Health care law changes are contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was approved by the Congress and signed into law March 23, 2010.
For employers, including restaurants, the law mandates some fundamental changes in how their employees obtain coverage. For small employers, the changes include access to new tax credits now and the ability to provide health care coverage through exchanges set up by states (or the federal government, for states that choose not to set up exchanges) beginning in 2014. Large employers -- those with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees -- face a more daunting challenge in meeting a mandate to offer coverage to all full-time employees (and their dependents) or face penalties beginning in 2014.
As the new law is phased in over the next several years, restaurants should assess the state of their health care coverage needs to determine how best to negotiate this new terrain. The National Restaurant Association will offer ongoing education to help our members understand the law.