(1) An employer may initiate or facilitate an election for employees to vote to form a new group in the Montana VEBA HRA. However, if at least 25% of employees request an election, an employer shall facilitate the election within 60 calendar days from the date of the request. Employers shall notify employees of a vote at least 15 days prior to the first day of the voting period.
(2) Employees shall determine the contribution sources before a vote is conducted. If the employees cannot decide on the contribution sources, the employer may conduct a straw poll to determine contribution sources. The employer shall allow all employees eligible to vote a reasonable amount of time to submit their choice for contribution sources. Once a majority agrees upon the contribution source, the contribution source must be listed on the ballot. If a majority cannot agree on contribution sources for an existing group, the existing group structure and contribution sources remain in place. If a majority cannot agree on proposed contribution sources for a new group, the group does not form.
(3) Employees who are members of a collective bargaining unit may decide to either participate with other employees in the formation of a group or to initiate the election through the bargaining unit. If the employees of a collective bargaining unit decide to participate with noncollectively bargained employees, the employer shall obtain written agreement from the union representing the bargaining unit employees.
(4) Employers shall make a reasonable effort to maintain the privacy of each individual ballot. Employers shall permit absentee voting for employees not present during an election.
(5) If the majority of employees vote to establish a group or change an existing group, then all employees eligible to vote, any employees who later become eligible, and any eligible employees subsequently hired into positions eligible for the Montana VEBA HRA become members of the group. If the majority of the employees vote to become members, employees who voted not to establish a group or change an existing group, and any eligible employees who did not return a ballot, become members of the group and may not opt out.
(6) If at least 25% of the members of the group request an annual election, members of a group may hold a vote to:
(a) continue as an active group with the same contribution sources;
(b) continue as an active group with different contribution sources; or
(c) disband the group.
(7) If members vote to disband the group, employees are not required to wait 12 months to form another group.
(8) If members vote to continue as an active group with the same or different contribution sources, an employer may not conduct another election for that group until 12 months from the date of the election.
(9) The effective date of the vote is the first day of the pay period/cycle immediately following the closing day of the voting period. The voting period for an existing group must conclude no later than the day before the anniversary date of the group. The employer shall announce the results of the vote to the employees or members of the group, as applicable, at the completion of the vote.
(10) If no group members or less than 25% of group members request an annual election by the end of the 30-day notice period immediately prior to the anniversary date of the group, the group's existing structure and contribution sources continue without modification for 12 months.