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Employer's Guide to Healthcare Reform Law

David Barron and Daniel Schuch, August 30, 2010

With so much being said and written about healthcare reform, many employers don't know where to begin to find practical information about how the law. How will if affect the workplace? What they should be doing to prepare, even now?

More importantly, employees are being bombarded with information they don't understand, or even downright misinformation, and are looking to their employers to help them wade through this complicated maze of new legislation. 

This article will hopefully clear up some of the confusion and provide a practical roadmap to what is already in effect and what is coming down the road.

What Should I Be Worrying About Now?

Although much of the healthcare law takes effect years down the road, there are a number of provisions which are of immediate impact to employers.  Three examples are addressed below: new whistleblowing protections, right to privacy for workplace nursing, and deciding whether to "grandfather" your health plan.

First, all employers should understand that the healthcare reform law dramatically expanded whistleblower protections in the workplace.   For example, an employee who makes a complaint about a perceived violation of the new healthcare law is protected from retaliation.  Similarly, if an employee opts out of an employer's plan and chooses to be covered in one of the new healthcare exchanges scheduled to start in 2014, that act is protected from retaliation. 

Second, in addition to the creation of whistleblower protections under the FLSA, the new law requires employers to provide:

  • Unpaid, reasonable break time to non-exempt nursing mothers to express breast milk; and
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