Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Labor Report recently published an article I coauthored with my Epstein Becker Green colleague Adam C. Solander: "For Employers with High Turnover and Large Numbers of Seasonal Workers, the ACA Creates Unique Compliance Issues." (Click to download the article in PDF format.)
Following is an excerpt:
The Affordable Care Act provides unique compliance obligations for employers in certain industries, such as the retail, lodging, restaurant, and grocery sectors, many of which employ large numbers of part-time and seasonal employees, and may comprise multiple smaller employers.
Of paramount concern for these employers, as for all employers, is the impending application of the shared responsibility rules. The guidance to date has been very much a mixed bag for these high-turnover industries. Some of the shared responsibility provisions will have a greater impact on these industries because of their size and employee mix, while others provide useful interpretations that will lessen some of the negative impacts of these rules.
This article will briefly examine the four major steps required under the shared responsibility rules in the context of these industries. These include: (1) determining whether the business is subject to the shared responsibility rules; (2) identifying the number of full-time employees a particular employer may have; (3) examining the way the shared responsibility rules relate to high-turnover industries; and (4) identifying strategies for compliance.
As background, the employer shared responsibility rules provide that ‘‘applicable large employers” with 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) will be subject to a tax penalty if any full-time employee receives a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction to purchase health coverage through a health insurance exchange.
Generally, an employee is eligible for a cost-sharing subsidy if: (1) an employer does not offer the majority of its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in coverage; or (2) an employer offers its full-time employees the opportunity to enroll in coverage, but the coverage is ‘‘unaffordable” or does not provide ‘‘minimum value.”
Conceptually, the shared responsibility rules are not difficult to understand. However, as with all things ACA, the devil is in the details and the details are what complicate shared responsibility compliance for high- turnover industries.