The U.S. Department of Treasury (“Treasury Department”) published the much anticipated final rule implementing the employer shared responsibility (“employer mandate”) provisions under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) on February 12, 2014. According to a press release issued by the Treasury Department, the final rule “make[s] a number of commonsense improvements in response to input on the proposed regulations issued in December 2012.”
A fact sheet issued by the Treasury Department highlights some of the key provisions of this final rule. The fact sheet states that “[t]o provide a gradual phase-in of the employer responsibility provisions and assist employers in complying and providing coverage, the final rule provide transition relief for 2015.” The employer mandate provision will generally apply to larger firms with 100 or more full-time employees starting in 2015, and employers with 50 or more full-time employees starting in 2016. The final rule also clarifies whether certain individuals classify as full-time employees, including volunteers, seasonal employees, teachers whose schools are closed or opened on a limited schedule during the summer, adjunct faculty members, and students who participate in work-study programs. Additionally, employers that are subject to the employer mandate provisions in 2015 must offer coverage to at least 70 percent of full-time employees as one of the conditions for avoiding an assessable payment, rather than 95 percent which will begin in 2016. According to the fact sheet, the Treasury Department will issue additional regulations shortly in an effort to “simplify and streamline” the employer reporting obligations under the employer mandate provisions of the ACA. We will provide an update on this blog when these additional regulations are issued.