Health Care Reform Requires Employee Handbook Updates

by | Nov 26, 2013 | Blog

  • Amy Letke

    Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success. Contact us for more insights - 502-753-0970 or


It’s the three little words that get business owners and human resource professionals in a tizzy these days.

No, it’s not: “You’re being audited.” Or even: “Quarterly Performance Evaluations.” It’s these three little words: Health Care Reform.

While some of the Health Care Reform mandates have been pushed out a little further, there are still a few things you need to do now. And one of them is updating your Employee Handbook to make sure it is in compliance with the Health Care Reform changes.

So dust off that Employee Handbook and revisit these two areas:

  1. Offering Coverage To New Employees
  2. Defining Full-Time Employees

First up, let’s go over offering cover to new employees since they takes effect in 2014.

Insurance Waiting PeriodOffering Coverage to New Employees

After January 1, 2014, a health plan may not impose a waiting period that exceeds 90 days. (A waiting period is an amount of time that has to pass before an eligible employee or dependent can enroll in the plan.) Companies have to change this no more than 90 days policy by their first renewal on January 1, 2014 or after.

You need to make sure to look over your policies to see that you offer coverage to new employees within 90 days of hire. You may still have other conditions for eligibility as long as they are not a sneaky way of avoiding compliance with the 90-day waiting period.

Many companies have policies where there is a waiting period for coverage that says, “the 1st of the month following 90 days.” These will be out of compliance with the Health Care Reform changes after January 1, 2014. We suggest you change your policy to say, “the 1st of the month following 60 days.”

Let’s more on to defining full-time employees. While this doesn’t take effect until 2015, it’s never too early to be prepared.

Defining Full-Time Employees

Currently, a full-time employee is an employee who works at least 30 hours a week. Now, the proposed changes that would take effect in January 2015 say that 130 hours of work in a calendar month is the equivalent of 30 hours a week.

Defining New Employees in 2015

When calculating 130 hours of work in a month be sure to include:

  • Each hour the employee worked and was entitled to pay
  • Each hour the employee was entitled to pay with no duties performed due to vacation, illness, sick leave, incapacity (including disability), layoff, jury duty, military leave or leave of absence.

Are there any other changes should you make to your Employee Handbook to be compliant for 2014?

An employee handbook lays the groundwork for how a business runs from day to day. If your handbook isn’t used or updated consistently, your business may not be running as efficiently as possible and be at a high risk for costly employee relations issues.

To help Louisville area employers identify the top employee handbook mistakes, how they affect businesses and how to fix them, Integrity HR is hosting a free HR education seminar.

Integrity HR’s free seminar “Elements of a Great Employee Handbook” will show you exactly how to create an employee handbook with consistent, compliant policies that reduce the risk of a costly employee relations lawsuit.
Register here for our free seminar, “Elements of A Great Employee Handbook.”

The certified HR Professionals at Integrity HR are developing, revising, implementing, and interpreting employee handbooks on essentially a daily basis. Needless to say, they know their way around, and they’re sharing their secrets with the attendees at this free seminar.

This event is only for HR professionals, financial leaders, and business owners. Out of professional courtesy, we ask that no competitors attend this session. HR Professionals will receive two hours of HRCI credit for attending this seminar. Due to the popularity of the event and limited seating, only two people per company may attend this event.

“Elements of a Great Employee Handbook” seminar details:

When: December 3, 2013
Where: The Community Room at Republic Bank 9600 Brownsboro Road. Louisville, KY 40241
What time: Check-in 8:30 a.m. Seminar 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
How much: Free, but registration required.

Click here to register! 

The Benefits Of A Great Employee Handbook

  • The confidence that comes with knowing your managers can find the answers to employee questions and problems quickly and easily.
  • Reduction of risk – Employee Relations Lawsuits can easily be SIX FIGURES.
  • The peace of mind that comes with KNOWING your policies are compliant.
  • Consistency in policies across your entire organization
  • Reduced risk of discrimination by following your newly developed concrete policies.
  • Rise in employee morale, increase in productivity and in your bottom line.

Thanks to Employee Benefits Advisor Angie Weilage (Brown & Brown Insurance) for keeping us up to date on all the Health Care Reform changes.

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