Massachusetts Fair Share Law and HIRD Form Requirements Repealed

by Mintz Levin - Employment Matters
Contact

Effective July 1, 2013, the Massachusetts “Fair Share” Law1 has been repealed as part of the Commonwealth’s 2014 fiscal year budget package.2 The Fair Share Law, in effect since 2006, required that employers doing business in Massachusetts either provide health coverage to full time employees that satisfies certain rules, or pay a contribution to the Commonwealth equaling $295 per employee per year. For more details about the Fair Share Contribution rules, please see our alerts which may be accessed here.

Also effective July 1, 2013, employers are no longer required to collect “Health Insurance Responsibility” or “HIRD”3 forms from employees who decline to participate in employer-sponsored health care coverage.

While the repeal was initially meant to relieve employers of the double burden that would be imposed by the co-existence of both the Fair Share Law and the Affordable Care Act’s “Employer Shared Responsibility” requirements, Governor Patrick surprised many stakeholders by supporting the July 1, 2013 repeal even though many of the Affordable Care Act requirements were postponed from January 1, 2014 until January 1, 2015. For more information on the Affordable Care Act delay, please see our alert accessible here.

While this is welcome news for employers doing business in Massachusetts, there remains cause for vigilance:

  • The Department of Unemployment Assistance intends to continue its enforcement efforts of Fair Share filing periods ending on or before June 30, 2013. Therefore, employers who are currently subject to enforcement efforts will need to continue to defend their compliance efforts. Further, all employers remain exposed to new audits, particularly with respect to 2011, 2012, and the first half of 2013. Employers in industries typically subject to audits, such as the restaurant and staffing industries, are advised to remain attentive.
  • The budget creates a new Employer Medical Assistance Contribution, which requires each employer with more than 5 employees to contribute an amount equal to wages times .36 of 1%. Employers newly subject to the rule shall be required to pay .12 of 1% of wages during the first year subject to the rule and .24 of 1% of wages during the second year subject to the rule.
  • Ominously, Governor Patrick has said that, if businesses start dropping coverage between now and the advent of the Affordable Care Act mandate, he is “confident that the Legislature would act to re-implement the state [fair share] program.”4

Although the Fair Share repeal and the Affordable Care Act delay allow employers some breathing room, there is still much to be done between now and January 1, 2015. Employers must not underestimate the complexity of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, and should be taking steps now to prepare for 2015. Some recommended action items include:

  • FLSA/Exchange notice distributions
  • Reviewing the workforce to determine “full time” eligibility under the Affordable Care Act
  • Reviewing benefits offerings to ensure “affordability” and “minimum value”
  • Plan document updates
  • Update COBRA notices
  • Creating administrative systems to track employee hours and document offers of coverage

Endnotes

1M.G.L. c. 149, § 188

2H. 3538

3As required by M.G.L. c. 176Q, § 17

4July 11, 2013 State House News Service report

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Mintz Levin - Employment Matters | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Mintz Levin - Employment Matters
Contact
more
less

Mintz Levin - Employment Matters on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!