Legislative Updates and Alerts

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  • Monday, March 29, 2010 12:39 PM | Deleted user

    Check out more information on the "HIRE Act" at http://www.ebglaw.com/showclientalert.aspx?Show=12641


  • Friday, November 13, 2009 3:00 PM | Deleted user

    The U.S. House of Representatives approved a healthcare reform measure Saturday that includes a requirement that companies not providing health insurance for their workers pay 8% of their annual payroll to an insurance exchange.

    "It would have a horrific effect on employers," said Ed Lenz, senior VP of public affairs and general counsel of the American Staffing Association.

    "It is a completely unacceptable provision," Lenz said. "Not just to the staffing industry but to every other employer that would be affected by it." Those groups include large retailers, restaurant groups and others who employ part-time seasonal workers, he said.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce blasted the bill.

    "Friday's news that unemployment has reached double digits for the first time in 26 years should have been a wake-up call for those considering job-stifling tax increases and employer mandates included in the House healthcare bill," said Bruce Josten, executive VP of government affairs for the chamber.

    However, Lenz said the consensus view in Washington is that the House bill -- and the 8% payroll tax in particular -- has no chance of being passed into law in its current form.

    "Our view is that it is much more likely, if something were to pass at all, and it's not clear at this point whether Congress has enough time to get it done this year, but if something were to pass, it is far more likely to look like the bill passed out of the Senate finance committee," he said.

    A Senate bill is also likely to be far more moderate, including in regard to the employer fee, Lenz said. Previous proposals in the Senate have called for fees of up to $750 per full-time employee per year for firms not providing health insurance. Lenz said the ASA and other business groups are working to clarify the definition of who is a full-time worker under such a fee so that it would include only employees who work a minimum of 390 hours in a calendar quarter.

    There's also question over whether Congress has time to pass a healthcare reform bill this year. The Senate must approve a bill, and if it passes, the Senate bill must then be reconciled with the House's bill.

    "Anything can happen, but it's going to be a tough slog to get that done before the end of the year," Lenz said. "If we get into next year, the passage becomes more problematic because it's an election year."

    The House bill, as approved Saturday, would exempt employers with annual payrolls of $500,000 or below. Employers with annual payrolls of between $500,000 and $750,000 would have to pay lesser percentages.

    A survey this year by Staffing Industry Analysts found that almost half of temporary workers have healthcare coverage from a source other than their staffing firms.

  • Wednesday, October 07, 2009 12:36 PM | Deleted user
    October 6, 2009

    Special Alert:

    Department of Homeland Security Issues
    Final Rule Rescinding ‘No-Match’ Regulation


    On October 6, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will issue a final rule, to be published in the Federal Register on October 7, 2009, rescinding the embattled “No-Match” regulation.  As we have previously reported, DHS is of the opinion that the receipt of a “No-Match” letter provided constructive knowledge to an employer that an employee may not be authorized to work. This rule would have created a “safe-harbor” procedure for employers to respond to “No-Match” letters, thus clearing employers from any knowing hire liability for that worker. 

    DHS first announced its intention to rescind the “No-Match” rule on August 19, 2009, through the publication of a proposed rule. This action was the culmination of months-long federal litigation concerning whether or not the rule had been lawfully promulgated and whether or not it was constitutional.

    In taking this step, effectively abandoning the litigation, DHS stated as follows: “After further review, DHS has determined to focus its enforcement efforts relating to the employment of aliens not authorized to work in the United States on increased compliance through improved verification, including participation in E-Verify, ICE Mutual Agreement Between Government and Employers (IMAGE), and other programs.”

    Employers beware, upon publication of the rule we fully expect the Social Security Administration to begin issuing new “No-Match” letters and DHS will still consider the receipt of a “No-Match” letter as an indicator of unauthorized employment.  Although there will be no “safe-harbor,” employers should have a plan and procedure in place to address the receipt of a “No-Match” letter. Having a proper plan in place not only helps an employer maintain the integrity of its workforce from an immigration perspective, but also assists an employer in meeting its W-4 reporting requirements with respect to Social Security withholdings.

    For more information or questions regarding the above, please contact:

    New York

    Robert S. Groban, Jr.


    New York

    Pierre Georges Bonnefil




    Hector A. Chichoni




    Patrick G. Brady




    San Francisco

    Jang Im




    Nelsy Gomez




    This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice.  Please consult your attorneys in connection with any fact-specific situation under federal law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and your company.

    © 2009 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.                                                                                 Attorney Advertising

  • Tuesday, October 06, 2009 3:15 PM | Deleted user
    Finance Committee Health Care Reform Bill Nears Passage

    October 5, 2009

    The Senate Finance Committee completed debate of its health care reform bill last week, and the full committee is expected to vote on the measure some time this week after the Congressional Budget Office reports its estimate of the bill's cost. The committee’s major actions included rejecting a government-run health insurance option and clarifying the definition of full-time employee for the purposes of assessing fees on employers that don't provide health insurance coverage.

    The Finance Committee bill would require employers with more than 50 full-time employees that don’t provide health coverage to pay a flat dollar amount for each full-time employee equal to the average national tax credit received by eligible employees. The tax credit would be determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Employers would pay the lesser of the flat dollar amount multiplied by the number of full-time employees receiving tax credits or $400 per full-time employee irrespective of how many employees receive tax credits.

    The initial draft of the bill defined "full-time employee" as an employee who works "30 hours or more each week" but didn't specify over what time period the employee must work full-time. To provide certainty for employers whose employees have unpredictable and fluctuating work patterns, ASA proposed that the definition be clarified to provide that "full-time" means at least 390 hours over the course of a calendar quarter. At the association's request, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) offered the proposed clarification during a colloquy with Finance Committee chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) at Wednesday's committee meeting. Baucus agreed, and the full committee approved it by voice vote last week.

    The clarification means that employers that don't provide health coverage would pay a fee under the Finance Committee bill only with respect to employees who worked at least 390 hours per calendar quarter. The intent is to cap the fee at $100 per quarter, or $400 per year, per employee. The caps would apply regardless of whether the employer payments are based on the number of full-time employees who actually receive tax credits or on the total number of employees irrespective of how many receive tax credits.

    A coalition of businesses and trade associations representing service-sector employers of entry-level, seasonal, and subsidy-eligible workers—including companies in industries with flexible work arrangements and high turnover such as retail, restaurants, and hotels—is advocating for an alternate proposal that would require an employee to have been employed for 90 days before an employer fee is assessed. ASA, which is a member of the coalition, is coordinating its lobbying efforts with coalition members.

    Once the Finance Committee bill is approved, it must be reconciled with the bill finalized last month by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and merged into a single bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced his desire to begin floor debate on the bill next week.

    Ed Lenz, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, and General Counsel, ASA
  • Tuesday, September 01, 2009 12:24 PM | Deleted user


    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on August 27, 2009, that the federal Office of Management and Budget has approved an extension of the current Form I-9 to August 31, 2012.  As a result, the USCIS has amended the Form I-9 to reflect to reflect an updated revision date of August 7, 2009.  This revision date appears in the lower right hand corner of the form.

    The USCIS has indicated that employers may use the Form I-9 with a revision date of either February 2, 2009 (the prior revision date) or August 7, 2009 (the current revision date).  The Form I-9 is available at: www.uscis.gov/i-9

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