They’re back! They’re employees who back in the day we called "rehires", those former employees who were hired back. Now they’re called "boomerang employees". Diane Stafford, the Kansas City Star’s workplace columnist, writes about the trend for employers to re-hire former employees as reported by Management Recruiters International, an executive search and recruiting firm. In her blog, Workspace by Diane Stafford, Ms. Stafford offers advice to these rehired employees in her blog post, Are you a boomerang?

It’s something I wrote about last year, "Boomerang" Workers and 401(k) Plans, from the employer’s perspective,  and I suggested that employers rehiring former employees keep the following considerations in mind.

  • Make sure that your plan and your Summary Plan Description clearly spell out how returning workers are treated. It’s ERISA, and everyone has to be treated the same.
  • Review how their vesting and forfeitures were handled when they left. Those same ERISA rules govern how non-vested benefits should be treated when an employee returns.
  • Use the appropriate eligibility rules to bring these employees back into your 401(k) plan. Those ERISA rules referenced above may – or may not – allow them to come in immediately.
  • Keep the recent changes to the Pension Protection Act in mind. The Act made changes to vesting schedules that may affect these employees.

As  Ms. Stafford points out, boomerang employees can be a valuable resource for employers. But employers should should plan for the benefit matters in advance.

The picture above of traditional Australian boomerangs is from the website of Dr. Hugh Hunt, Unspinning the Boomerang . Dr. Hunt, who hails from Melbourne, is a Lecturer in the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of Trinity College.