal opportunities in employment without regard for religion, gender, race or disability. An employee is an officer of a state or any political subdivision while employment is the service the employee performs in the state or the local government.
The Social Security Act
The Social security Act means the act of Congress and was approved in August 14th 1935. It is chapter 531, 49 stat. 620 [42 U.S.C 301 et seq.] which is official known as the social security act. This act was meant to provide for the general welfare, old age benefits was made federal and it enabled several states to make efficient provisions for people that are blind, aged, dependent and crippled children, public health and to administer their unemployment compensation laws, it was also establish to set up the social security board to oversee all the functions the act stood for and to raise revenue for the purposes it was meant to carry out. Before the 1930s, support for the elderly was left mostly to local or the family to which he/she belonged to. The security act solved the problem of old age pensions. The act that provided “insurance” got its funds from taxes on taxpayer’s wages and payrolls from the employers unlike the European nations, government funds were not used in this “insurance” plan.
Payment to states that have old age benefit plan
If a state proves that it has a solid old age benefit plan, the secretary of the treasury shall pay the state the sums that have been appropriated for each quarter. These sums of money shall only be used exclusively for assisting old age persons.
A reserve account for old age benefits has been created and a premium to be appropriated to the account in each fiscal year. The secretary of the treasury will make a report to the Bureau of the budget so as to give an estimate of the amount that is to be appropriated to the account.
Public health work
There have been attempts to assists states and other health districts to establish as well as maintain well established public health facilities, well trained personnel for both the state and local health work. For this to succeed there has been appropriation of some amount for the sole purpose to improve and maintain the public health work.
The social security board and its duties
The social security board is made up of three members that are usually appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the senate and one member is made president. During the membership, the members are not allowed to seek any further employment or business.
Duties of the social security board
Expenses of the board
The board appoints and fixes remuneration of employees and other officers and other expenditures to be carried out while performing their duties.
The board makes a full report to the congress when any regular session begins on the administration of the functions that it was charged with.
Additionally, the board studies and makes recommendations on the most effective methods of providing economic security through social insurance. They also provide advice on administration policies concerning old age pensions.
The act has been amended from time to time and various beneficiaries have been added to the pool and institution of the disability insurance that caters for the people with disability. The social security act was a smart move by the government and has served US citizens well as it ensures that senior citizens do not live in poverty and neither do their beneficiaries.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act
The Employee retirement income security Act mostly known by its initials ERISA is an act of 1974, 29 U.S.C.A § 1001 et seq. It is a federal law that sets minimum standard for pensions and health plans that have been established voluntarily mostly in private industry so as to protect the individuals that are in these plans. The act regulates vesting, administration and financing of pension plans for workers in the private industry. The act was enacted in 1974 by the Congress and its sole purpose was preserve and guard the rights employees to their pensions when they retire, this was made possible by placing statutory requirements that were to be met to govern such matters.
Retirement plans are required to provide information to the participants the Employment retirement act and disclose information such as details about plan features and the various funding that is in place.
It also describes fiduciary responsibilities for the individuals and or organizations that describe plan assets. It gives the participants a chance to sue the retirement plans in case of breach of any of their fiduciary responsibilities and also help them appeal in case they lose.
Coverage for the Employment income security Act
The act does not necessarily make it mandatory for an employer to give health insurance for his/ her employee but when an employee decides to provide health insurance for the employer, ERISA regulates the health plan. Employees who were promised lifetime coverage and they have retired or still in office and the employer breaches that agreement, the act gives the employee a chance to sue an employer on grounds of breach of contract.
ERISA regulates the activities of a pension plan by ensuring that the employee is vested with the specified benefits after a given number of years. In addition, it regulates how a pension plan can pay its benefits.
ERISA enables employee contributions to be 100% vested, additionally, the act enables employees who left a corporation and had made contributions to a defined contribution plan after 2006 was entitled to 100% vesting after three years.
ERISA dictates that a plan must be fully funded, when the plan is fully funded, the cost of benefits per year becomes the minimum required contribution. If the plan is not fully funded, the contribution consists of an amount that is able to amortize over 7 years and this makes the plans that re not fully funded to be risky.
Amendments have been made to this act to enable participants to continue with their health coverage for a limited time after certain events such as loss of job. The other amendment that was made was the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); this was meant for working individuals and their families who have preexisting medical conditions or such conditions that can be discriminated by health coverage. Other amendments cover the newborns and mothers, mental issues and cancer patients.
This act does not cover health plans that are maintained by the government, churches or other groups that have plans that are applicable to compensate workers. It does not also cover health plans that are outside the United States of America so as not to benefit non residents such as Aliens. The employment Retirement Income Security Act was solely enacted to protect the interests of the participants of the plans as well as their beneficiaries. It was a dream come true for the participants of health plans as for years they had suffered the consequences of poorly funded plans that saw them lead a poor life after retirement.
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