AFFORDABLE CARE ACT COMPLIANCE A RISK FOR RETAILERS IN COMING YEARS

Analysts have recently reported compliance with the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) is one of the greater risks retail employers may face in 2014 and the coming years.  In the retail industry, as with many other industries, full time employees are typically those who work more than 40 hours per week.  However, the ACA mandates that health insurance must be provided to employees working 30 hours per week or more.   This requires significant adjustments be made by human resources, legal and compliance departments for retailers nationwide.  On February 10, 2014,  The U.S. Deparatment of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations implementing the employer responsibility provisions of the ACA.  The National Retail Federation applauded the agencies’ efforts to simplify and streamline compliance with the ACA.  http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1768.   The biggest change in regulations for large employers (with 100 or more employees)  is that the percentage of employees to whom such employers must offer coverage will be phased in to assist in a smooth transition and hopefully avoid large penalties.  In 2015, large employers must offer coverage to 70% of full time employees and in 2016, that percentage increases to 95%.  Further, for mid-range employers (with 50-99 employees), employers must report coverage in 2015 but will have until 2016 before employer responsibility payments will apply.  To view a fact seet from the U.S. Treasury Department outlining these changes, visithttp://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Documents/Fact%20Sheet%20021014.pdf.  The level of complexity of the ACA makes implementation daunting and is certainly something for retailers to make high priority in the coming years.

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