Good Fruit Grower

May 1

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20 MAY 1, 2015 Good Fruit Grower F iguring out if an employer needs to offer a health insurance plan to seasonal workers is difficult, says labor consultant and attorney Leon Sequeira, because under the Affordable Care Act, seasonal workers, seasonal employ- ees, and guest workers all are defined differently. "The federal govern- ment has spent more than 50 pages of very small type trying to explain what an employee is," Sequeira said at the annual Washington Farm Labor Conference in Wenatchee last winter. "The general rule of thumb is, yes, you do have to cover your H-2A workers, regard- less of the fact that they are seasonal workers, but there are some gray areas and some instances where you may not have to cover them, at least in the first year." Are you an applicable employer? One source of confusion is that seasonal workers are defined one way for the purposes of calculating whether or not an employer is considered an applicable large employer under the law and another way when figuring out if specific workers are eligible for coverage. To calculate if you are an applicable large employer, you must count the number of full-time employees (working 30 or more hours a week) and the hours worked by part-time employees for each calendar month in the preceding year. Hours worked by part-time employees must be divided by 120 to calculate the full-time equivalent employees per month. Effective January 1, 2015, employers with 100 full-time equivalent employees must offer health insurance cover- age to eligible workers. Starting January 1, 2016, employ- ers with 50 full-time equivalent employees must also offer coverage. However, employers are exempted if they had the threshold number of workers for 120 or fewer days during the previous year or the only reason they exceeded the threshold was because of hours worked by seasonal workers. Who qualifies for coverage? Full-time employees must be offered coverage. But, seasonal employees who work for six months or less may be treated as variable hour employees if the employer doesn't know at the time they're hired how many hours they will work or whether they will work full-time. If an employer reasonably doesn't know how many hours seasonal employees will work, the employer can decide not to offer them coverage immediately, but to Who needs HEALTH coverage? Labor Seasonal workers, including guest workers, might qualify. by Geraldine Warner Leon Sequeira Call us FIRST for the largest selection of trees and rootstocks available Future contracts for cherries, pears, & apples; ALL ROOTSTOCKS. NEW APPLE rootstock! 1-800-421-4001 Phone: 503-538-2131 Fax: 503-538-7616 E-mail: Web: INC. Representing Over 30 Leading Nurseries in the U.S. and Europe From the breeders of Bud 9: • Vigor between M-9 T337 and M-9 Pajam®2 • Yield efficiency similar to M-9 T337 • Dwarfing • Cold hardy • Disease resistant • Fireblight tolerant B10 ® cv. Mich 96 USPP 21,223 Services are FREE TO GROWERS!

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