The National Restaurant Association commended U.S. House of Representatives members Richard Hudson (NC-08) and Robert Pittenger (NC-09) on March 20 for introducing legislation that would eliminate the needlessly burdensome automatic enrollment requirement in the 2010 health care law.
“On behalf of restaurant operators nationwide, the National Restaurant Association thanks Congressman Hudson and Congressman Pittenger for their efforts to address a challenging part of the law that could cause financial hardship and greater confusion for employees, and place a significant administrative burden on employers,” says Angelo Amador, vice president of workforce and labor policy, National Restaurant Association.
“The Auto Enroll Repeal Act” would eliminate a 2010 health care law provision requiring employers with more than 200 full-time employees to automatically enroll new full-time employees in health care coverage by their 91st day of employment.
The National Restaurant Association noted that the unique characteristics of the restaurant industry’s workforce make this provision particularly challenging.
“With 43 percent of restaurant employees under the age 26 that are more likely to be moving from job to job or eligible for enrollment in parents’ plans, many are likely to inadvertently miss opt-out deadlines and will be automatically enrolled in their employer’s health plan causing significant, unexpected financial hardship when they learn their paycheck has been reduced to cover the new premium,” Amador adds. “Additionally, this raises complicated questions for employers about how to handle situations where employees fail to make timely required payments for their premiums.”
The Association also pointed to the auto enrollment mandate’s redundancy, since the health care law’s employer mandate already subjects large employers to potential penalties if they fail to offer affordable health care coverage to full-time employees and their dependents.
The National Restaurant Association has worked for more than two years to highlight the restaurant industry’s challenges in complying with the law, filing volumes of comments with regulatory agencies to get the answers restaurant operators need and to ensure they have maximum flexibility as the rules are written.
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