Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Yet Another Reason to Hire Veterans

The arrival of 2015 also saw the arrival of perhaps the most controversial part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare): the employer mandate. The employer mandate requires employers with more than 100 employees to offer health insurance to all of their full-time employees (defined as those working more than 30 hours a week). Next year, the mandate will extend to employers with 50 or more full-time employees. Many employers chafe at the employer mandate, worried that it will prove ruinously expensive.

To narrow the scope of the employer mandate, on January 6, the House of Representatives passed the “Hire More Heroes Act,” which would exempt veterans receiving health care through the U.S. military from being counted as full-time employees under the employer mandate. This means that if an employer has 51 employees, but two of them are veterans receiving health care through the U.S. military, only 49 employees would be counted for purposes of the employer mandate. The “Hire More Heroes Act” would provide employers with just under 50 employees a strong incentive to hire veterans.

It will be interesting to see whether the “Hire More Heroes Act” becomes law. It passed the House unanimously, and likely will pass the Republican-controlled Senate. Whether it is signed by the President, however, will be a different matter. President Obama has vowed to veto any bill that weakens the employer mandate. Whether this includes vetoing a bill with broad bipartisan support remains to be seen.

While the status of the “Hire More Heroes Act” is somewhat unclear, one thing is not: there is strong resistance to the employer mandate. It is safe to say that this will not be the only attempt by the now overwhelmingly Republican Congress to narrow the mandate’s scope. Stay tuned to The Workplace Report, where we will report on all of the latest developments in the ongoing fight over Obamacare.