With the help of AmericanHort, National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), along with several allied associations have been educating Congress about the Affordable Care Act's complex treatment of seasonal workers.
As a result of these efforts, Congressman Jim Renacci (OH-16) today introduced H.R. 5213, the Simplifying Technical Aspects Regarding Seasonality (STARS) Act, a bipartisan bill which clarifies the employer mandate's seasonal worker exemption provision within the President's healthcare law to provide one clear definition of seasonal employment.
The President's healthcare law requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees, or full-time equivalents, to offer healthcare coverage or pay a fine. Though the law intended to grant an exemption for small, seasonal employers, that intent is lost in multiple inconsistent definitions and burdensome red tape which has led to confusion for small business owners. Under current law, a seasonal worker is not necessarily a seasonal employee.
"As I travel throughout Northeast Ohio, I continue to hear about the challenges our small businesses face as they struggle to decipher the Affordable Care Act's overlapping provisions" said Congressman Renacci. "Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and instead of spending time and money to comply with the law, they should focus their resources on doing what they do best: creating jobs. I introduced the STARS Act to reduce burdensome regulations and provide our small businesses with the certainty they need to hire and expand."
The STARS Act replaces the complex, arbitrary seasonal worker exemption with one definition of seasonal employment. This simplified standard is consistent across industries and will reduce the administrative burden for small businesses to help them avoid hefty penalties under the President's healthcare law.
Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-05) stated, "This bi-partisan bill will make our healthcare system work better for businesses and employees. It simplifies a complex area of the new healthcare law that is causing great uncertainty for our nation's small businesses and farmers. The American public has been crying out for us to work together to solve the problems facing our country. This bill is a step in that direction."
"Employers who depend on seasonal help deserve to have clarity regarding their responsibility to comply with the Employer Mandate," said Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (KS-02). "The STARS Act is a bipartisan solution that will provide employers with the certainty they need to hire seasonal employees without being penalized because of confusing rules. Our commitment is and always will be to ensure small businesses are not negatively impacted by laws, and we will continue our efforts to create an environment for them to grow, create jobs and foster a healthy economy."
"By creating one clear definition of seasonal employment, the STARS Act will reduce the confusing and unnecessary obstacles to compliance with the new healthcare law for small, seasonal employers," said Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16). "Eliminating contradictory definitions will allow our small businesses to focus their resources on creating jobs, providing services and boosting our economy."
David Cuthbert of Cuthbert Greenhouse, Inc. in Groveport, OH added, "As small business owners, my partners and I do not have the resources to have a dedicated human resource person working in our business. Since we have quite a few full-time employees and also hire 40 or more seasonal employees during our busy spring season, we run the risk of being required to perform complex calculations to determine if we are a large or small business. The STARS Act would certainly simplify our calculations to ensure we are in compliance, and allow my partners and I to concentrate our efforts on running our business."
"We thank Congressman Renacci for leading the charge on helping small businesses in Ohio and across the nation navigate the healthcare law. As it stands, the law's inconsistent and confusing definitions of 'seasonal employment' makes determining employment size extremely difficult. The STARS Act will help simplify the process and provide restaurateurs much needed relief," said Roy Getz, Top Notch Restaurant Group, Chairman, Ohio Restaurant Association.
Over 100 organizations support the STARS Act, including the Hotel, Restaurant & Retailers Association; American Farm Bureau Federation; American Hotel and Lodging Association; Associated General Contractors; and more.
NCTA will continue to keep you up to date on the progress of the STARS Act.