Do we have to give employees the same benefits as the founders?

Question: We’re a California startup with a few founders working full-time right now. We are planning on expanding. Do we have to offer any future full-time employees the same benefits as we set up for ourselves? Do they need to have the same healthcare plan fully paid by the company? Do they need to receive the same retirement plan contributions paid by the company? Thanks!

Brian Hassan

Brian Hassan

Answer by Brian Hassan, Managing Director of BayPoint Benefits

This is one of the most common questions that I get from my startup clients. Both the Founders and the traditional employees must be offered the same benefits and the company must contribute the same dollars towards those benefits.

What we advise our startup clients to do is offer three plans: (1) Value Plan; (2) Standard Plan; and (3) Premier Plan. Value being the most cost-effective and Premier being the richest in benefit and also the most costly.

The company will pay 100% of the Employee premium and 0% of the Dependent premium on the Value Plan. If the employee wishes to buy-up to the Standard Plan or the Premier Plan they would do so out of their own pocket (pre-tax). You will find that most, if not all, employees will take the Value plan.

If you need any assistance elaborating on this strategy or are interested in hearing more about what plans are rolled out (healthcare, executive, retirement, life, disability, etc.) please let me know and I would be more than happy to assist you with some benchmarking info (brian.hassan@baypointbenefits.com).

Comments & Advice:
  1. I am a founder among others who have formed a new goverment employees union, we know the union does not belong to us and we therefore want to set up a founders account that we all will benefit from it till probably when one dies. Please advise us on how to do it.

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