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The Handbook of Employee Benefits, 2d ed.

The Handbook of Employee Benefits

The Handbook of Employee Benefits, 2nd edition, by Jerry S. Rosenbloom (Dow Jones - Irwin, 1988), 1170 pages.

Reviewer: Mark L. Cross, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Finance and Insurance, Louisiana Tech University

The Handbook of Employee Benefits provides a current, comprehensive, practical guide to the objectives, design, cost, funding, implementation and administration of employee benefit plans. The Handbook contains 55 chapters written by distinguished experts including academics, actuaries, attorneys, consultants and other employee benefit specialists. The chapters are organized into 10 parts including: Environment of Employee Benefit Plans; Designing Employee Death Benefits; Designing Health-Related Benefits; Designing Additional Employee Benefits and Services; Funding Health and Welfare Benefits; Retirement and Capital Accumulation Plans, Accounting, Funding and Taxation of Retirement and Capital Accumulation Plans; Administration of Employee Benefit Plans; Employee Benefits for Small Business; and Issues of Special Interests in Employee Benefits.

The various chapters and parts of the book are self-contained units which can stand by themselves. Although this creates some overlap of materials in various chapters, it does allow the reader to pick and choose topics of specific interest and gain an understanding of the topic without reading through previous chapters. This particular structuring of chapters makes the book's primary use one of a reference guide for students and professionals in the employee benefits field. It can also be used as a textbook or as a supplement for college, professional education and in-house company training programs. The Handbook is similar in nature to an encyclopedia. It can be used by anyone with a general interest or a specific question in the field of employee benefits. The examples presented to explain the concepts and topics make the Handbook an excellent tool for practitioners.

The Handbook incorporates the recent employee benefit legislation including: the 1985 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the 1986 Age Discrimination in Employment Amendments, the 1986 and 1987 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Acts, the 1986 Tax Reform Act and the 1986 Single Employer Pension Plan Amendments Act. In addition, emphasis is placed on new and emerging employee benefit concepts such as the environment of employee benefit plans, group universal life insurance, and postretirement benefit issues.

Although it is difficult to find criticism with such a comprehensive encyclopedia of employee benefit topics, a few exist. The most serious flaw of the book deals with the exclusion of workers' compensation. Workers' compensation and social security are considered in many texts as a social insurance benefit or involuntary employee benefit. Whether involuntary or not, most companies consider workers' compensation an employee benefit and a very costly one at that. The tremendous cost and complexity of workers' compensation benefits and insurance should dictate its inclusion in any handbook of employee benefits. The Handbook should at least give workers' compensation equal coverage with social security which is discussed in Chapter 4.

The other major criticism deals with the book's organization. Part One should include several chapters that basically describe the various types of employee benefits with some basic definitions and concepts. This is what is done in Chapter 4 on social security. These basic descriptive chapters should be differentiated from the chapters dealing with designing the employee benefits. The remaining criticisms are minor in nature and include: increasing the discussion of disability income insurance, cafeteria plans and the communication of employee benefits to employees, especially in the areas of postretirement benefits and plan terminations.

In summary, the Handbook provides an excellent up-to-date practical reference guide to employee benefits for students, professionals and anyone with an interest or question in the employee benefits area.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Risk and Insurance Association, Inc.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Cross, Mark L.
Publication:Journal of Risk and Insurance
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1990
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