If you had asked me one month ago to predict the winner of the presidential election, I would have been wrong. Therefore, rather than make my own [ill-fated] predictions of the changes that await employers when PEOTUS takes office, I consulted my trusty Magic 8 Ball. Here’s what it predicted:
Will the overtime rule ever become law?
MY SOURCES SAY NO.
We all have heard by now that the Department of Labor (DOL) rules extending eligibility for time-and-a-half overtime pay to some 4.2 million additional workers (including many employees in the hospitality industry) are on hold thanks to an injunction by a federal court judge in Texas. So what now? The DOL under the Obama administration was expected to appeal the ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, but the Trump administration has different priorities and may decide not to pursue an appeal after all.
Many companies have heard all the chatter about the changes to the healthcare system under the Affordable Care Act, but really haven’t had the time to figure out what the changes mean to them as an employer. After all, something entitled the “Affordable Care Act” should really just focus on dealing with the out of control costs of medicine and healthcare, right? Oh, if only it were that simple.
One of the biggest issues in healthcare is simply that many people can’t afford the cost of insurance. Additionally, a number of employers do not provide insurance benefits as a part of employment. The ACA attempts to address this problem. Of course, this is not the only issue addressed under the ACA, but for employers, it is one of the major concerns.
The ACA obligations on employers are implemented in stages. The first obligation is already in effect. This requires employers who provide “applicable employer sponsored coverage” to report the aggregate cost of the employer sponsored coverage on an employee’s Form W-2 for the 2012 year. This means the Form W-2 that is issued in January for the prior year, should reflect the cost of coverage under any group health plan made available to the employee by the employer, and which cost is excludable from the employee’s gross income, or would be excludable if it were employer provided coverage. The reportable premium is not impacted by whether the employer or employee bears the cost of the premium. There is a special rule for self-insured plans. If you have a self-insured plan, you should seek guidance on the proper calculations of the applicable premiums. If an employer is required to file fewer than 250 Form W-2s, then they are not subject to this reporting requirement. More information on this requirement can be found in IRS Notice 2012-9. (Specifically, starting on page 6.)
Two major changes are on the horizon for Oregon diners and restaurateurs—one may affect diners’ waistlines while the other will force purveyors to fess up to potentially hazardous ingredients they serve.
Way back in 2009, Oregon’s Legislature passed the Menu Labeling Act, one of the country’s toughest menu labeling laws, requiring restaurants with 15 or more locations in the state to post the calorie count for every meal it serves. But before the laws could take effect, the federal government passed its own menu labeling law thereby preempting Oregon’s Menu Labeling Act. Section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, set new federal requirements for nutrition labeling of foods sold at certain chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments. Until the federal law takes effect (the FDA is expected to finalize the rules summer 2012) — Oregon won’t know whether it has to revisit its own law or rule-making process. And diners won’t know just how many calories are in that bleu cheese bacon burger.
Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.