As part of California Restaurant Lobby Day, the CRA sponsored a panel discussion on the incoming Affordable Care Act. A capacity crowd joined the CRA board members for a presentation by Randy Spicer from the National Restaurant Association. Other panelists included Kimberlee Vandervoon from United Healthcare; Ralph Robinson from Wilson Elser Law Offices; Kris Stuebner from Jem Management and Jean Hagan from KROST.

Operators were able to ask panelists questions regarding the implementing of the Affordable Care Act. Questions included:

Q: Which employees should I count in my FTE (full-time equivalent employee) calculation to determine if I am a larger employer?
For the purposes of determining how many employees you have in regards to determining whether you are a large or small employer – you must count all employees to determine FTE. Full-time equivalent employees must include:
a. All full-time employees must work 30 hours or more per week
b. Part-time employee hours worked per month 120 hours = FTE
c. A + B = FTE employees

Q: Who do I have to offer coverage to as a large employer?
All employees that average 30 hours or more per week based on your defined “look back” period. Most hospitality businesses are being advised to use a period of six months.

Q: Many of my employers won’t enroll for health insurance regardless of “how affordable” the coverage is – so I’m going to get fined anyway.
No, if you are offering essential health coverage that does not exceed 9.5% of the employees W2, you will not be fined if the employee opts out of coverage.

Q: We own three restaurants and they all have different EIN numbers and ownership – we can treat them as separate entities and stay under the 50 FTE Standards?
No, not necessarily. Common ownership or otherwise related entities will be group together from purposes of determining large employer status. Consistent with long-standing IRS Standards – related companies ruling will consider how the control of individual companies is handled within an ownership group.

For more information regarding ACA, you can go to the CRA website:

About the Author

Jean Hagan, PrincipalJean Hagan
Restaurant, Hospitality
Jean has owned, operated, and consulted in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years. During that time, she worked with a well-known national chain; owned a food and beverage company that operated multiple restaurants, bars, and event spaces in the Squaw Valley area; and became the president, CEO, CFO, and shareholder of one of the highest-grossing restaurants in California. Today, Jean is Principal and leads the Restaurant Operations Consulting practice at KROST. » Full Bio