Friday, June 17, 2011

National Restaurant Association Fights for Members on Health Care Law Implementation

National Restaurant Association Fights for Members on Health Care Law Implementation

( Washington, D.C.) The National Restaurant Association is continuing its work on behalf of the restaurant industry as it makes the case that new regulations under the health care law could be devastating for the industry. The Association submitted comments today to the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on how the Administration contemplates defining key concepts that will impact how the restaurant and food service industry will offer coverage.

“Growth and success in the restaurant industry means opening more restaurants and more locations, which in turn means jobs in our communities,” said Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “With respect to the new health care law, the uncertainty of the regulatory process and the many rules that are yet to be clarified and fully defined are worrisome for our members. However, we very much appreciate Treasury and the IRS’ effort to explore key definitional issues for the industry early before promulgating related regulations.”

DeFife noted that to comply with the law, restaurateurs need a clearer definition of full-time employee than what was offered as part of the law.

“We believe this law will impact our industry more than most and appreciate the federal government’s recognition that first addressing the definition of full-time employee, and the provisions linked to that definition, is critical,” DeFife said. “The Treasury Department and the IRS have recognized that industries such as ours with narrow margins, and flexible and variable work schedules, are unable to easily predict which employees are considered full-time and consequently cannot anticipate their liability under the law.”

The National Restaurant Association submitted comments to the Treasury Department and IRS in response to their request for comments on the “Shared Responsibility for Employers” provisions in the new health care law, slated to go into effect in 2014. The Association is also a leading member of the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care (EFHC) coalition which also submitted comments this week. Combined, the submissions addressed key issues for the industry such as the full-time employee definition, support of the contemplated “look-back stability period safe harbor, ” a 60-day administration period, which is consistent with current practice within the industry; as well as a 90-day waiting period to be applied to all employees, including new hires and newly eligible employees.

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