Healthcare Reform Tips for Employers
Second, in addition to the creation of whistleblower protections under the FLSA, the new law requires the right to privacy for workplace nursing. Employers must provide:
- unpaid, reasonable break time to non-exempt nursing mothers to express breast milk;
- a place to express breast milk that is not a bathroom, is shielded from view, and free from intrusion
An employer with fewer than 50 employees will not be required to implement this provision if doing so would cause the employer an "undue hardship." However, an employer with more than 50 employees will be required to follow the law, even if its employees are working on a client's premises or at a location where it is difficult to provide privacy. The nursing mother protections created by the law are available for one year after the child's birth.
Lastly, this year poses a one-time opportunity to grandfather a health plan from many of the changes required under the new healthcare law. Healthcare plans that were in existence as of March 23, 2010 (the day the law was enacted) can be exempted from a multitude of requirements imposed by healthcare reform so long as the plan does not substantially change the benefits offered, change insurers, or increase employee costs by a significant percentage (as defined in the regulations).
Employers should talk to their insurance brokers or carriers to determine whether grandfathering makes sense. The benefit to grandfathering is an employer can avoid mandated changes such as first dollar coverage of preventive care, and new recordkeeping requirements.
The downside is that grandfathering means severe limits to passing on rate increases to employees, and an inability to shop carriers for a better rate. With the seemingly annual rise in costs, these limits will make grandfathering a bad deal for many employers.
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