Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is moving beyond its traditional role as the nation’s principal wage and hour law. In addition to establishing minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and youth employment standards, the FLSA now deals with health insurance.

Under the amended FLSA, employers must notify employees that:

  • Affordable Insurance Exchanges exist, along with a description of the services provided by Exchanges and how to request assistance from an Exchange
  • If their employer’s health plan pays less than 60% of allowed costs the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit and a cost sharing reduction if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through an Exchange
  • If the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Exchange, the employee may lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer

Employers must distribute this notice to every current employee by March 1, 2013. Employees hired after this date must receive their notice upon being hired.

The precise form and content of the notice, as well as acceptable means for providing the notice, are not yet certain. The law states that employers must provide notice “in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary.” Presumably, these regulations will clarify what should be included in the notice and how it can be provided to employees.

Despite the current lack of regulations, it is reasonable to assume that the FLSA’s broad definition of “employer” means that most employers will need to comply with the new notice requirement. Similarly, the FLSA’s broad definition of “employee” means that every employee, regardless of status, will likely be entitled to receive this notice.

Consequently, employers need to be ready to comply with the notice requirement by March 1, 2013, especially since the penalty for violating this requirement is unknown.

At Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk, we are committed to guiding you through what is sure to be a bumpy ride. Check back with us periodically for future informational updates about health care reform. If you have specific questions about the Act or if you are ready to take action and would like to see how Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk can help, contact us.