The National Restaurant Association today described some of the challenges facing restaurant operators as they navigate the new health care law’s requirements, and outlined several common-sense changes needed to assist restaurants in their compliance efforts. Open enrollment for the health care exchanges, and employee notification about the exchanges by employers, begins October 1. And starting January 1, 2014, employers with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees must offer coverage to full-time employees or face penalties.
In testimony before a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee hearing, Michelle Neblett, Director of Labor and Workforce Policy, says, “Since enactment of the law, the National Restaurant Association has worked to constructively shape the implementing regulations of the health care law. Nevertheless, there are limits to what can be achieved through the regulatory process alone. Ultimately, the law cannot stand as it is today given the challenges restaurant and foodservice operators face in implementing it.
“Broader transition relief is needed for employers and employees attempting to comply with the law in good-faith as time is short to make the significant changes required by the law and understand options. Key definitions in the law must be changed: The law should more accurately reflect the general business practice of 40 hours a week as full-time employment. The applicable large employer determination must be more workable. The duplicative automatic enrollment provision should be eliminated as it could unnecessarily confuse and financially harm employees.”
Since the law’s enactment, Neblett and other Association policy staff members have traveled the country to explain employers’ responsibilities under the law and help Association members understand the impact it will have on their employees and businesses.
In addition, the Association has built an online Health Care Knowledge Center with important tools for operators, including a comprehensive "Health Care Law Primer: What You Need to Know Now, What You Need to Do Now."