Feb 11 2015
Reps. Jim Renacci (OH-16), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Lynn Jenkins (KS-02), and Jim Costa (CA-16) today introduced H.R. 863, the Simplifying Technical Aspects Regarding Seasonality (STARS) Act. This bipartisan legislation clarifies the employer mandate provision within the Affordable Care Act to provide one clear definition of seasonal employment. The simplified standard, which is consistent across industries, will reduce the administrative burden for small businesses and help them avoid steep penalties under the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act requires that employers with 50 or more full-time employees, or full-time equivalents, offer health care coverage or pay a fine. Largely designed with traditional jobs in mind, the Affordable Care Act’s employer provisions fail to account for the exceptional circumstances of employers with highly seasonal workforces. Though the Treasury Department attempted to remedy these issues through regulation, the resulting rules are confusing and create unnecessary obstacles to compliance for small, seasonal employers. Based on current law and regulation, a seasonal worker is not necessarily a seasonal employee.
“Small, seasonal business owners in Ohio’s 16th District and across the country continue to struggle to comply with the overly burdensome provisions within the president’s health care law,” said Renacci. “As a former small business owner, I know how difficult it is to navigate our convoluted tax code and the amount of time and money that’s associated with compliance. The STARS Act will bring much-needed clarity and flexibility to seasonal employers, allowing them to focus on growing their businesses and investing in their employees instead of devoting their limited resources to deciphering the president’s health care law.”
“By aligning the separate definitions of ‘seasonal’ found in regulations and the ACA, Congress can eliminate unnecessary confusion and give greater certainty to small business owners and their employees. I am proud that this bipartisan, multi-regional coalition could come together to simplify compliance with our health law. Our constituents have been telling us that they want us to work together to solve the nation’s problems. This bill is a step in that direction,” stated Schrader.
“As I meet with employers and folks across Kansas, I continue to hear about the confusing impacts of the President’s healthcare law, especially when it deals with the uncertainty of the law and their inability to plan ahead,” said Jenkins. “These employers and small businesses who depend on seasonal help deserve to have clarity and this bipartisan legislation cuts through this murky law and ensures that small businesses are not negatively impacted or penalized because of confusing rules. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we must do everything we can to protect and promote their efforts so they have room to expand, create jobs and grow our economy for the middle class.”
“By eliminating conflicting definitions of seasonal employment, the bipartisan STARS Act, will clarify the ambiguities for compliance currently found in the health care law for small, seasonal employers,” said Costa. “Small businesses, which are critical to the economic stability of our nation, need to be focusing their resources on creating jobs and providing services, not deciphering confusing and inconsistent federal health care regulations.”
“The STARS Act is an important bipartisan step toward accommodating the ACA to the practical needs of the real world. The ACA is a complicated law and we need more efforts like this to translate complexity into workable solutions for job creators,” said Neil Trautwein, National Retail Federation Vice President for Health Policy.
The National Restaurant Association’s Executive Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs Scott DeFife added, “The National Restaurant Association thanks Representatives Renacci, Jenkins, Schrader and Costa for their leadership in introducing the STARS Act, which would clearly delineate the seasonal employee versus seasonal worker definition under the current health care law. As it stands, the definition is inconsistent, complicating an already confusing compliance process for restaurateurs nationwide. This important bipartisan legislation will help provide the clarity restaurateurs need and alleviate the undue burden placed on an industry made up of thousands of small businesses.”
Text of the bill can be found here.